Gardens Eye Journal-January 2015

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All things seem possible in January…Visions of Wordsworthian fields of daffodils for spring and Gertrude-Jekyll-style borders for summer with colors that melt into perfect harmony-these can surely be mine.  ~Orene Horton

 

 

I am excited every January with the start of a New Year…new beginnings, reflections, plans both in life and my garden.  Lots of excitement in anticipation as to what the year will bring.  And if I learned anything from last year, it was embrace change as it happens constantly.  

One big change for me last year, that was due to health issues, was I could only observe my garden grow….seeing what was working, what was not….with little to no planting or changing the garden.  And since I didn’t start the observation until summer really, I still do not have a complete picture of the current state of my garden, but I have a pretty good idea of where changes are needed.

I plan to take a monthly in depth look at each section of my garden, tie it into other posts like Garden IMG_1186Bloggers Bloom Day and Stuck Foot posts to keep a more detailed journal of each garden in each season.

I am very excited to finally planning and making some changes desperately needed in my garden.  But I am also realistic that it cannot all happen in one year.  So patience is called for yet again.  I am willing to wait so I have good plans from which to move forward.  

For these monthly look backs, I am joining Helen@The Patient Gardener’s Weblog for her End of Month View.  As I use loads of collages for these posts, I am also linking in with Judith@Lavender Cottage who hosts Mosaic Monday.  

During winter, I have a few changes I am making to these journal posts.  I am suspending a few garden areas I usually show, pond and meadow, as they are covered in snow now.  Instead I thought I would add what’s growing inside as well as a some recipes I am trying using veggies I have grown or plan to grow.

 

 

 

Weather

DSCN7794 As I look back, December’s weather was like a roller coaster with either winter’s cold days giving us a foot of snow or early spring-like days with cool temps and lots of rain making a flooded sodden mess all around my garden.

Of course we had a seasonal change in December, but ours was a bit backward with winter coming at the beginning of December and spring at the end.

And we had 50 degree temps for Christmas. I am not complaining since it was wonderful to smell spring in my garden in December.  And we will have loads more snow I am sure this winter.  

This beautiful sky was such a treat as we have seen more gray than color in December.  I love to see the Sky Painting.

 

 

 

Garden Views

At the end of the year, Cathy@Words and Herbs with a few other bloggers, did a retrospective of their gardens throughout the seasons.  I had decided to look at my garden beds, but a bit differently.

I will choose one area or bed each month to highlight through all four seasons.  I am looking at beds that need more changes than a few plants moved.  Instead they have multiple or major issues that need to be addressed.  
bog garden

One such bed that has plagued me is the back left corner or what I refer to as, The Bog Garden….at least it is called that because I created the bog.  You can’t miss it because it is usually under water 6 months of the year.  Here it is after the recent snow and then thaw in later December.

Each season shown below presents its own issues as you will see.  On the 21st of this month I will also have a Stuck Foot post about this area that will go into a bit more detail, and explain how I made this Bog Garden unintentionally.

 

 

bog garden winter

In winter, the Bog Garden usually stays nestled beneath a layer of snow which makes for some pretty winter scenes.  In the top left picture you can see deer winding their way through the left corner.  This is because of the very wet sinking conditions or sheet of ice under the snow from prior flooding.  Even the deer know there is a problem to steer clear of.

 

 

 

bog garden thawsAs the garden thaws, this is usually the last spot to thaw.  And once it does, it stays wet through most of spring.  Many plants have been lost in this mess.  

Can you see the round planter in the bottom picture?  You can see it in bloom at the beginning of the post.  This repurposed fountain does not bloom anymore even back in this garden area.  So I pulled it out of this garden, and planted it with asparagus for the veg garden.

 

 

 

bog garden early spring

Early spring brings rain and additional flooding keeping this area a sinking mess (because if you walk back there, you will sink) until about May.  In the bottom 2 pictures you can just make out the horseshoe-shaped rain garden we dug out to help with the flooding.  It fills quickly and spreads out into the area so it has not really helped take care of the problem.

There are some daffodils back there that like the wet conditions, and they bloom every year, but not much else in early spring.  

 

 

 

bog garden late springIn late spring, the area fills in quickly with native and non-native plants.  There are irises, some ferns, hosta and lots of weeds growing.  The rain garden dries out about now too so I can finally do some work in this garden.

