“Whether you tend a garden or not, you are the gardener of your own being, the seed of your destiny.”
–   The Findhorn Community

 As I look at my garden these days I am amazed at how it has grown this year.  Through a long winter, flood, cold, and then heat and drought.  It surprises me every year when the garden rises again from the earth ready to grow.  Some years the height or flowering of the plant may be less, but they are there.  I can count on them.  They thrive.

milkweed and susans

Thriving means so much more than surviving.  The dictionary definition of thrive is to prosper, be successful; to grow or develop vigorously; flourish.  That describes the flowers, bushes and other plants in my garden.  OK not quite all thrive every year.  I do lose some, but the majority reappear like the Northern Sea Oats at the top of the page-a wonderful native grass.  It has established itself beautifully, and I plan to divide it and move it either this fall or next spring.

I have been closely assessing my garden this year.  One recurring theme that continues to surface is:  under adverse conditions, my natives plants thrive the most.  Yes a few ornamentals are incredible plants that prosper in these adverse conditions especially hostas and daylilies.  But my native plants are still going.  They have bloomed, some of them for months, right along with the daylilies.  Some have resurged and are coming on for a second flush in the garden with the recent rain.  They are fearless, hardy souls.

So as we celebrate another Wildflower Wednesday with Gail at Clay and Limestone this month, I am happy to showoff many of my thriving natives.

Hardy hibiscus never ceases to amaze me every summer.  They put on a show that is not to be missed.  They look dead and lifeless for such a long time.  Then all at once they put forth some growth, and before you know it they are tall and bursting with life.  The more their feet are in water, the taller they seem to grow.

The top and center are smaller flowering varieties.  The left and right bottom are both large, dinner plate size.  Left is Kopper King and right is Luna Pink Swirl.


Rudbeckia is still blooming strong with no show of fading at all.  Some of the different varities of rudbeckia are blooming now.  Above is stately ‘Autumn Sun’.  It gets 5-6 feet high.  Great food for birds and I love to see it in the back of my garden.  Below is the unusual ‘Henry Eilers’ one of my favorite rudbeckias.  I love how the petals look like tubes.  I was fortunate to capture it in all stages of bloom.




Joe Pye is in full bloom.  It thrives in dry areas but it seeds itself profusely in my wet areas.  Joe has found his way into the rain garden all by himself.  I have to move all the volunteers from the blueberry patch to the meadow so he can grow there too.  The butterflies will love you if you plant this beauty.  Given the right conditions Joe will soar over 6 feet.  There is a smaller version but he likes to get 4 feet tall.  This year he barely comes in at 3 feet due to the drought.  Still I love the flowers.



 This is Helenium Biedermeier a yellow and orange variety.  I love everything about this flower from when it just begins to bloom, the open flower and when the flower fades.  This native beauty was introduced to Europe in 1729.  A bit of a turn about since we usually see many European flowers being brought here around that time.  Another fun fact is that they are part of the Aster family.  Also known as Sneezeweed or Swamp Sunflower they do love moisture and loads of sun.  Bees and butterflies will flock to this wonderful native flower.



One of my favorite shrubs is Clethra or Summersweet so named for its sweet fragrance that appears every summer.  This one is ‘Ruby Spice’.  Mine is a gorgeous full shrub over 5 feet tall and 4 feet wide.  It withstands voles, rabbits chewing on it in winter and it comes out blooming for weeks.  The pollinators and hummers adore its fragrance.  I love the pink flowers which do not fade.  This shrub is growing in a part shade moist area.  Perfect conditions for native Clethra.


Obedient Plant is thriving in my yard-too much sometimes.  This is the stand that covers everything in its wake and has to be thinned again.  I moved a lot of it to the meadow where it is finally growing.  I have a few other stands of it in part shade drier conditions.  I love the look of this plant growing in drifts, and the hummers adore it in my yard.  There will be at least 2 hummers flitting from stand to stand.  If you want to capture a picture of a hummer, stand still and every 10 minutes or so they will be by.


 This red beauty is another lobelia growing on the pond edge.  I have several kinds growing in the moist areas of the garden.  Hummers will visit these flowers well into fall if the weather stays warm.  Their color is a welcome contrast to the yellows in the fall garden.


