“Because a garden means constantly making choices, it offers almost limitless possibilities for surprise and satisfaction.”
–  Jane Garmey, The Writer in the Garden


I have to say that I have never thought of myself as distractible or Attention Deficit.  People tell me I am ADD, but I think maybe I am just a tad distracted.  I know that the sound of a fan coming on can bring me to a screeching halt as I try to concentrate or hold a conversation.  Sitting in a meeting and trying to focus on the words someone is speaking is torture some days, but that can be very normal for humans as most of us are more visual in our learning style.

But as a gardener, I think the idea that I am distractible has become more pronounced of late.  I will have a list of gardening chores that need to be finished for the day, and usually I will only get to a couple of the items.  Yes, I am slowing down due to my age and the aches and pains of prolonged, bending, pulling, digging and the like.  But I get far less done because I am not staying on task.  I will look around the garden and see many more chores that need to be done.  I start to ruminate on what I should do first, and how am I ever going to get it all done with so little time.  OK focus and start.  And as I begin the first task, I look up and see something else that needs tending or what is that orange flower over there.  I don’t remember planting that.  What bird is that making that sweet sound?  Now where are those pruners?  And that is a mildly distracting moment.  It can take all my energy to just stick with the first task and see it to completion.

So how can I ever expect to get anything accomplished when my mind wanders in daydreams, I think too much about the list that grows longer and I am distracted by everything that moves?  I literally can walk out of my house and wander the gardens for 2-3 hours and take hundreds of pictures without ever realizing the time has flown by.  I have found I am better when I have a “To Do” list, and I am even more successful if I prioritize the list.  So this spring/summer I am putting together the entire list of chores needing attention in the garden since I already know what they are (I stare at many of them daily).  Then I will be scheduling them with priorities for what must be done each weekend.  Yes it may border almost on obsessive, but unless I regiment myself I will never get a blessed thing done.

By the way, the messy garden pictured right is one of those many garden chores that distracts me every time I look at it.  The garden has been taken over by my latest nemesis, horsetail.  This is going to be a long summer.


It is Garden Blogger’s Bloom Day at May Dream Gardens and Friday it will be Fertilizer Friday at Tootsie Time.  Time to wander around and see the mid-May blooms that are distracting me in my spring garden.  While there are many native plants blooming I have decided to write about them next week, and instead concentrate on other blooms and gardens for this post.



The dwarf bearded irises are putting on a spectacular show in the front yard so I wanted to flaunt them today.  Suddenly Saturday they popped open as it drizzled outside.



The vegetable garden was a major priority this weekend.  I had started the early vegetables (radishes, arugula, lettuce, scallions, beets, spinach) under a row cover in mid April during the very cold and wet weather.  To my surprise the radishes were growing as if every seed had germinated (center picture) and many were ready for harvest in only a month.  I had planted Renee’s Garden Seeds, “Crimson Crunch” variety.  They were crunchy on the outside yet velvety smooth inside with just a hint of heat.  I expect to harvest more next weekend, and will plant more of another of Renee’s radish varieties by Memorial Day weekend.  There was a little lettuce, spinach and arugula to harvest although they need another weekend to get a bit bigger.  I readied the green tubs that will grow a few tomato varieties.  The new orange grow bags that I purchased from Gardener’s Supply will grow sweet potatoes.  I have no room to grow sweet potatoes in the garden so I am using these jumbo bags.  I hope to plant the peppers, tomatoes, eggplant, sweet potatoes and beans next weekend if the weather holds.  The forecast for cooler weather deterred me this weekend.  Some of these vegetables will be in the new small bed pictured above.  The bamboo-looking poles are actually the remnants of a very large grass that grows beside the pond.  When the plant dies back in winter it leaves the hardened stalks that are like bamboo.  I hope these stalks will hold up the tomatoes this year.  I am also using the stalks to guide the peas onto the the fence, and will shape a few into bean poles too.




Obviously, the garden is just bursting into bloom suddenly.  The Pulmonaria or lungwort (bottom right) which is one of many varieties I have, has been attracting hummingbirds into the garden.   I have never seen the hummers frequent this flower, but lungwort is a plant they like.  I am just happy to finally see these beloved birds.  Of course the hummingbird feeder sits idle.  I will empty it and just leave it up as a decoration.  The hummers will not use the feeder.  They are spoiled with the flowers they find in the garden, and who can blame them.

I absolutely love lily of the valley and yes those are pink ones.  They have at long last shown themselves and are multiplying between the trees.  I was literally dancing in my garden this weekend when I saw them…oh yeah!!  Along with the tulips are the lamium (bottom left), and the one lone allium blooming.  Many allium are ready to open and I fully expect to see a garden full with bearded iris in the next week or two.  That unusual flower bud just above the lamium is my tree peony.  It almost looks like a rose bud.  I was so excited to see the large buds again.  This will be the second year it is blooming.