 

 

 

bog garden-summerSummer brings daylilies if they aren’t buried by rudbeckias, Joe Pye, swamp milkweed.  It has become a jungle where a cranberry viburnum, a swamp rose and some hydrangeas are swallowed up.  There is even a bald cypress tree or Taxodium distichum needing to be rescued.  

 

 

 

bog garden early fall

Late summer/early fall brings even more color as the Joe Pye bloom with the taller rudbeckias.  The critters love this area, and it is where our baby bunny Beatrix was living.  Frogs frequent the rain garden and birds nest, raise young, take shelter and feed off seedheads back here.  Not to mention the butterflies flock to the Joe Pye.  I don’t want to lose some of the critter benefits that we have created in this garden when we make changes.

 

 

 

bog garden fallAs fall progresses, the area begins to fade except for the asters that bloom here.  And with cooler temps and more rain in fall, the floods return.  The picture on the left is looking at this area from the other side of the fence.  From above the Bog Garden is always found in the back left corner or to the left of the pergola.

So that is the Bog Garden in all seasons.  What do I plan to do?  Well I have an idea.  And in my Stuck Foot post coming up on the 21st, I will let you in on how the problem started, how I made it worse and how I plan to work with the land to make it better.

 

 

 

Indoor Gardening

DSCN8234This is one of the 4 Hippeastrum bulbs I have growing.  I bought this one with the American Meadows gift certificate I won.  It is supposed to be pink, called ‘Sweet Star’, and I will be happy to display it in a vase soon as it is growing quickly.  The others are just beginning to sprout new growth.

The first picture at the top of this post is of my Christmas cactus or Schlumbergera bridgesii, which bloomed exactly on Christmas this year.  This plant was given to me by my MIL at least 20 years ago.  She had it for at least 10 if not 20 years herself.  It has had a hard time this past year losing more than half the plant, but I am hopeful I can get it to grow again in all its glory. 

 

 

 

Tree Following

tree-logoThrough winter, I will continue to give you a glimpse of the silver maple I have been following here this past year in my End of The Month journal posts.  Come spring, I will start to follow a new tree.

I am linking in with Lucy@Loose and Leafy’s Tree Following meme that happens around the 7th of every month.

 

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It’s bark is tattered, peeling, full of lichen and full of life, much like me some days. 

 

 

 

Critters

critter dec 14

Some special birds have graced the garden especially with the lack of snow in the second half of December.  The male cardinal (center) was having fun eating up all the scraps under the suet feeder.  And the red-bellied woodpecker (bottom right) made a reappearance finding lots to eat in our carpenter ant infested white ash tree.

We spotted this immature cooper’s hawk (top left) in our garden and hanging about the meadow.  And of course our young fox, Hunter, continues to hunt around the area.

 

 

 

Recipe of the Month

This month I have 2 recipes to share.

 

warm bean-tom salad

The first one is a Warm Green Bean Tomato Salad, we made for Christmas dinner.  This came from Donalyn’s blog, The Creekside Cook.  I love her recipes.  It tastes best after it has marinated for at least a day or more.  I know we plan to make this again, and especially during summer when onions, green beans and tomatoes are being harvested in our garden.

 

 

 

spicy swt pot soup

The second recipe is, Spicy Sweet Potato Soup With Chicken from the Organic Gardening website.  Lots of great recipes there too.  We used white sweet potatoes, and it can be adapted to be Vegan without the chicken.  I really love the ginger and curry spices, in the soup, for a nice flavor to keep one warm in winter.  We don’t grow sweet potatoes, but the carrots and spinach in the recipe we do grow every year.  This will be a recipe I will make again.

 

 

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In A Vase On Monday 

 

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 It is time for another vase, and what a surprise I had.  The forsythia branch I cut around the middle of December, and brought inside, has bloomed.

 

 

 

forsythia collage

I wasn’t sure what I could add to the vase, but I found some  Common Tansy or Tanacetum vulgare still green in the garden.  And I kept the willow branches, I cut with the forsythia, in hopes they might also bloom eventually.  Another simple but colorful vase.

I am joining in with a few memes this week as I prepare a couple of vases:  Cathy@Rambling in the Garden for her wonderful meme, In a Vase on Monday; and Today’s Flowers hosted by Denise@An English Girl Rambles.

 

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Next up on the blog:  

Next Monday, I will be profiling another flower I grow from seed each year.

I am linking in with Michelle for her Nature Notes meme at her new blog just for Nature Notes.  It is a great way to see what is happening in nature around the world every Tuesday. 

