Gardens Eye Journal-April 2013

Without change, something sleeps inside us, and seldom awakens. The sleeper must awaken.”  
– Frank Herbert


This quote exemplifies how I have been feeling since the official start of spring.  I have been looking for a change….my sleeping garden needs to wake up.  And with March ending on a quiet, sunny, warm note, my garden has sprung to life quite literally.  These lovely iris reticulata are blooming off the patio in the back garden.  And with them the garden is slowly awakening, stretching its legs, opening its eyes and smiling with blooms popping up all over.

But this is not how March started and continued here in my central New York garden.  This picture is more like it as spring came in on the back of more DSCN0430snow.  But within a week’s time, the snow had receded revealing a garden full of life.  So I hope you enjoy this rather crazy journey in my March garden.

As I write my garden journal for March, 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.




Did we have weather.  March came in like a roaring lion with snow, ice, wind and cold.  We had a brief thaw mid month with the prelude of spring, but quickly the snow was flying again blanketing everything for weeks.  We ended the winter with 19 feet and some odd inches of snow.  Of course we can still have snow in April and May, but the temps are moderating to normal for this time of year in the high 40s and low 50s.

DSCN0391Most of March was spent in the 20s and low 30s with nightly lows down in the 20s and teens.  But that March sun is warmer than January so snow was always slowly melting…ice age slow, but melting none-the-less.  And the first full moon washed the melting garden in moonlight that bounced off patches of snow allowing me to see those pesky deer stealing into the garden.

I will say the sunrises were again spectacular in March as we adjusted to the loss of an hour springing ahead.  Subtle pastel rainbow colors were the norm and gave me some needed color.



What’s Growing

Quickly the snowdrops, early crocus, hellebores and iris reticulata were already showing blooms in the back garden at the end of March.  Many more flowers are sporting buds, and will bloom by next weekend if not before; daffs and hyacinths especially.


Back Gardens


This was the typical cycle in March.  We started with snow, thawed, snowed and thawed again.  And with each thaw we had flooding in the back although much of it has receded or has been dealt with through rain gardens.  I still have a few areas to fix as you can see in the top left picture.  Due to my knee injury last year, I was unable to tackle this area.  Below are some more views of the cycle.



backyard march





And here is the garden at the end of March still a bit squishy but warming up.  Can you spot the broken bird house?  Here are a few blooms found in the back gardens at the end of the month….



 These maple buds burst into flower unexpectedly.  They were hard to get a clear picture of as they were swaying in the breeze.



IMG_0285 And Tommies popped up all over.  I was not expecting them so soon.



This is the White Garden looking very white in March.  As it thawed a snowdrop or 2 popped up, but now as it is finally thawed the first hellebore has bloomed.  It seems this one in the white garden blooms first every year.



 Front Garden

Here is the progression in the front garden.  I hope to get out and clean it up soon.  The blooms are more delayed in the front even though it is sunnier because of the snow that is heaped on this garden from the driveway when we snowblow.  But you can see the flowers are forming and getting ready to burst soon.



Side Gardens

Here is the wall garden holding all sorts of surprises with crocus getting ready to bloom and bearded iris and alliums sporting new growth.  This is my huge pink hellebore that followed me from my old garden.  It is on the other side of the house and getting ready to bloom.  And in case you couldn’t tell, I do not clean up the garden before spring as I like to leave seed heads and leaf litter for the critters.




Veg Garden/Seeds

Well I was hoping to plant peas the last weekend in March, but the garden needs to warm another week.  And what will we find growing under this cover now that it has thawed and getting more spring sun?





The seeds are coming along for the most part as I have repotted alyssum, snapdragons, viola and pansies.  Soon I will repot the eggplant, petunias and torenia along with majoram and summer savory.  But I did have an epic fail with my new deep root pots as the seed starting mix was too fine and not packed tight enough.  The roots were not getting enough water and many peppers and tomatoes were lost and had to be restarted.  The peppers may not do well once planted putside since it will take at least 2 months of growing again before they get in the garden.  But the remaining tomatoes that you can see bottom right, are actually recovering from being planted deeper in new growing medium.

I also started Brussel sprouts, basil and morning glories by the end of March.