Blanket Flower still going



A garden requires patient labor and attention. Plants do not grow merely to satisfy ambitions or to fulfill good intentions. They thrive because someone expended effort on them.

Liberty Hyde Bailey



Book Update:

For those that have asked, my 2 poems are being published in the book, The Moment I Knew, August 26th in early September.  Publication is delayed due to a minor glitch with publication.  I will keep you postedYou can see the announcement in my blog post.  Information about sale of the book is:

  1. The book will be for sale at as well as other online and independent booksellers (e.g. Amazon, Barnes and Noble).
  2. Preference is for folks to buy directly from Sugati Publications because the charities selected, who will profit from the sale of the book, will get a greater amount of the profits.  If folks buy from other booksellers (e.g., Amazon) then the book seller gets about 40% which significantly cuts into the charities profits as well.


Special Note: All flowers pictured here are from my garden.  Flaunt your flowers at Tootsie Time this Friday where she hosts Fertilizer Friday.  I’ll be flaunting mine.

Monthly (usually around the 10th) I guest blog at Walkabout Chronicles.  Stop by to read my post!

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



48 Replies to “Thrive”

    1. Thx. I am finding my ‘right eye’ as they say in the art world. Saving up for a new fancy camera one of these days, but for now I am enjoying my point and click…

    1. Thx Donna. Both you and One are amazing photographers so it means a lot to me that you are liking the photos. I do not have a website of NYS Natives but use a book. This will come in handy. Thx.

  1. Natives – this is the way to go! I am slowly moving toward ‘easier’ plants. I wish my Joe Pye would selfseed! It’s the main beauty in my garden right now.

    1. Tatyana, easier is definitely the way to go as I age and look at what I can and can’t keep doing every year. My Joe Pye won’t stop moving around. The more it is in a wet area, the more it seeds. Of course I think a few critters help it too…

    1. Thx Carolyn. Yes Obedient Plant can be very aggressive and I would even say invasive given the right conditions. It loves to create bold drifts if it is in a moist area. I found the shadier and less moist the less it will take over. Perfect for a rain garden or meadow.

    1. They are such a treat Holley…I plant mainly for me and the critters who visit my yard. I love to watch wildlife from a distance and I have found they come into the yard more and more now…

  2. I agree with the others that the photos on this post are spectacular! I am particularly interested in Northern Sea Oats and Clethra. I’ve heard of the latter, but not the former. And both seem like great selections because of their beauty and uniqueness. Are the Clethras good cut flowers?

    1. Beth thx…I am so glad you enjoyed the post and pics…the Clethra is a shrub and I never have cut the flowers off. I love leaving them but I think they would be like lilacs. Good way to trim the shrub too. 🙂

  3. Hi Donna. Just the opposite for me on the Joe. My supposedly “LITTLE” Joe is towering in its second year. Go figure. Oh well. I still love it. Your Clethra is enviable. I’ve tried several different varieties but can’t get any of them to survive. Must be our dry soil. Ditto for the Hibiscus. Beautiful photos!

    1. Grace how nice to have you visit. I have a Little Joe that does that as well most years. I would imagine the dry soil is the culprit for the Clethra and hibiscus. Too bad. If you ever have a wet area, they are perfect for it. So glad you enjoyed the photo. I am really enjoying taking the pictures in my garden too.

  4. Congrats on the poems!!
    Enjoyed your post and you have just reminded me of some plants I want to add to my garden. 🙂

  5. Lovely lobelia and helenium! I agree that it’s the natives that survive adverse conditions best. I’ve had good luck with river oats in tough spots …

  6. Your natives are happy! Joe Pye is a one that will grow here too. It is on my wish list. There is a sale coming up at one of my favorite nurseries, and I am hoping to find one there. I almost purchased one last year, decided against it at the last minute, and have regreted it ever since!

  7. You have some beautiful native plants there. To me, they’re exotics and hard to grow well, except the hibiscus, which seems happy everywhere. It’s lovely to see them all thriving where they belong.

    1. Lyn thx so much. It has been fun exploring natives in my area over the years. I also love seeing other people’s natives and exotics. Glad you enjoyed your visit.

