Gardens Eye Journal-March 2013


One of the most delightful things about a garden is the anticipation it provides.  ~W.E. Johns

Well we have made it through February, and with the start of March in the Northeast we look for any sign of spring….I mean ANY!  The picture above is how most of February looked.  But  more on that later.  I am 5 months away from retirement.  It has been so CRAZY busy that I have had very little time for reflection, and maybe that is good.  No time to think about anything but work.  And these next 5 months will be the busiest.  I am still on track to retire August 1st, and will have to get my paperwork in order by April.  Oh well I have time.

IMG_1260Of course any spare time I have had, has been taken up with writing, blogging, garden planning, garden reading and some indoor gardening (seed starting).    What else could I do this winter when the garden was covered by snow 90% of the time.

I have yet to clear enough clutter away in my house this winter to make a big difference, but that can wait until I am ready.  Soon enough I hope to clear the clutter of debris from the garden as new blooms wake up and start pushing up through the newly warmed earth.  Oh I can dream all right!

As I write my garden journal for February, I will be checking in with other gardeners and their memes to see what is happening around the world:  Garden Bloggers Harvest Day (GBHD)@The Gardening Blog on the 5th, Salad Days@Veg Plotting on the 4th Friday of the month, First Views@Town Mouse & Country Mouse and End of Month View with Helen@The Patient Gardener’s Weblog.



Snow and cold and ice oh my!  That is what February has been.  We had a few more feet of snow In February, and now we are up to 14 feet and counting.  The IMG_1289weather started to warm into the 30s and low 40s as the month ended…could we be in a shift to warmer weather?  When days were sunny in February, the fluffy clouds made for some spectacular views both in the morning and evening.

I think it is especially hard to look at white for so many months.  At least the other 3 seasons are filled with changes in color.  Now we see nothing but months of white.  I need a change soon.



What’s Growing


This is my boxwood in the front garden sparkling on a very cold morning.  If you are hoping I can show you something growing, forget it.  Oh there are bulbs putting out growth, but they are buried still.  I did spy some crocus leaves in some microclimate areas.  Now if we just had some warm sunny days in a row.  For now all we have is more white and frosty mornings.



Here’s zebra grass still looking interesting this late in winter.



This Summersweet bush looks like it has been coated with sugar.


I love how the snow looks so different depending on the temperature.  Almost like dunes of sand or waves/ripples in the ocean.



Veg Garden

 veg garden 2013

Here are my veg garden plans for the 4 raised beds and many grow bags and containers….lots to plan to start indoors; veggies, flowers and herbs.





The pond is still in a deep freeze, and the meadow will not wake up for weeks.





The suet feeders have been popular with the Downy Woodpeckers who visited daily along with deer and the fox who gave us a fleeting view.  Then we saw the woodpecker below.  I was able to capture both with my new camera.  He looks like a Downy Woodpecker, but he is a Hairy Woodpecker.  Read my Beautiful Wildlife Garden post on the 5th of this month to find out the difference.






We saw these prints in the snow and are unsure who this might be.  They look like a rabbit but they are small.  Is it a mouse or a vole?  The best part of late February has been the return of the red-winged blackbirds on the 25th which is a few days earlier than last year.  They signal a shift toward spring here.  YIPPEE!!




These are my new starter pots.  I started viola, pansy, snapdragons and alyssum to put out in mid to late April.  I decided to try a new planting medium to start the seeds.  In early March I will be starting more flowers and veggies.  Busy, busy, busy!!



Gardens Eye Verse

I am anxious for spring.  Can you tell?  Maybe my verse will give you an idea of how much I need a shot of spring and soon!  This is a picture from last year as almost a foot of snow is still holding on here.



The landscape is lonely
waiting on a friend,
The warm spring winds
to blow in again.
Sprouts of green
dot the white,
The seasonal change is
once again in sight!

Donna Donabella


Come Join Us:

Seasonal Celebrations is a time for marking the change of seasons and what is happening in your part of the world during this time.  I hope you will join in by creating a post telling us how you celebrate this time of year whether spring or fall or something else.  Share your traditions, holidays, gardens and celebrations in pictures, poetry or words starting March 1st.

And it seems so appropriate to collaborate with Beth and her Lessons Learned meme.  What lessons have you learned this past season of winter here in the North and spring in the South.  Then tell us about your wishes, desires and dreams for this new season.The rules are simple.  Just create a post that talks about lessons learned and/or seasonal celebrations.  If you are joining in for both memes please leave a comment on both our blog posts.  Or if you are choosing to join only one meme, leave a comment on that blog post.  Make sure to include a link with your comment.