 

sharethelove

I am also joining in I Heart Macro with Laura@Shine The Divine that happens every Saturday.

All original content is copyrighted and the sole property of Donna Donabella @ Gardens Eye View, 2010-2015.  Any reprints or use of content or photos is by permission only.

 

 

 

100 comments

  1. Christina says:

    What a lot you cover in your posts, Donna! I can’t help but feel a little envious of your boggy area; even though it is bound to be lacking in plants in winter you have so much choice of what you could plant there. Your snowy pictures make me feel cold but they are also beautiful. Well done in creating a vase for Cathy’s meme, The yellow flowers shout ‘it’s spring’ even if we will have to wait a bit longer in reality.

    • Donna says:

      Glad you like the bog Christina…I do love the bog myself but I did make it worse and have some ideas how to improve drainage although it will always be wet. A bit of redirection and moving of plants and I think we can make it even nicer for the wildlife.

      I was really excited to see the forsythia bloom. I think the vase meme has broadened my indoor gardening this year and given me loads of ideas of what to leave up in winter, what to force indoors and other plants to pot and grow indoors for winter bloom. Since I am home now so much more, it will improve our living space. And I thank you, Cathy and others who I watched make such gorgeous vases for inspiring me.

  2. Karin/Southern Meadows says:

    Donna, what an exciting year you have ahead of you! I was very absent from blogging this past year but I am back and looking forward to sharing in your gardening journey again. Happy New Year!

  3. DeniseinVA says:

    I can feel your enjoyment at the thought of another growing season Donna. Thank you for not only linking with Today’s Flowers but also for the other links which I shall enjoy visiting, for the yummy recipes also. Great post as always 🙂

  4. Sara D.B. says:

    A lovely, lovely post, Donna!
    The Indoor Gardening and Recipe of the Month are a great novelty!
    Your photos of the delicious salad and soup and the yellow flowers are exactly what one needs on a really cold January day!
    Have a lovely week!

    • Donna says:

      So glad you enjoyed the new features Sara. I hope the amaryllis will make it into next Monday’s vase. We make soup all year and I love finding new recipes or tweaking them. Happy to have given you a bit of a warm up…very cold and snowy here today!

  5. Tina says:

    It’s a valuable process, this business of viewing the garden through the seasons, taking into account nature and gardener related issues. I like what you said at the beginning: that patience is a requirement-how true that is, especially with gardening.

    • Donna says:

      I don’t think I would have come up with the ideas and solutions for garden areas if I hadn’t taken the time this past year Tina. I have a tendency to want to fill in space in the garden without a plan, but that has changed and I am now carefully planning my gardens.

  6. Eileen says:

    We have had a mild December and mostly snow free..Looks like your yard and garden is covered in a blanket of snow.. I like the idea of a bog garden, I am sure the wildlife would enjoy it too. I am already for spring and to see how your gardens will look… Happy New Year to you and your family..

    • Donna says:

      Wildlife definitely loves the bog garden Eileen…we lost our cover the other day, and then we got snow and ice, then 50 degree temps and no snow and now we are being hit with lake effect snow….I think the roller coaster winter will continue. Glad you enjoyed the post. Happy New Year and enjoy that retirement!

  7. Susie says:

    Such an interesting and thoughtful post Donna. You seem full of ideas for what to do next in your garden spaces, something that I struggle with constantly. The forsythia branch makes a cheerful vase for this time of year. Winter is coming our way this week, due to be very cold after 66F yesterday. Susie

    • Donna says:

      Thanks Susie…I have loads of ideas but may need to hire a bit of help to get some of it done as my back and knees may not be up to all the digging. I was so happy to see the forsythia bloom, and there is an amaryllis right behind it that should open in time for next week’s vase. Enjoy the warm weather whenever you can get it. Winter has returned here this week.

  8. Kris P says:

    It’s certainly exciting to face a new year in the garden, especially when you’ve been on a hiatus. Pace yourself! I admit that I overdid it this fall in my front garden and still have aches and pains to prove it. Your bog garden looks like a challenge but it’s beauty in summer can’t be denied. I love the beautiful yellow forsythia and wish I could grow it here – I’m sure it adds cheer in the house when it’s still so cold outside!

    • Donna says:

      I will have no choice Kris but to pace myself as my body will speak loudly as it does now….it was great to see the forsythia bloom in all this winter snow….glad you enjoyed it too!