This is the garlic bed that had lots of growth during the winter that I hope will bounce back as it is looking ragged.  I will be adding onions to this bed.  I can’t wait to get my early beets, lettuces, spinach, radishes and peas started outside under cover.




The  pond finally started melting in March, and is now completely melted and full of algae.  I hope we can open the pond and clean it out the first weekend in April.




The meadow needs to be cleaned up and I hope to get to that in early April.  Lots of red twig dogwood volunteers that will also have to be thinned.  And we will keep a close eye out for the teasel, thistle and Queen Anne’s Lace to make sure they do not dominate the back of the meadow where I hope to replant it with many native plants.




Finally here are the critters that have been around the garden this March.


The black squirrel (sorry for the fuzzy picture as he was moving a lot) has been trying to figure out a way to get to the caged suet feeder, but was satisfied to eat remnants from the feeder he found on the ground.  The Juncos and robins finally came for spring along with the starlings who bullied everyone and ate most of the suet. (see my post about the feeder follies at Beautiful Wildlife Gardens on April 2nd).  The red tail hawk has been seen watching the meadow often so birds beware.  There has been lots of bird activity in the garden.  More visitors will be arriving weekly.



Gardens Eye Verse

Well spring has finally come to the Purple Door Gardens at Garden’s Eye View.  Here’s a little poem about the beginning of spring I hope you will enjoy.  The daffodil picture is from last year’s garden.


 The Start of Spring


Every spring my curiosity stirs,

to thoughts of pink blossoms and songs of birds.

My eyes gaze upon bright green shoots,

as I walk about the soggy garden in my muddy boots.

Now each new day brings heady smells,

of rich soil and spring’s wondrous spells.

Time stands still for but a brief moment,

as we welcome this year’s garden with golden trumpets.

Donna Donabella 




Book Giveaway Winner


The winner of The Garden Club of America 100 year anniversary book is Jean@Jean’s Garden.  I know she will enjoy reading about the history of this organization.  Thank you to all who commented.



Next up on the blog:  Next Monday  I’ll have an early Simply the Best-Herb post in April with an herb seed giveaway.  April brings us garden books, Earth Day, Garden Blogger’s Bloom Day and Wildflower Tales.  The garden will be busy and I hope to capture some of the highlights to share.  I hope you will join me.

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. Liz says:

    Hi Donna,

    Your March looked eerily similar to ours; snow, thaw, snow, thaw. Still I can’t do anything because the ground is too hard. Very frustrating isn’t it? It’s all good that the snow is gone, but that doesn’t mean any work can be done in the garden because it’s still frozen or the ground is so wet it’s a nightmare trying to dig as the soil sticks.
    Let’s hope things perk up soon and we can get out more!

    • Donna says:

      I hope Liz that your weather perks up. We are getting a few good days that i will send your way. it felt good to finally do a bit of clean up in the garden.

  2. Donna says:

    We finally are without snow, but some is predicted tonight then again this weekend. Still the garden sleeps. It is nice you have some bloom. Love the poem.

    • Donna says:

      Thanks Donna…our snow from this past week finally melted with the garden so I have been cleaning up. Planting early veggies today.

  3. Alistair says:

    Donna, March was much the same in Aberdeen, snow didn’t lie long but was persistent through the whole month, and no mild spells. I see Reticulata does indeed behave itself across the Atlantic.

    • Donna says:

      Alistair the reticulata is in its splendor right now….I think it has become my favorite early spring flower as the critters leave it alone.

  4. HolleyGarden says:

    Oh, my goodness! Anticipation!!! Everything is ready to burst open with color! The little crocus just couldn’t wait any longer! How sweet they are. This year’s wait for spring has been torturous, but I suspect within a week all will be very different there with so many blooms opening, and hopefully winter will be nothing but a memory.

  5. pbm says:

    Such a nice post Donna. The iris reticulata and Tommies are both things I plan each year to add but forget about until I see beautiful pictures like these. Never heard of a black squirrel. Hope spring continues to spread cheer up your way.

    • Donna says:

      The black squirrels are rare indeed but can be seen in Ontario Canada in great numbers. This one may have hitched a ride on the interstate. Spring and the reticualta are popping up more and more.

