Gardens Eye Journal-June 2013


“Now every field is clothed with grass, and every tree with leaves; now the woods put forth their blossoms, and the year assumes its gay attire.”
–  Virgil



Well May has been a brutal month at work and in the garden, but the flowers that showed up in May certainly have helped.  Even though I only have about 8 weeks of work left, I am finding it the busiest time I have ever had with lots of long days and many headaches…like a mad dash to the finish and will I still be standing at the end.  The garden feels the same way, or should I say weed beds…yuck!  Oh well I will get the weeds in due time I suppose.

And the weather…holy cow it has been one of the worst I have seen.  Hot and dry, then cold with a freeze, then hot and tropical with some of theIMG_1477 worst thunderstorms we have seen in a long time.  We had cold snap on the holiday weekend stifling my ability to get warm veggies and containers planted.  We managed to do it all somehow, but did not have time to tackle weeds.  I know I will look forward to my first few weeks of retirement, and maybe I will consider doing some weeding, maybe.

Of course keeping up with blogging:  writing, commenting, reading, answering comments has been crazy.  Although I am a bit late getting back to readers and reading blogs, I have been keeping up somehow.  Blogging is such an obsession, like gardening.  I seem to find time for it when the weather is not cooperating or in the evening after dinner.  It’s that frenzied multi-tasker in me that allows it all to get done somehow, and I hope to put her to rest when I retire and slow my pace.

I will be checking in with other gardeners and their memes as I wrap up May in my garden:  Garden Bloggers Harvest Day (GBHD)@The Gardening Blog on the 5th, Salad Days@Veg Plotting on the 4th Friday of the month and End of Month View with Helen@The Patient Gardener’s Weblog.  With so much going on in the garden, I apologize in advance for a long post with lots of collages.




 May sky

The sky told an interesting story this May.  The colors were lovely ranging from orange to pink.  And the cloud formations were pretty intense with the dramatic changes in weather fronts.  The last photo shows the very severe weather that started in Oklahoma with deadly tornadoes and moved across country ending here.  Growing up with tornadoes, I know how to read the clouds and these were showing that telltale tornado circulation although not enough to really form any tornadoes here.  But just across the lake there were tornado warnings.  The thunderstorms in the area produced hail (again across the lake) and sheets of rain with wind gusts to 60 mph.  May ended with very hot, humid weather and record setting temps in the mid 90s.  I wonder what weather June will bring?



What’s Growing

What’s growing is weeds, weeds, weeds especially in the more natural back gardens.  Every year I fall behind with weeding, and then they set seed and get ahead of me.  We did tackle the dandelions as they were overtaking everything, and of course we did not get them all…that’s impossible.  The horsetail and grass are advancing and the gardens look more like a grassy meadow.  But here are some of the blooms that were peaking through for May.



May natives

Top left clockwise:  Mayapples are flowering like crazy, cinnamon fern, wild woodland phlox or Phlox divaricata, common milkweed, jack-in-the-pulpit, Jacob’s ladder, Golden Alexander, a surprise  we found wild grapes on the ash tree in the meadow, honeysuckle, Green and Gold ground cover, Goatsbeard, Eastern Prickly Pear cactus putting on new growth and center the red-twig dogwood is blooming profusely.



Front Gardens

IMG_1627The trees are in need of their first haircut.There are pinks in the front gardens and purple everywhere else in the garden.  The purple ground cover in the foreground is  Veronica ‘Waterperry Blue’ which is great for hot, sunny dry spots.  There is a pink geranium ‘Bevan’s Variety’, pink columbines and sea thrift or Armeria maritima.  Still to come are lavender, clematis, salvia, lilies, hydrangeas and iris.


The garden on the other side of the walk is just a bit in bloom here again due to the crazy weather.  Normally there would be more flowering by now.



Back Gardens

 May Ash

Well we did it…Phase 1 of the ash tree removal.  Remember we have the Emerald Ash Borer bearing down on us.  They currently are in the western part of our county, and it is advisable to take down healthy trees before they become infested.  You can read more about it here.  The first picture is how the garden looked earlier this spring with all the trees.  We took 4 of the 8 trees down now, and are only replacing only 4 trees eventually.  We left the stumps to decay naturally and maybe be planted with ferns or other woodland plants.  We also left one tall snag as a birdhouse stand (bottom center).  The tree leafing out is one of the replacements, American Linden.  We are keeping the replacement trees in pots until fall when we will plant them.  Other replacements are Eastern Redbud, Black Cherry and Pagoda Dogwood.  For this portion of the post, I am linking in as part of Tree Following with Lucy@Loose and Leafy.