Beth and I will do a summary post of our respective memes on the equinox (the 20th of March).  And we will keep those posts linked on a page on our blog.  Your post should be linked in the weekend before the equinox to give us enough time to include your post in our summary.  And if you link in a bit late, never fear we will include it on the special blog page (which I still have to create).  The badges here can be used in your post.   So won’t you join in the celebration!!



Next up on the blog:    Monday will bring an early GBBD and my curiosity if anything will be blooming.  Then it is another garden book review with a giveaway.  Of course the arrival of spring will bring a whole new time in the garden.  I am ready for the changes as I put on my garden shoes and kick into high gear.

I will be linking in with Michelle@Rambling Woods for her Nature Notes meme.  It is a great way to see what is happening in nature around the world every Wednesday.

I hope you will join me for my posts once a month at Beautiful Wildlife Garden. See my most current post now.

As always, I’ll be joining Tootsie Time’s Fertilizer Friday.

Please remember, to comment click on the title of the post and the page will reload with the comments section.

All original content is copyrighted and the sole property of Donna Donabella @ Gardens Eye View, 2010-2013.  Any reprints or use of content or photos is by permission only.


  1. pbm says:

    The red-winged blackbirds are indeed a welcome sign. Hope you soon get relief from this year’s heavy winter.

    • Donna says:

      It is still cold, gray and snowing this Monday morning but I know spring will be upon me soon waiting for me to welcome it in the garden.

  2. Donna says:

    It looks like you had a nice sunny day to photograph. Your new camera is really taking nice photos. The snow shots are beautiful. Nice poem too.

    • Donna says:

      Thanks Donna…I took full advantage of any day or part of a day where there was sun…I love those really cold mornings where the frost sparkles on everything. Glad you enjoyed the verse too!

    • Donna says:

      I know it is perplexing Tina as I did quite a bit of research. The woodpeckers have been a source of great joy this winter and I featured them in my Beautiful Wildlife Garden post which is tomorrow.

  3. Laura Bloomsbury says:

    beautiful blue shadows in the snow especially in the pond view – looking forward to your first pics of the melt. You’ve taken some great shots – what is your new camera Donna?
    p.s. love the verse sentiments of waiting for a friend – a warm feeling indeed!

    • Donna says:

      Laura I am starting to use a Nikon P510. The only pics using the new camera were the woodpeckers as it has an amazing zoom. The others were all taken with my Canon point and shoot. The Nikon is a bit more manual so I still learning with it.

      Glad you enjoyed the photos and the verse.

  4. Christy says:

    Hi Donna…Boy is that a lot of snow!! No wonder you are so anxious for spring! I really like the design for you vege garden! We do the same thing! Funny about the Red Winged Blackbirds….we’ve had so many lately (more than usual) and they are covering the feeders. I’m ready for them to move on. Maybe I should put out a sign with a map to your house!! 🙂 Love all your seeds…you’ll have so many plants to put out when the time is right. I also loved the verse, it’s just perfect!

    • Donna says:

      Christy I would love for you to put out a sign for the red winged blackbirds…so glad you enjoyed the post and especially the verse!

  5. HolleyGarden says:

    Oh, Donna! I can’t imagine having snow for three months! I would be a bit stir crazy. How wonderful that you can start seeds, though. That gives you some green, some anticipation, and a bit of getting your hands in dirt – all things gardeners *need*, not just want!

    • Donna says:

      Very much a need Holley especially getting my hands in the dirt…I do get a bit stir crazy especially at the end of winter as it continues to hold its grip as it is right now.

  6. Alistair says:

    Hi Donna, I would also get weary of constant snow, although some folks seem to embrace it. The red winged blackbird really interested me. Back in the 1950s there was a big thing about redwings turning up over here from America. They were seen for a number of weeks I had only been about eight at the time. Rumours were rife that they would cause scarlet fever. No one else can recall any memory of this. Thats me all over, forget all the important stuff and hold on to the trivia.

    • Donna says:

      I can embrace the snow but for only so long. That is such fascinating history and trivia. I remember scarlet fever as I had a form and how interesting folks thought these birds would cause it…I find the most fascinating thing is they ended up there and what happened to them….great birds that I adore in my garden.

  7. Lavender Cottage says:

    Your yard looks like mine Donna. Do you not keep an area of your pond open all winter, or is there no wildlife overwintering in it? We keep a heater and bubbler over the deepest section for the exchange of gases from the goldfish, frogs and whatever else is down there. One year while away, the hole froze over and in the spring all the fish and frogs were dead – had floated to the surface. I literally cried as I scooped them all out.
    I found your veggie garden interesting.