  9. Cathy says:

    It’s intriguing to read about the different conditions people face in their gardens and how they deal with them, so thanks for sharing – as always I love the collages you use. I also love your twiggy vase and am thrilled for you about your forsythia flowering – it’s easy to forget when flowers abound just how artistic a basic ‘twig’ is, and today you have flowers on your basic twig! Lovely 🙂 Thanks as always for your enthusiasm about the meme too

    • Donna says:

      I really do love to see what happens in other gardens too….I have many ideas up my sleeve Cathy so I think I will make it until my garden produces new blooms outside….it is keeping my winter a bit brighter and loads more fun so thanks for the meme and the push to keep going.

  10. bj says:

    I love your mosaics…what editing program do you use to get these pretty designs?
    Hope your new year is full of happiness…

  11. Island Threads says:

    Donna I will be interested to see what you do with your bog garden partly as my garden has become a bog garden in 2014, you have so many lovely bog plants in the USA I have tried joe pye weed several times but it dies off I do not think our summers up here are warm/hot enough for it, nice to see you growing inside when it is too cold outside, lovely snow photos, Frances

    • Donna says:

      I will be happy to share Frances. I would expect some plants might need colder winters. When I look at plants, I’ll let you know the hardiness zone as some will grow in warmer climates too. Snowing hard today and will get at least a foot of snow.

  12. Judith@Lavender Cottage says:

    The anticipation as we wait for spring…
    Our yard is covered with snow again too!
    Thanks for linking to Mosaic Monday Donna.

  13. Julie says:

    Donna, I want to be as organised as you are, you have lots of ideas and plans. I’ve enjoyed your post today and have been inspired to get things down on paper properly rather than endless backs of envelopes with random thoughts. I am a little envious of your snow, that really must make you rest and take stock.

    • Donna says:

      The snow does let me rest and especially today as we have had 18 inches in 5 hours. Glad you enjoyed the post. It has taken me a while to be more organized, Julie. I think being retired has helped give me the time needed.

  14. Cathy says:

    Although I have no damp areas in my garden it will be interesting to see how your bog garden will change/be changed this year Donna. It sounds as if you have some idea of what you are aiming for. I am not very good at envisioning things in advance, so I do envy you that! Good luck with the planning. And your vase is lovely! Isn’t it nice to see Forsythia yellow in the middle of winter! Have a lovely week Donna!

    • Donna says:

      It was amazing to see the forsythia Cathy and thank you for the idea…it has taken a long time for me to envision what needs to be done but following the natural lay of the land and nature have helped.

  15. Carver says:

    Great post. I love the shots of the flowers and summer garden and then the snow and birds. I enjoyed all the shots and also the narrative.

  16. Donna says:

    It was fortuitous that you had time to assess and plan. Not many have that opportunity as homeowners. Unfortunately, your time was cast upon you, but I see how excited you are looking forward to making your dreams a reality. Low spaces on a property are often looked at as a detriment. I am glad you are looking at it as an opportunity.

    • Donna says:

      Fortuitous indeed Donna as I have not had time in the past…Many of my neighbors look at their low spaces as a problem….I am excited to make this a special spot.

  17. susan troccolo says:

    What a lovely and full post Donna. Retirement has given you many hours to be part of so many memes! I absolutely love the photograph of your male Cardinal. What a beauty. And I can see what you mean by your garden transforming itself a bit as you let it go to its natural state. I was just spending some time on Margaret Roach’s site (which is AMAZING), she does talks on NPR all the time about leaving natural spaces for the wild critters, and it reminded me of what you are doing with parts of your garden. It can be hard to “let some parts go” and yet when you see how many critters and insects come, it’s all worth it. Beautiful beautiful post.

    • Donna says:

      Thanks Susie. I read Margaret’s blog and yes she does advocate the wild areas…I love our meadow for that reason as the wildlife do live and feed there. And I hope to leave lots of wildness in the bog, but get a bit more control on the water and drainage.

  18. Kathy Sturr of the Violet Fern says:

    Love the Forsythia – I wish it was native! Each winter a Coopers and a Sharp-shinned Hawk visits my bird feeders. This year I am not there to see it although the Cooper’s showed up early and we did see eye to eye before I migrated. I miss the garden and the birds. I’m sure their dance continues without me. I am ready for Spring and to begin gardening again!