  8. One of my first thoughts was “bother, I forgot it was Wildflower Wednesday”. Another was that I can’t imagine planting the bulk of my own garden with natives and being as delighted with it as I am by yours, but perhaps I should explore our own natives more. Do you have to stake that tall Rudbekia? Your Obedient Plant sounds rather disobedient, but like the lysimachia I love so much, sometimes it is great to be able to give vigorous and beautiful plants the space they need to thrive in rather than trying to curtail and tame them. Like people really.

    1. Janet I found it fascinating planting more natives and it has enriched the garden and wildlife. Both rudbeckias do not need staking which I love. They just went through a gale force storm and remain standing. The Obedient is very disobedient given the right conditions. I so agree that these vigorous plants do need space…they are beautiful when we give it to them very much like people. So glad you enjoyed the post!!

  9. Wonderful wildflowers in your garden Donna! Thriving in difficult conditions seems to be a theme for WW this month. You have several of my favorites in your garden, and given me a couple of ideas for possibilities for planting in the deeper part of our swale. Happy WW!

  10. Beautiful photos, Donna! You have so many gorgeous blooms this WW. I also have learned through experience that the natives really thrive when conditions aren’t optimal in the garden. I’m envious of your clethra–I just planted a ‘Ruby Spice’ this spring, and mine is not looking too good right now. Perhaps I haven’t kept it watered enough this dry summer. But obedient plant is another story–I have no problem growing those either:)

    1. Thx Rose. Yes Obedient plant grows except in deep shade so I use some shade and dry conditions to control it although not very well…I have a couple of Clethra in dier areas that aren’t as nice as this one. I keep moving them to see where they would rather be. Perhaps it will revive after a bit of rain…

  11. Donna, What a lovely post. I’ve right there with you~Natives thrive in my garden~Of course they have appreciated the big drink of water I have had to give them throughout our dry summer! I have shade~but, it’s dry shade and I miss having clethra and other water loving natives~Yours are gorgeous. That pink is perfect. gail

    1. Thx Gail…so glad you enjoyed it…I was surprised the natives did so well in the drought but they had lots of winter melt and spring rains to sustain the dry summer. We are lucky in that regard so I rarely ever water any perennials. Happy WW!!

  12. Your natives are stunning, Donna. No wonder you were happy to share! Now you have me wondering about my ‘Henry Eilers’ who is nowhere to be seen! I remember moving him to the back of the garden since he was way too tall … he obviously was not happy with my decision!

    1. Joey thx. They seem to have come into their own finally. Perhaps Henry is still there. The first year he finally showed in my garden he was but a stalk with some flowers. He has grown ever since. Glad you enjoyed the Natives.

  13. Sometimes you think a plant has been thriving because it’s growing just fine, and then one year conditions are just right for it and it comes into its own–such a difference! Your natives are looking gorgeous–I love the milkweed seeds with the brown-eyed Susans and the helenium (one of my favorite plants of all time).

    1. Stacy we do have similar loves. The milkweed was seeded there by me and I am so happy it is finally growing and I hope it grows more. Those seed pods will be releasing their seeds all over and I can’t wait. The helenium is one of my later summer flowers in the garden too. I hope to move it around more and try some other varieties.

  14. How very true that the native plants will excel in their native habitat. Sometimes I overlook the more ‘common’ things just because they don’t catch my eye, but gardening will be much less work if plants don’t need to be doted on constantly. Great post!

    1. Thx Karen. So glad you enjoyed it. I am with you regarding trying to lessen the work in the garden. Natives definitely help there.

  15. Thrive…what a word and experience to ponder. It has significance facing earthquakes and hurricanes, but it also resonates during the daily grind. I am glad to add more and more natives to my garden as they have perfected ‘thriving.’ Your photo of your obedient plant is lovely, full…mine are not being very obedient…they seem to want to grow everywhere.

    1. Michelle, who knew when I wrote this we would be experiencing a hurricane. Don’t let the Obedient plants fool you. They are thriving all over although this year a little less due to the drought. Glad you enjoyed the post!!

    1. Rosie glad you liked the flowers…I love learning more about natives, what wildlife they support and other fun facts. It is fascinating to see what is native around the word…

    1. Thx and I agree. I am learning that some days you just have to hang on and survive…you will keep moving in the right direction 🙂

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