    • Donna says:

      Thank you Judith…I do a lot of companion planting in the veg garden which is why it is set up this way…and I use grow bags which I like a lot.

      We let nature take its course and the pond freezes over…we do not have fish and the tadpoles seem to survive. I have only found one dead frog.

  8. Christina says:

    I hear the hope in your voice but also the longing, the not daring to believe that spring WILL come. I loke the look of our small seed pots, it must be a very efficiant way of growing. Christina

    • Donna says:

      These pots are new. So far I like them. Many of the plant started in smaller pots will be moved to larger pots before they are planted out.

  9. Grace Peterson says:

    Hi Donna, I must apologize for my erratic visitation schedule or lack thereof. Your posts are always so interesting.

    I wish I could send you some thawing weather. How frustrating that it’s still so white. I won’t offer any platitudes about having patience and “each moment is a gift of its own.” LOL That might piss you off, especially while I’m basking in sunshine and the beginnings of garden life here in the PNW. Easy for me to say, right?

    I’ll just say, hang in there sister.

    • Donna says:

      Thanks sister…your comment made me laugh out loud as you can read me so well…your good thoughts have helped and we are in a thaw with some blooms…I am so freaking happy that there are flowers blooming…wooohooo!!

      I will show them off on Monday!

  10. Nell Jean says:

    Spring is coming, really. I’ve been out scratching in the mulch to see what has tiny sprouts on plants that froze back to the roots. Plants in the greenhouse KNOW it’s coming and are about to burst their bloomers, uh, burst into bloom. Farmers here are out in the fields turning dirt.

  11. Debbie/GardenofPossibilities says:

    Donna, That is one of my favorite gardening quotes. Gardeners are always looking forward, anticipating what’s to come in the next weeks or season. I saw my first red-winged blackbirds last week but I do still consider the first robins as the true harbingers of spring here. In case you’re wondering, I haven’t seen any yet.

    • Donna says:

      Ah I see Debbie…no robins here either and they usually show before the red wings…although most birds are staying high in the trees due to snow cover..but with the thaw, I bet I will see them in the garden soon.

  12. PlantPostings says:

    You got some great shots of the Downy Woodpeckers! And the Summersweet Bush and the Zebra Grass are so pretty with the oblique light sparkling on their dewy foliage. It’s probably good (?) that you’ve been so busy so you don’t think too much about the retirement. But I think you’re going to love it! I wish I could retire, but even having a more flexible schedule is a pleasure! Cheers!

  13. Jean says:

    March is the month when we northern gardeners get to watch the snow melt and green begin to appear. I’m headed up to Maine at the end of this week. By the time I return in two weeks, it will be spring in my PA garden; I’m definitely looking forward to it. Although we have had very little snow here, the cold northwest winds have been brutal.

    • Donna says:

      I bet spring will show in Maine Jean as it is starting here with a thaw this weekend…I know the cold will return but this break and sneak peek into spring have been so wonderful this weekend!

  14. Cathy says:

    Your garden looks lovely in the snow, but I understand your yearning for spring. I think it’s arrived here… for now anyway! Can’t be long now, Donna. And then everything will be shooting up at once – the snow here was a gift to my plants as they were well-protected from dry frosts.
    The woodpeckers are pretty. We just get the European Green Woodpecker, and the occasional Greater Spotted Woodpecker. Look forward to reading about yours!

    • Donna says:

      Spring is showing herself Carver and the seed starting is beginning in earnest meaning I have to pay close attention to my seedlings!

    • Donna says:

      I love the look of snow and the relaxing peace of winter, but I am a spring person who looks forward to the onslaught of flowers.

  15. Eileen says:

    Hello, Donna! Pretty snowy scenes and the sky shots are beautiful. Love the woodpecker, one of my favorites. Have a great day!

  16. Leora says:

    We have had a lot of winter, minus the snow that you have had. It was getting a little warmer, so I was going to plant peas, but then I found out … more snow. I enjoy your boxwood covered in snow. And your woodpecker is handsome.

    • Donna says:

      Leora it has been a long winter that is starting to slip away finally…I can’t wait to pant peas…I hope maybe in a couple of weeks.

  17. Janet, The Queen of Seaford says:

    You say nothing is growing…the roots are growing!!! Your warm up will come and poof, everything will be green.
    Five months…wow! I know you will enjoy your retirement. How very exciting.
    Love your woodpecker pictures. We have them here, though I look to read your post about the difference between a Downy or a Hairy Woodpecker. Love seeing them, whichever they are!

    • Donna says:

      Janet I was so anxious to see the green growing and with a bit of thaw, the crocus are up in spots…everything is moving fast for now…hope you like the woodpecker post.