The pond is looking great and the frogs are already putting on a show.  They are pretty laid back and don’t mind posing for pictures.  They certainly are enjoying the lily pads and other plants that are starting to grow.


But the biggest surprise this weekend was the return of the robin.  It has been two weeks since she lost her eggs, but she was back  primping the nest and adding a new layer of mud.  You can just see her through the leaves that are now protecting her nest.  Two weeks ago there were no leaves just some pussy willow flowers.

I spent hours watching her return again and again with mud as she reformed the nest with her body.  She was making ready for her second batch of eggs much like we redo the nursery when the second child is expected.  Just a fresh coat of paint and maybe new curtains.  No eggs yet, but we are watching closely for the egg laying ritual.  I really hope she will have success this time.



“We learn from our gardens to deal with the most urgent question of the time:  How much is enough?”

–  Wendell Berry


Special Note: Monthly around this time (usually the 10th) I guest blog at Walkabout Chronicles.  I hope you can join me for my most recent post and interview.

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


54 Replies to “Distraction”

  1. Donna, I find that as soon as I make the list I am relieved almost as if I have done the jobs. All the mental effort it takes to remember and re-remember things that need to be done but are not written down is wasted effort for me. I have a very special lily-of-the-valley with yellow striped leaves that I will share with you when you visit (now there’s an enticement). Never knew hummers went to pulmonaria. Carolyn

    1. Now that is enticement indeed. I definitely am looking for a time to visit. I think you are very near where my dad is laid to rest and close enough to relatives I should also visit so it will be a wonderful visit indeed. I had never seen the hummers visit the lunwort either but when I looked it up they indeed like it…it was a rare catch and I think they were expecting so many other flowers that have not bloomed yet. My trouble is actually using the exhaustive list I make, but I really have to this year.

  2. Glad you were not too distracted and did your post for GBBD. I like seeing what you got going only about three hours away. It seems to be just a bit ahead. It the rain ever stops this week an allium or two may pop open. Does it not always seem the rain comes in heavy when the prettiest and biggest flowers are open? I am buying a hummingbird feeder today because I cut back the trumpet vine really hard last year. Have they been visiting yet?

    1. Oh it took me longer than usual to write this one….the rain gardens are filling up again and I expect a few frogs to end up there for a while in their own private spa…hummers have been spotted at the catmint and the lungwort….they refuse to use my feeder

  3. I was wondering why you did not have a GBBD post when I dropped by earlier. It’s got to have something to do with distraction too? Talking about distraction, I think I got to be whole lot worse than you. Sometimes I follow little critters around and then discover another…and forgot what I set out to do… Btw, love your flowers and water feature.

    1. My distraction actually follows much like yours as I follow critter and blooms until I have no idea what I was actually supposed to do…wish I had the time to let the distractions just happen…glad you liked the post…I generally post Mondays so I link in to GBBD once the post is up…

    1. Tina this year they were just amazing and they grew in such a great tight bunch that you can’t help but notice them…

  4. I think I’m a bit ADD, too, but gardening is an area where it doesn’t seem to matter. (Except when I keep putting my pruning shears down and losing them). I drift from task to task, pulling a weed here, pruning a dead branch there, stopping to watch a catbird, deciding the birdbath needs refilling. It’s only a problem when there’s a major task that needs to be done …

    Such beautiful flowers. I adore lily of the valley – takes me back to childhood when I would bend low to inhale that marvelous scent. And I am so jealous of your waterfall and pond!

    1. I would sit as a child and just breath in the perfume of the lilies of the valley…I wish I had time these days to just drift about the garden…it is so helpful some days to just do that. I have to regiment myself to come home from work and spend a half hour to an hour working out there…it would help the stress…of course now it is raining and supposed to all week, but I love gardening in the rain as long as it is not a downpour or lightening. The pond was a must for my garden when I planned it. A wonderful friend had a wonderful friend who was a naturalist and he put it in. I just described what I wanted and he created it…couldn’t be more perfect. I actually sit and rest on the large rock on the other side of the waterfall and watch the frogs…it is proably my biggest distraction in the garden…

  5. Hi Donna, yes I have to say the mind wandering thing has been with me always. Mother would say, is that you away in a dwam again. Like Sheila, I reckon it is allowed in the garden. Fantastic Irises, especially the pale blue.

    1. The pale blue are so beautiful this year and I was so happy to capture their true color. I have been a daydreamer my whole life and in the garden it is fun to just dream away unless your time is limited. So I will be trying to increase my time in the garden and lessen other useless activities like the TV.