May allium

Alliums are everywhere and they really make a wonderful statement in the garden.  I added loads more this past fall.  Not sure if I will ever have enough.

May iris

Irises are just starting.  They are late this year, and I can’t wait for more to bloom for weeks.  The non-bearded iris is the second on the right that is on the edge of the pond.  Not sure what variety it is.

May columbine

Columbines just started in late May: ‘Blue Barlow’, Pleated variety unknown, ‘Black Barlow’, ‘Nora Barlow’ and ‘Pink Perfection’


May other blooms

The best of the rest clockwise top left:  hardy geranium, sea thrift, Camassia leichtlinii caerulea, ajuga, geum, catmint, roses in bud, clematis buds, spiderwort or Tradescantia, the Veronica groundcover up close, verbascum, Spanish bells, Coral bells, Centaurea ‘Amethyst in Snow’, and in the center is the lone bloom on my tree peony.  She needs to be moved to a sunnier spot this fall.




Veg Garden/Seeds

May veggies

It has been crazy in the veg garden too.  Top left are my potted herbs (I’ll get into more detail later this month).  Next are the green tubs that this year are growing onions, beets and Brussel sprouts.   ‘All Blue’ potatoes are growing nicely.  Chives are amazing this year.  The second row shows the weedy back garden with the lettuce bed under cover.  The lettuce bed is still having an ant problem and most of the seeds were lost or moved around.  So I am going to make that bed a strawberry/blueberry bed, and we are adding one more 4×8 ft bed for lettuce, carrots, spinach, chard, kale…well you get the idea.  The garlic/onion bed is out of this world with so much growth already in May.  The pea/bean bed was recently planted with cukes, bush and pole beans that have started to grow.  The last picture in the row is all the seedlings being hardened off last week before we planted them.  The last row shows the new bagged tomatoes in the cages that fold flat for storage.  The covered bed has tomatoes, peppers, okra and eggplant.  Next are micro greens and green chiles.  Last is the new experiment…our upside down tomato planters we made from buckets.  They are top planted with basil and marigolds.  Hope they do well.






The morning sun was shining through the blooms in the meadow:  lupines, Golden Alexanders and daisies.



IMG_1728The pond is starting to bloom and grow.  It looks fabulous in the setting sun.





may critters

Lots of critter action already in May:   Frogs have been busy in the pond laying their first batch of eggs.  Our resident deer with a bad leg was slow enough for me to get a shot of her winter coat giving way to her summer coat.  Snakes have been getting into the filter.  This one had to be rescued.  Grackles devoured the suet in one day.  Second row shows the first dragonfly, the female goldfinch getting her summer bright colors and one of our very cool frogs just hanging out.  Third row shows Cabbage White butterflies resting at dawn on the willow tree, papa bluebird taking a feeding break and the cedar waxwings that visit the pond every morning.  The hummers finally showed in late May but they are still too elusive for photos.




Gardens Eye Verse

My only flowering azalea is just amazing in its flame colors.  It embodies the bright spring colors that are now showing up in the garden.  I hope you enjoy my May poem.



 A-May-Zing Times in the Garden

It’s May, it’s May the bluebird sang,
And robin echoed hooray with his glad refrain!
The frog croaked with delight as he sprang from the pond,
To welcome his friends to their new surrounds.
And buzzing bees joined hummingbirds on the wing,
This time in the garden is just a-may-zing!

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 summer or winter or something else.  Share your traditions, holidays, gardens and celebrations in pictures, poetry or words starting June 1st.

And it seems so appropriate to collaborate with Beth and her Lessons Learned meme.  What lessons have you learned this past season of spring here in the North and fall 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 solstice (the 21st of June).  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:  In June the garden will be kicking into high gear..I hope.  Garden Blogger’s Bloom Day should be full of garden flowers.  I will have another Garden Book Review.  And of course it is Seasonal Celebrations time so join in with your posts starting June 1st.

I am 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.  Most recent post is up.

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. Alberto says:

    Wow, you really have a lot going on! I love your front garden and the collage picture of the skies… I was thinking about doing a collections of pictures of the sky too lately, we had the strangest view too. I might start this thing.
    I’m so glad for you, you have only 8 weeks left at work, although I guess it must feel like waiting (and watching) the water to boil… It never starts! But as soon as you turn your back it will start boiling… 8 weeks will fly, you’ll see.