  18. KL says:

    Phew…here it does not look that bad like yours. I was going to be pretty depressed with that much snow. At least, I can go to the backyard and walk on the grass if I want to, say hi to the trees. Well, snow is beautiful but not for us gardeners, I guess. Is that a pond a natural one or did you make it artificially?

  19. VP says:

    I love your veggie plan. You’ve reminded me I must do mine for the year 🙂

    I always February the toughest month of the year. We’ve just had a couple of days of sunny, warm weather. May some blow your way soon to get rid of that snow!

    • Donna says:

      Thanks I think it worked…we are getting warm weather and a few blooms from early crocus. I am honored that you like my veggie plan…I modify it a bit every year after coming up with a good plan last year for the raised beds with companion planting.

    • Donna says:

      Yikes indeed…I saw a few after the snow melted…here comes spring…I can’t believe it is here even if just a little bit.

  20. Jen @ Muddy Boot Dreams says:

    I started to leave you a comment, and then I was distracted by the 13 days to spring countdown…so I had to tell my husband, [twice] about it. And then I saw the Blogiversary button..I love that.

    Only 5 months to retirement? I would be having a giant countdown button on it.


    • Donna says:

      I hear you Jen…I love countdown buttons…I think once I actually, finally put in my letter of retirement I may just do that and put a button up!

  21. Jennifer@threedogsinagarden says:

    My garden looks much the same. 3 more weeks and hopefully winter will be done! I am counting the seconds. You are so organized with your plan drawing and lines of plant pots that you put me to shame. I must think about plans for my vegetable garden and get some seeds. Love your little poem!

    • Donna says:

      Thanks so much Jennifer for your kind words…we are getting some warm weather and where the snow has melted there are some blooms…yea!!!

  22. catmint says:

    hi donna, the bird photos are wonderful, and the paw-prints very tantalizing. We’re having an extended summer here to match your extended winter – this may be the new normal?

  23. RamblingWoods says:

    I was surprised to see something poking up near the pond..Ummm.. crocus maybe. No redwings here yet or robins..but the snow may be melting over the next few days… Michelle..

  24. Charlie@Seattle Trekker says:

    It is amazing how many times I take that walk out into the garden to status the coming of spring. The impatience begins in mid-February and lasts until the first buds start to break. I really enjoyed the walk out into your garden. Thank you for sharing.

  25. Linda says:

    Wow, that is a lot of snow!
    But seeing that birdlife and being able to capture such lovely pix must make up for a little bit of it, a sign that spring is on its way to Narnia!
    Loving the zebra grass as I’ve never actually heard of it, is it invasive?


    • Donna says:

      I love the thought of this being Narnia…makes it better. No the zebra grass is very well behaved here. It keeps itself to a neat clump.

  26. Angie says:

    I can understand how frustrated you must get. As much as I love snow, I doubt I would enjoy it if we had it as long as you do!
    Lovely pictures and with all those beauties tucked beneath the snow the anticipation must be awful!

    • Donna says:

      Oh Angie that is it..anticipation… and the show just started this weekend with a few crocus…I hope to see more and more and more!

  27. bumblelush says:

    Heavy snow can be a such a pain to clean up but it makes for beautiful pictures! I love your snowy landscape. And your garden plan is great! I can’t wait to see how your veggie garden grows. I’m so behind on my plans…need to get some seeds started. Good luck getting your paperwork done!

  28. Tootsie says:

    thank you so much for linking in this weekend…I always love to grab inspiration from those who play along with my little party. I can’t hardly wait for spring to come…It will be so nice to play outside again for a few months!
    Your post gives me hope that I may not have too long to wait!
    I shared this post on the Tootsie Time facebook page
    I hope you will link in again every week!

    ¸.•´¸.•*¨) ¸.•*¨)
    (¸.•´ (¸.•´ .•´ ¸¸.•¨¯`•

  29. Paula in Idaho says:

    Donna – it all looks great! Just wondering, doyou use a seed mat and grow light whenyou start your veggies? What is theprocess you use when you plant your seeds inside/ thanks! Paula

  30. Island Threads says:

    Donna you are a busy bee, I love the woodpecker photos especially the one who is looking at you, I like your new pots too,
    as I am commenting after you have posted your next post I know your white landscape is starting to change, the only up side I can think of for looking at a white landscape is at least it’s light, sometimes in winter here with the grey rock and dark brown heather both made darker if wet with rain it can look very dark especially if the sky is grey too, but as with any thing too much is just that, too much!
    oh and I like your organised veggy plans too, Frances

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