  6. Donna, I love your bearded irises, especially those deep mauve colors. I don’t have bearded irises in my garden, but there are many growing in gardens along my walk to work, and I have been enjoying them greatly in the past week.
    I was trying to decide how much of what you describe as “distraction,” I would describe as “taking time to live in the moment.” When I had a life-threatening illness more than a decade ago, I found that one of the gifts of the experience was attaining a delicate balance between planning for the future as though I would have one and living fully today as though I would not. I think gardening is about a similar kind of balance for me. Yes, I need to get the garden chores done and plan for changes in the garden; but I also want to make sure that I make some time every single day (even if it’s only a few minutes) to just enjoy being in the garden. (The difference here may be that I’m more an OCD type than an ADD type. Being disciplined isn’t the issue for me; letting go of the discipline and relaxing is. :-)) -Jean

    1. Jean, I too wrestle with balance in my life. I need to actually discipline myself to spend more quality time to just be in my garden…it is necessary for my health as well. I can obsessively plan for the garden chores and none will get done…if you are ever up my way, I would love to give you some bearded irises..actually they are fairly easy to ship and I have the dwarf ones and larger variety that need dividing as well as other iris…if you ever see any you want in my posts let me know and I will ship them to you 🙂

  7. With all of that going on in your garden, no wonder you feel distracted. Your irises are gorgeous. This is the first time I’ve planted Renee’s seeds (for a few of my veggies), and I’m very happy with how they are growing.

    1. Kelly, Renee is a first for me too and I am so happy with her seeds…glad you love the irises…they are a great May bloom…

    1. Christine this is year 3 for these dwarf bearded irises and they seem to love the cool wet spring we had…happy GBBD

  8. Distraction, I think, is a part of appreciating all the nature and beauty around us, something us gardeners do, and us bloggers make time to capture. I have made lists, but I get distracted from looking at the list! haha Good luck with your system. I agree it’s a big frustrating to get behind on the garden chores. I’m glad your robin is back!

    1. Thx Holley for your refreshing perspective…I am realizing I might just need a bit more time in the garden to do exactly as you say, “appreciate the beauty around us and capture it”. I am beyond joyful to see the robin…it is my biggest distraction at the moment

  9. My grandmother always used to call distractedness at this time of year “spring fever,” and she recommended…I don’t remember for sure…sassafras tea, I think, or some other folk remedy “to thin the blood.” All to say, you’ve had a rough winter out there–maybe, despite the chores that need done, you’ve earned the enjoyment of a little spring fever.

    1. Stacy, of course that is exactly what is going on….I am in that spring fever fog…with the late onset of spring it is even worse this year…I may need a bit of that sassafras tea…..and you are right I need to enjoy the bliss of spring fever….going to make it a priority!! Thx 🙂

  10. Dear Donna,
    a really interesting post!
    I love your pictures, but the Irises are fantastic!
    Thanks for your participation at german GBBD!
    Wish you a wonderfull week!

    1. Gesine, I was happy to find your blog and the German GBBD. Being a bit German on my father’s side of the family I love to explore German blogs. I am so happy you loved the irises….I wish you a wonderful week too!! Donna

  11. Oh how I so relate! my garden is just one big distraction, I can have a task at hand, even a list to keep me on track. But no, do I get it done, oh look over there, some birds have come to visit or there is something new sprouting its head out of the ground. Always something else, other than what I should be doing…lol! Sorry Hydrangeas i will finish dead-heading you soon i promise =)

    1. Julia it is so much fun talking to another “distracted gardener”. We try but it is what it is…someday it might all get done..oh well!!

  12. Donna – I always have an old envelope with “important” notes scrawled all over it to keep me on track. Once I lost the envelope, I couldn’t find it anywhere, and could only remember a few of the notes. It was liberating in a way, because nothing disasterous happened. I did have to pay a library fine though!
    Love your irises and the primped robin’s nest.

    1. I know most of the stress I create with this is me because I keep seeing what isn’t getting done….I need to just breathe, be and do what needs to be done if I can…glad you liked the post…

  13. Donna,
    Those are great distractions! That’s what the garden is all about – discovering something unexpected.

  14. Eek, sorry about the horsetail Donna. Lovely irises, and your veg patch is looking great. Like the way you are using old plant stalks as supports.

    Re distraction, I now write myself a list every time I go up to the allotment, or I find I just stand in the middle of it all looking about me paralysed by the endless number of things I could/should be doing. On a good day I stick to the list and give myself some time to chat or just sit on the bench and breathe. I wish there were more good days…

    1. Well Janet I will keep at my list too…the veg garden is wonderful and I am so glad you enjoyed the pictures..that horsetail though is just awful…I will find a way to at least beat it half way, I hope…

  15. Is it possible to garden without distraction? That’s what I want to know, hahaha! Maybe it’s just spring and everything seems new all over again, but I find it impossible not to fall into a different state of mind that often leads me away from the task at hand…but sometimes with the bonus of seeing the female cardinal or discovering the lily of the valleys bloomed. I think the list sounds like a great way to hold yourself somewhat accountable and make sure things get done!