  2. Donna says:

    Like here, your wide angle shots belie how much is really going on. It is a lot of color, but more in bits and pieces until it moves a bit on into June. You pond photo is very pretty like you said in the setting sun. I hope you find time for the weeding chores. I have the same right now too. So much to keep up with…

    • Donna says:

      My garden helper is learning which weeds to look for and grab. it helps but boy I don’t think I will get control until late July.

  3. Lavender Cottage says:

    Hello Donna
    Your gardens look lovely, such a diversity of plant material. My woodland phlox petered out and it’s hard to find here but so fragrant when in bloom.
    With all the rain we’ve had, and are getting, the weeds are way ahead of me this year too.
    Blogging does take a lot of time but as a gardening communicator it comes with the territory.
    A couple of more months to go, you must see the light at the end of the tunnel!

    • Donna says:

      I love blogging and devote a lot of time to it …can’t wait until I can devote more time and feel more relaxed…the light is definitely becoming clearer.

  4. debsgarden says:

    Your weather has been more extreme than ours. We haven’t hit the 90’s yet, but I know that is rapidly approaching, along with stifling humidity. I really enjoyed looking at your collages. Your garden and your ability to keep up with it, your blog, and a busy job is a-may-zing! I know the stress of trying to do it all. Despite the weeds, you seem to be managing very well! I am totally jealous of your upcoming retirement. Mine is at least 2-3 years away.

    • Donna says:

      Oh deborah thank you for your kind words. I can’t believe we hit the 90s before you…finally warmed up into the high 70s as we were cool for a week.

  5. Beth says:

    Your gardens are a-MAY-zing indeed! The sky shots are beautiful, loved seeing the critters, and the iris and native plants. Simply beautiful!

  6. b-a-g says:

    The lupin looks lovely in that setting, I would never have thought of it as being a meadow plant. Despite the strange weather and heavy workload, you seem to be doing really well. The water lilies are divine.

    • Donna says:

      Oh so glad you enjoyed the lupin in the meadow…they are amazing right now and I will post more shots…they are everywhere and have even seeded in the back garden.

  7. Christy says:

    Hi Donna….you have so many beautiful flowers!! Love all of your natives and really love that Iris that is yellow and purple. Of course Columbines are some of my favorites and yours are fabulous. The “Save the Bees” seeds I won are doing well. The flowers are several inches tall now. I’ll take pictures when they start blooming!!

    • Donna says:

      Christy I can’t wait to see the seeds growing….that iris was a surprise as I had not seen it bloom before. I plant so many and they take a while to grow.

  8. Jennifer Richardson says:

    what a GORGEOUS riot of color and beauty
    you share! those iris….be still my heart.
    May has been a bit of a hammer this year
    for me too….I can relate to your busyness.
    Grateful for a roof over my head after hearing
    how destructive some of her storms, tho.
    Thanks for sharing the sweetness of your living,

    • Donna says:

      Jennifer I always look forward to your musical and poetic comments…they make my day!! Thank you as ever for your kindness!

    • Donna says:

      Well the weather shifted to cool and very wet. My garden is so soggy I am still wearing my muck boots. Thank goodness I planted natives for wet conditions. So very happy you enjoyed the poem Michelle.

  9. GirlSprout says:

    Congratulations on your upcoming retirement!

    The weather has been so mercurial. My plants are stunted this year. Your garden looks so fresh and inviting especially the pond.

    • Donna says:

      Thank you. We have the opposite weather of you I think…very wet and cool…but the garden still grows on especially the weeds.

  10. catmint says:

    dear donna, i smiled when you wrote you hoped to slow down when you retire. For me, and other retirees I know, you get so busy you wonder how you ever had time to work. This is not a complaint – it’s a wonderful time. Love and appreciate the colours of the pansy, and the colour combinations in the collages that range from brilliant to green calm. I need alliums.

    • Donna says:

      Oh you must get some alliums catmint….I know I will probably be even busier in retirement, but with things I really want to do and hopefully in control of my schedule….

  11. Carver says:

    You have a beautiful garden but that is a lot of work. I used to have a lot of work in my garden until I got to where physically I couldn’t handle it due to health issues. Now I have let it turn wild and will probably end up with a little house in the woods because I’m letting nature have its way.

    • Donna says:

      Thanks Carver….I continue to let nature have her way here too but those invasive weeds I do need to control a bit…I like the idea of a house in the woods with nature all around.