  6. The Sage Butterfly says:

    Our March was very similar to yours with a thawing period and then snow again. April is predicted to be more warm, so I hope the spring air remains. That black squirrel is interesting. I think the only time I have seen them was in Canada.

    • Donna says:

      Michelle it is indeed warming although I think we will fluctuate for a while with some colder days as spring begins in earnest finally!

  7. easygardener says:

    Very interesting to see the with snow/without snow pictures. Amazing how a covering of snow makes it seem like another world.
    I liked the picture of your Crocuses – arms wide open to welcome the sun 🙂

    • Donna says:

      They do look like they have their arms flung open welcoming me back. Thanks for visiting and glad you enjoyed the post!

  8. KL says:

    Absolutely lovely poem and thanks for the update of what’s happening in your garden. I need to write about mine soon. The blue of those irises surely gorgeous.

  9. PlantPostings says:

    I was chuckling as I was reading this, Donna, because it sounds so familiar. Except we haven’t had a full snow melt yet–it’s happening all at once! There’s some concern about flooding along the Mississippi because of all the snow this year and the sudden warm weather. Temps in the 30s and 40s this week should help to slow it, though. Love the shot of the Crocuses!

    • Donna says:

      Perhaps that slow melt will make sure there is no flooding as we had a bit here. most has absorbed into the earth though and a few warm days will make for a dent in my garden chores. Wishing you a lovely spring Beth.

  10. PJ says:

    The Tommies are beautiful and look far more delicate than they obviously are. This weather is crazy here too and keeps lulling us all into a false sense of security. I’ve just finished eating my Easter Egg and now need some hard labour in the garden to work it off 🙂

    • Donna says:

      Finally was able to get some time in the garden…the Tommies can take it but the snow that fell last week (yet again) did make them a bit ragged…the warm weather of late is helping them to revive.

  11. Cathy says:

    Lovely post and poem Donna. I hardly dare say it, but I think spring may be here too… at least the start of spring anyway!

    • Donna says:

      Spring is definitely starting here Cathy…lots of blooms daily and the warm weather and sounds of spring are everywhere.

  12. Patty says:

    One photo of your backyard had such amazing blue sky I could feel my heart lift. And of course the iris reticulata colour is superb! I need colour right now and it is on its way.

    • Donna says:

      Patty we do get beautiful blue skies here and I know what you mean about needing color. Hoping more color comes your way soon!

  13. Carver says:

    Beautiful shots and you gave such a good account of what’s going on. It looks like the changes are constant with winter hanging on and then spring and then winter.

  14. Christy says:

    Hi Donna….your garden is really starting to come to life. I think spring may finally be here. I sure like those Tommies. I’d never heard of them before seeing them in one other post. They are so pretty. I can’t wait to watch as your garden awakens from it’s winter slumber!

    • Donna says:

      Christy the crocus tommasinianus are sweet and fun to watch pop up in the grass. I expect they will fill in more and more year after year. The garden is waking up and the birds are singing it a welcome song.

  15. Lavender Cottage says:

    Hi Donna
    Our snow was gone and I actually did a bit of tidy up on Good Friday wearing only a sweater. Yesterday and overnight it snowed so we have a couple of inches on the ground again.
    I looked at your grow lights and had a quick twinge of regret for donating mine to a school for the youth gardeners. The meadow area is large and will look nice in the summer. I’ll have to check out some of the garden memes you mentioned.

    • Donna says:

      Judith wait until you see the metamorphosis of the meadow,,,it is such a wonderful spot. I had time yesterday finally in the garden…

  16. Pam's English Garden says:

    I believe you have more blooms than me, Donna, although I am further south. Of course, my garden is high in the mountains. I am inspired to start my seeds indoors this week. I love your poem! P. x

    • Donna says:

      Thanks Pam…we are getting about 6-12 inches today and tonight again with temps in the 20s and wild winds so winter just doesn’t want to go away and all my blooms a re covered again…SIGH!

  17. Angie says:

    It has ccertainly been a very long winter and I know we are all in need of a bit of heat now!
    What an enjoyable read and your pictures are lovely.
    Your Crocus were certainly caught in the moment. What a lovely verse. Hope your spring clear up goes well.