    • Donna says:

      I bet you are ready with that nice weather down there. I bet your birds are making due. The forsythia is the last one I have. I removed others as they hardly ever bloomed, but this is a compact one that blooms profusely and fits into the front garden. One of the few non-native shrubs I still have.

  19. Catherine says:

    I really like the bog area and how you showed it throughout the year! I just heard someone talking about cutting branches for forcing now. Just seeing that your forsythia has bloomed, even inside, gets me more anxious for spring!

    • Donna says:

      Catherine what a pleasure…I was so glad to see your latest post. And I am happy to see you enjoyed the post on my bog garden.

  20. Rebecca's Bird Gardens says:

    Great post highlighting the winter garden…
    My Missouri temps have been similar – ups and downs – but it looks like we’re in for a long cold spell now. I’m headed over to check out the tree meme now! Have a good week!

  21. Pat @ Mille Fiori Favoriti says:

    Hi Donna!
    You have a wonderful, large garden! I can sympathize with with the bog area in your garden, however, as we had the same experience with our yard this summer. Colorado had been in a four year drought when we moved here, so our first summer in 2013 was very dry, but last summer we had rain almost every afternoon, and our yard was a soggy mess. we live at the bottom of a steep hill so all the rain runs down and settles on the flat portion of our yard. A landscaper suggested putting in a few french draisn –we already have one. I’m not sure what to do and will wait to see what this summer brings. We can’t much as we also have frequent deer visitors, and they eat everything.
    Your recipes look good–I love to make green beans with tomatoes and onions, and I’ll try that sweet potato soup.
    Have a wonderful week!

    • Donna says:

      Interesting Pat. Our bog area is dense clay or was and with changes we made, we created a big mess. We actually filled in the natural ditch that would drain it. And we generally get lots of snow and rain so we know we will have lots of standing water in the spring and fall so it needs drainage. The area was a swamp and wet woodland area. It shouldn’t be a hard fix we figure. And we are lucky that we rarely have a drought given our snowfall average of 100 inches a year. Hope you enjoy the soup.

  22. Nadezda says:

    Love your vase with forsythia, Donna! I thought I should cut some branches of mine and take them home as you did!
    The weather is very capricious lady, we had rainy and quite warm December and my garden looked like yours in spring. Now water has frozen and the plants are under the snow.
    The photos of blooming garden are very pretty.

    • Donna says:

      We are buried again with snow and frigid below 0 temps….so the forsythia is a delight. Hope you get some blooms from yours soon.

  23. Annette says:

    I shall still have to wait a while for my Wordsworthian fields of daffodils but looking at the pics of your garden I’m hopefull that ours will soon spring back into life. Having said that it’s so mild here that it continues to be green and full of life. How big is your garden? You seem to have so many varied features. Love your critters and the vase is delightful.

    • Donna says:

      It has been snowy and cold again here so no daffs for a while Annette. We approximate the gardens inside the fence to be 50 feet by 60 feet. Then there are gardens around the perimeter of the house and then the meadow behind the fence which is about 50 feet by 40 feet. And yes lots of features I hope to define better. Glad you enjoyed the post.

  24. catmint says:

    I was taken by your quote about all things seeming possible in January. I feel the opposite – at the start of a long hot summer, it’s hard to be optimistic waiting to find out how the garden will cope. Your vase is beautiful and thank you for the two recipes – both simple and wholesome just the sort of food I love. (I have to translate the ounces and pounds to kilos though).

    • Donna says:

      Sue I often think gardeners and writers forget about the southern hemisphere…well you can change the quote to equate to your winter perhaps. You know it is sad the U.S. could not embrace metrics…and our education gives us precious little time to even study metrics or I would make the translation. But knowing me, i wouldn’t want to attempt it and make a mistake. Although with the both recipes you don’t have to be so strict with the measurements. Hope you like them.

  25. Chloris says:

    A lovely post Donna. January is indeed the time for dreaming and making plans. I am intrigued to see what you will do with your bog garden.
    . A lovely arrangement. I have a big vase of Forsythia in bloom at the moment. It is lovely to have it in January. I do it with Flowering Currant too. Some people hate the smell but I quite like it, it reminds me of my childhood. Like Proust’ s Madelaine.