    As always, your photos are stunning. So much in bloom for you right now! I’m envious of your pond and curious to know how those grow bags work out for you!

    It’s so thrilling that the Robin has returned to your garden to try again! What a nice treat. I’m crossing my fingers for her – keep us posted!

    1. Aimee I think it is spring and just part of gardening….it is a kind of like mental health help perhaps to be distracted in and by the garden…I will let you know how the bags work out….the robin has begun to lay her eggs again so by TH or Fri she should be back on the nest..we hope in 2 weeks to see little ones…

  16. I, too, am lost without a list, but there is something to be said for just wandering aimlessly in the garden–savoring and noticing.

    Those irises are stunning, and those radishes are making me hungry. And I would never have known that part of the garden was a mess. It looked nice from the photo…with a bright green ground cover.

    1. The horsetail can look like a nice green ground cover but it is a menace at times…glad you liked the pics…we do have to have time to wander our gardens don’t we…

  17. Well, you’re surely not alone in wandering around for 2-3 hours and taking hundreds of pictures. I walk out there with the best of intentions and like you, manage to tick one or two things off my list and then find myself wondering where the heck the day went! But we’ve got some beautiful photos, right?!!

    1. Cat we sure do have some great photos…I think that is the best way to stay distracted with a camera….ah well I can think of worse things like my horsetail weed…oh and the momma robin has begun to lay eggs again… 🙂

    1. Dona I always enjoy your visits no matter how long or short they are…we all seem to be busy as bloggers so I am glad you could stop by…happy to have you and am glad you loved the irises!!

  18. ofcourse the other distraction is reading garden blogs 🙂
    I love your flower photos especially the Iris and oh so blue Pulmonaria, you have been busy with your salad and veggies harvesting already, I would imagine after all those months being snow bound and then a late spring start would make anyone want to just wander and take time to soak up the explosion of spring, the most satisfying thing about lists is crossing off the ‘done’ jobs, I too have horsetail and this week I found some in my little front garden, d*m not seen it there before, I’m so pleased mama robin is back what a wonderful lift for the heart and eggs too, don’t work too hard, enjoy, Frances

    1. Absolutely garden blogs are a huge distraction and one I cannot keep up with this time of year…glad you liked the flowers….it is satisfying Frances to cross of those jobs…horsetail is spreading fast due to the wet conditions I think…moving all over and I hate it…momma robin has laid 2 eggs and is sitting on the nest…could be all she has for now and this will be her batch…we are overjoyed to say the least!!

  19. Lovely colors and forms to your Iris Donna. You have so much going on! It is easy to get distracted. I think lists do help. I love your pink Lily of the valley . . . I have it too and could easily understand dancing for joy over it. Your veggie garden is looking yummy too. Hopefully you do not have rabbits!! Thank you for all your kind words. Carol

    1. Oh Carol do we have rabbits. I net all the veggie gardens and this year will have to net the pots that will have some veggies growing in them…I ran out of room so we are now in posts…it works. What a wonderful honor to be writing with Carol and friends and they couldn’t have chosen a better person. Glad you liked the post….

  20. I must have garden ADD too! I never get everything accomplished! But I am satisfied if I can just get the first couple of items at the top of my list checked off. Sometimes I make a written list, but most of the time it’s in my head, real nonetheless.

    Your garden is wonderful and looks like the gardener is very disciplined, not distractible at all. I’m glad the robin is going to try again!

    1. Deb thx for thinking I am disciplined…I really don’t want to be but with all the gardens and projects I have become more so…the robin is up to 3 eggs and she is staying on the nest this time as she lays them daily…she is protective but accepting of us being so close by…she is well protected this time since the tree has leafed out..

  21. I’ll chime in on the irises…gorgeous! I wish mine would bloom! As far as getting distracted goes, I think you’re dealing with it in the right way…and you’re certainly in good company with that trait…I think most of us fall into that distracted category, especially when in a setting where so much passion exists, like your garden.

    1. I have lots of bearded and Siberian irises just about to bloom…with the warmer weather they will take off as will yours I am sure…I certainly have enjoyed the comments on this one since it has taught me it is OK to be distracted and enjoy life…stick with the list but don’t get too crazy with it…your post certainly helped and resonated with me too…

  22. Oh I have that same ADD issue myself, especially lately. What are we to do? We put a lot of pressure on ourselves to get everything done. We have to be careful to not let that take away from the moment. I would say that wandering around your garden for hours enjoying its beauty and taking lots of pictures is exactly why you have a garden in the first place… 🙂

    1. Yes we do put that pressure on ourselves don’t we. If I have learned anything from this post it is to stop and wander my garden with the camera and not worry…your comment is right on the money. It is exactly why I have the garden. Thx 🙂

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