  12. Leora says:

    So many beautiful color combinations! Your May has been quite busy. Despite the crazy weather, we’ve had much rain, so lazy gardeners like me can enjoy, too.

  13. Liz says:

    Hi Donna,

    Your Gardens are looking lovely with plenty to see and actually looking very nice and green considering your bad weather this year!

    8 weeks huh? If only… Starting to look for new jobs too; just can’t settle now, used to. Perhaps I get a job I actually want then I’ll settle down more.

    • Donna says:

      I understand Liz about not settling…I had too a bit to get my retirement years in but now I am not settling which is the perfect time to retire and start a new path…good luck finding a new job….

  14. commonweeder says:

    Wow – that is some tour of your gardens. You are way ahead of us, but we are feeling the race of spring now. I even have a very few rugosa blossoms. I love all your photos which give such a sense of all your gardens. Just a great post.

    • Donna says:

      Pat how very nice of you…your very special words mean a lot….so very happy you enjoyed the garden tour of May.

  15. Loredana Donovan says:

    Hi Donna, your gardens are simply gorgeous and your poem is delightful. I’m working on your Seasonal Celebration post and I hope to link it tomorrow. I’ll come back to read more then. Goodnight 🙂

    • Donna says:

      I think Carolyn even being busy with my own projects will not feel as stressed. I look forward…the clock keeps ticking down.

    • Donna says:

      Beth the sudden turn to colder wet weather certainly stressed the warm weather veggies and herbs…but with one warm day today they seem happier already.

  16. Angie says:

    What an absolute delight. Your garden is awash with colour. I just love the way you have pruned those trees in your front garden.
    Your alliums really put my tiny offering to shame. I lost many bulbs to flooding last year. Replacements are top of my list for autumn planting.
    I wasn’t aware there was a ‘seasonal celebration’ meme until I read PlantPostings blog.
    My latest blog is a bit of ‘seasonal celebration’

    • Donna says:

      I am so glad you found the meme and I adore your post. Those dwarf willows are kept a bit more under control but we love them for their shape too. They need a ‘haircut’ soon as they are almost grown together in the front and it is hard to get up the front walk…I need a machete. 🙂

  17. Cathy says:

    There is so much happening in your garden Donna – what a pleasure it must be! Thanks for sharing all your gorgeous flowers. I have never seen Golden Alexander before. It looks lovely next to that beautiful lupin. 😀

    • Donna says:

      It is a self seeder the Golden Alexander…but the pollinators love it and it is a sunny flower. Glad you enjoyed this new flower.

  18. catharinehoward says:

    Donna I absolutely love those collages. Do not apologise, I would love to know how to put them in my blog. You point out quite rightly that it is a galloping time of the year – I find a part of me is willing on the shorter days for the reading and writing side of like.

    • Donna says:

      Catharine I use an Apple app called Collage Creator as it is very easy, but you can also use Picasa. They are fun and a great way to cram in so much.

      Glad you enjoyed them!

  19. Amy Tong says:

    Your garden is absolutely beautiful and lovely. I can tell you put lots of time and love in it. Wish I have green thumbs like you do. Thank you so much for sharing the gorgeous pictures of your garden. 🙂 have a wonderful week ahead.

  20. Janet/Plantaliscious says:

    Good grief Donna, I am exhausted just reading about it all! I had to chuckle at your “weeds, weeds, weeds” comment as the same is true here, I do what I think is a thorough weed of a bed, turn my back for five minutes (well, OK, possibly a couple of weeks) and they come back and bring friends! For all that, you front garden is looking lush and lovely, you have an enviable number of edibles coming on, and you tackled the trees too. Amazing. Take a breath or three! And all at such an important milestone in your life. I like the tree stumps left at different heights, instant sculpture, and your alliums are glorious. I must have alliums in this garden. Good luck with the final push at work, hope the garden gives you joy and respite as well as weeds.

    • Donna says:

      You had me chuckling Janet especially with the weeds brining in friends. They certainly do here too. I adore alliums of every kind as you can see. The edibles are just coming on indeed and I am excited for that.

      I will try to remember to breathe.

  21. Recardo says:

    “Your garden is absolutely beautiful and lovely.” Definitely, I am trying and still believing that I myself has a green thumb too.

    • Donna says:

      You are too kind Recardo. Sometimes my thumb is not very green. I am so glad you visited the garden and hope you will visit again soon!

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