  26. Beth says:

    Hi Donna, So interesting to read about your bog garden and I am anxious to hear the rest of the story. Kudos on your forsythia! I never had good luck with them; they didn’t even bloom well outside. Oh well….I have other flowering shrubs now and am anxiously planning purchases for the coming garden season.
    Blessings, Beth

    • Donna says:

      This is the only forsythia that has ever bloomed for me Beth…I am looking forward to your new garden and the bushes you are buying. Seems we both have some exciting gardening ahead.

  27. Curbstone Valley Farm says:

    I’ve been out of the loop a lot the last year, as we let our gardens go with the drought. What a wonderful post to catch up with though! I’ve never gardened in a bog per se, although we did have one garden with persistent wet clay soil in one area, and I can appreciate some of the challenges that come with very wet ground.

    I love the idea of focusing on a particular area of the garden, and following it through the seasons. We have so many areas here, due to our terrain, that have different growing conditions, sometimes I feel a bit overwhelmed even thinking of writing about them. Maybe as I ease back into blogging this season, I should follow your lead, and perhaps stress a few areas that are presenting some challenges, and see how it evolves over the seasons. So fun to catch up, Donna. Happy New Year!

    • Donna says:

      Welcome back Clare! I was sorry to hear about the drought and so much lost. I am so glad you enjoyed the post and how I am focusing on an area of the garden. It has helped me look back to see what is there, what is needed, what changes are in order. I can imagine you have so many varied areas. Even in our suburban garden I range from wet, to dry sunny conditions, wet shade, dry shade, veggies, pond, meadow….but I love the challenges in each area.

      I am looking forward to reading more about your garden , bees and goats. Happy New Year Clare!

  28. Kimberley at Cosmos and Cleome says:

    Lovely post, Donna. Patience is indeed key when gardening! Right now I am *patiently* waiting on my amaryllis bulbs to show some life!

    December really was a roller coaster. I stepped outside on Christmas morning to refill the bird feeders, and it felt more like Easter than Christmas. We hit 59 that day here near Scranton, PA. I’m glad I put a heavy layer of leaves over my newest and most tender plants. (Now today we currently have -4.)

    I’m an early riser and we have a beautiful eastern view at our house, so I’ve been enjoying the colors at sunrise lately. Even on gray days, there’s often color to be seen.

    I usually cut forsythia in late February for forcing around Easter. I did not know it would work to do it in the late fall. I think I’ll brave the chill later today and bring a few branches into the house.

    Well, cozy up with your garden dreams and plans, and keep warm! –Kimberley

    • Donna says:

      Patiently waiting for some of my amaryllis here too Kimberley. So glad you enjoyed the post…I too rise early to watch the day begin. Everyday is a new wonder outside my window as I face east as well. -20 windchills here today so we are staying cozy inside in front of the fire sipping tea….stay warm down there! And enjoy the forsythia.

  29. Beth says:

    Hi Donna, This is such a great time to be evaluating our gardens and what we want to do in them. Just looking at photos from throughout the year and spending time thinking about the various areas, at a time when we can’t do anything about it yet, allows us to consider problems from many angles, and consider many ideas and discard them. I wish you much luck in figuring out what you want to do with this area of your gardens. Thanks for such a thoughtful post! -Beth

    • Donna says:

      I couldn’t agree more Beth and I have a pretty good idea what some of the solutions will be. We shall see if they work. I’ll be posting solution later this month.

  30. debsgarden says:

    Hi Donna, I was interested to see your bog garden through the seasons! I have always wanted a bog garden; there is nothing evenly slightly leaning itself toward bogginess on my property, but I want to grow pitcher plants! I look forward to seeing what you have planned for your bog garden!

    And thank you, Donna, for your very kind comment on my last post. If you are ever in Alabama, I would love to give you a tour of my garden. (Except in August; No one wants to tour any garden here in August!)

    • Donna says:

      I love pitcher plants too and perhaps they might be a good addition to my bog. I have so many ideas, I can’t wait to get a plan down soon with details. I do hope to visit other gardeners, and you are top on my list Deb…I’ll keep spring in mind for Alabama. One of these days.

  31. Helene says:

    Ah, so many decisions to take as a gardener, isn’t it? But so lovely to have such a nice place to play! I intend to do a lot of changes in my own garden this year, only restriction is my health – and possibly my bank account …..but I try to propagate and I re-use where I can.
    I look forward to seeing all the changes in your garden and follow the process.
    Happy gardening 2015!

    • Donna says:

      I can’t wait to hear about your plans more Helene…and you do inspire me to propagate…I will be dividing and re-using as well…here’s to a great garden season in 2015!