    • Donna says:

      You are so kind Angie and I am glad you enjoyed the post…just getting started on the clean up and I am so exhilarated.

  18. Gail says:

    Looks like you are about a month behind us. Enjoyed your irises and maples and the critters, of course! Have a great evening. 🙂

  19. Hootin' Anni says:

    Wow…I see beauty in that iris color!! The rich blue hue and the speckled stamens area. And it looks to me like you have a lot of work to do very soon. But the labors are always so worth it when it comes to the gorgeous gardens!!

    • Donna says:

      I ran out of time in the fall and I do leave lots up all winter but boy I do have lots of work…it is a labor of love and I am beginning to enjoy it.

  20. Laura Bloomsbury says:

    I do so like a before and after scene – recording the changes that can be lost in the blink of an eye (especially with the reluctance of winter to depart – like a woman who keeps changing her mind!).
    Q. I symapthise with your bad knee but how did you get down to take that lovely eye level shot of the Tommies (this name new to me). Gorgeous leggy elegance

    • Donna says:

      I cheated Laura and bent over, held the camera close to the ground and snapped away…of course for 10 good pictures 10 were not so good. Tommies are crocus tommasinianus. We actually had snow the day after I put this post up on Monday…36 hours of snow and another foot. It is still melting so no gardening for me yet.

  21. Andrea says:

    It really takes a while for your snow to vanish! If i can just blow them off with some temps from ours, that will only take a few ours, as we have it soaring still with now already at 37C and high humidity. I tell you it feels like hell when you stay outdoors of the cement jungle for a few hours (as if I’ve experienced hell, haha).

    Those blue iris are so beautiful, but those i see here are mostly leaves with just few flowers. Maybe they really prefer the colder temps.

    • Donna says:

      These particular irises do prefer cooler temps. Yes your temps would chase the snow away…getting a bit warmer these days.

  22. b-a-g says:

    Donna – I’m still trying to find the optimum type and arrangement of seed trays. Maybe I should have learnt a lesson from my mother, she used torn up toilet roll tubes.

    • Donna says:

      I have heard others use toilet paper rolls and have considered using them…I think I may have to experiment if I have any more seeds to sow this year. But I will note it for next year to definitely try. I have a couple of different trays this year and I will see which seeds actually grow best in the garden and produce the best veggies and do a post later about what I find…love those experiments!!

  23. Karen (Back Road Journal) says:

    I really enjoyed your post. Our snow has all melted except in the shady parts of our orchard. Next week it should get to 60 and that will melt the rest…finally. I would think that your tomatoes will be fine. I can’t plant mine in our garden in Maine until the last weekend in May because of the danger of frost. When I started my seed the last week of April last year they were over 3 feet tall by the time they went into the ground. Good luck!

    • Donna says:

      Karen you were correct as my tomatoes are growing madly…should have large plants once I get them out in mid to late May…warmed up here to and the snow is gone, the ground is a bit drier and I can clean up the garden and watch the flowers pop up.

    • Donna says:

      Michelle it was a treat to hear from you as I know how hard it is to type these days..keeping you in my thoughts for a speedy healing my friend!

  24. Foxglove Lane says:

    Ah yes what a strange month it has been! Thank goodness for your Tommies and those stunning Irises. It’s onward and upward from here….is it? Can we trust a little bit of Spring?

    • Donna says:

      Catharine I dare say we can as the birds are telling me so!! Here we go even with some colder temps and a bit of the white stuff I expect to still see until May.

    • Donna says:

      And April is no better with its extremes…wow this has turned out to be a crazy feels like early March not April.

  25. Janet/Plantaliscious says:

    Hi Donna, what a lovely post to catch up with you on, spring really is bursting forth. I love the sight of all those seedlings getting ready to be planted out in your smart raised beds. But for me, nothing can beat the sight of crocuses popping up in the grass like that, something I hope to start in my own garden this Autumn.

    • Donna says:

      Thanks Janet. Those seedlings have gotten so big I had to repot them in the bigger pots as they get ready to be planted out in a month. My crocus in the lawn have come back this year and grown in a bit…soon they will naturalize in a another year or so and continue to spread. I love the look.

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