  32. Hannah says:

    I’m wishing you a happy and healthy New Year, Donna, you have a lot of challenges but at least you have nice weeds, I still haven’t gotten Joy Pye weed to grow in my garden, though I started some relatives that may return OK this year. It will be interesting to see what you do with your bog garden!

    • Donna says:

      Thanks so much Hannah…I hope Joe’s relatives will grow for you. I should have more plans for the bog garden soon and I will definitely post about them. Happy New Year!

  33. Indie says:

    At every house I’ve lived in, we’ve had water issues of some kind. Drainage just seems to always be an issue! Last year we dug a trench and put in a French drain in the back yard; we also really need to put one in the front. Your bog garden looks beautiful in late summer, though. What a great place for all the critters!

    • Donna says:

      I agree Indie. When houses are built the landscaping done many times creates water problems….the best time is the late summer in the bog, but we are working on changing all that…I hope so we can have more blooms for the critters in spring too!

  34. Jennifer@threedogsinagarden says:

    There is so much ground covered in your post Donna I am not sure where to begin to comment- perhaps with wishes for a Happy New Year Donna! I hope you can sort out the issues with the boggy area of your garden. It will be interesting to see what you choose to do. I have been meaning to bring some branches indoors and an encouraged to finally get the job done after seeing your forsythia branches. I am unfamiliar with Hippeastrum bulbs and will curious to see the flower. Your recipe veggie dish and soup look delicious.

  35. Donna says:

    Happy New Year Jennifer. I will have a follow up on the plans for the Bog Garden in a couple of weeks. I need to cut a few branches for more forcing as well. Enjoy those forsythias. The Hippeastrum are what we commonly refer to as amaryllis. I thought I had included this, but apparently had left that key info out…thanks for asking.

  36. Angie says:

    I am really looking forward to seeing what you manage to achieve this year Donna. Especially the changes/improvements you have planned.
    I love your bog area, what a wonderful array of critters you attract. I am sure you will look after each and every one of them when you consider what changes you will make.
    As usual a jam packed enjoyable post.

    • Donna says:

      So glad you enjoyed this jam packed post Angie. In about 10 days, I will have more on the Bog Garden and the general plans we have for the area.

  37. nicole says:

    Where do I even start Donna! So many views and perspectives to take in! So very beautiful in every season and state!!! And your recipes look amazing! As do your indoor bulbs! I look forward to your posts this spring as I can tell you have many exciting things to share!! Have a lovely week ahead friend! Nicole xoxoxo

    • Donna says:

      Oh thanks Nicole…I am looking forward to enjoying my rest this winter with creating some yummy soups, some interesting vases and some helpful garden designs….these will help me be ready for spring which will be here before we know it…Have a lovely week my friend….

  38. Cathy Thompson says:

    Just catching up with other people’s blogs after Christmas. A lovely post Donna! I do love the way you use mosaics – but more especially it’s really nice to see a set of pictures of the same gardening area throughout the seasons (and that picture of the cardinal – gorgeous!). The bog garden looks really interesting and worthwhile just as it is, but I’ll look forward to your next post when you let us all know what the twinkle in your eye is!

    • Donna says:

      I think it will always be a bit of a bog back there Cathy, but we are going to try and direct the water the way it naturally wants to go and then save a few plants….I’ll have a bit more detail on the 21st and plans by April. It just makes sense to work with nature I have found. Glad you enjoyed the post!

    • Donna says:

      I agree there is much potential. I did have lobelia there but it was swallowed up by Joe Pye. Chelone is another wonderful plant to consider once I draw up the redesign the fun begins with the flowers to add…thanks for the suggestions.

  39. Janet/Plantaliscious says:

    Hi Donna, I am so looking forward to reading about your progress in your garden this year. I am glad to see you are telling yourself that it will take time though! Your boggy area does present some interesting challenges, it looks so lushly beautiful in late summer, but it must be dispiriting when it is in its muddy stage. And hurrah for the forsythia, such a cheerful contribution to the house at a time of year when it can feel a little bleak.

    • Donna says:

      Janet, it is going to be quite a challenge to have something that looks lovely, and is good for wildlife in between the daffs and until late summer. I have the plan, now to add the plants that can bloom in succession.

  40. Chris James says:

    I can’t wait for the warm weather to return and we are planning our gardens now. It’s a great time to read and get new ideas for the spring. What fantastic photos!

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