Gardens Eye Verse-December

 At first a small line of inconceivable splendour emerged on the horizon, which, quickly expanding, the sun appeared in all of his glory, unveiling the whole face of nature, vivifying every colour of the landscape, and sprinkling the dewy earth with glittering light. ~Ann Reacliffe


I am a creature who craves light.  Even on a cloudy day I can get my fix, but these days I am light deprived.  We have had one of warmest Novembers on record, but I am still not satisfied.  This is the darkest month of the year.  The sunrise gets later and later, with dusk racing in early to end the day.   I barely see 9-10 hours of daylight.  The wonderful part of the day has been the sunrise and sunset which are amazing this time of year.  Blazing in hot colors of orange, red, purple or sometimes milder colors of peach and pink with shades of blue.  These vistas greet me as I start and end my day driving to and from work.

So what can we do in the Northern Hemisphere as we dash to the end of fall and the shortest day of the year?  I mark that day and the day after.  I know I have made it through the darkness, and am on my way to more light.  I start to reassess my goals, where I have been and where I may be headed.  Have you noticed I become more philosophical without enough light?

Beth@PlantPostings has asked what we have learned this season.  So here are a few of my lessons:

1.  Plan for the worst and enjoy the best of the weather.  I always clean up the garden and plant by the end of October knowing snow can come early here.

2.  Get out as much as possible to view the season as it changes.  Fall sneaks up on us and the subtle everyday changes are beautiful and full of wonder.  Take your camera wherever you go to capture the beauty.

3.  Take stock as you view more of the structure of the garden and note what needs doing for spring.  As I plant and weed in fall, I see what changes may be needed, and the list starts so I can plan all winter dreaming of wonderful new gardens.

4.  Lastly, plan for the darkness coming; the cold; the lack of flowers and plants.  Read on to see my plan.

This year instead of whining about the natural course of events, I am keeping myself busy.  I brought in some herbs I was growing outside this summer.  My rosemary and Italian parsley are usually composted before the first frost since they are only annuals.  But this year I thought why not try to keep them alive using my grow light and heat mat.  Then I had another idea. Why not dig up a few perennial herbs I know I would use and bring them in as well.  So I dug up oregano, sage, peppermint and spearmint; potted them up and put them under the same light.

I call this the Great Herb Experiment not be confused with the Great Seed Growing Experiment.  That is coming after Christmas.  But the herbs seem happy.  We did have a minor setback when we were away for Thanksgiving.  We had to turn off the light and mat.  Some of the perennial herbs were not happy and died back a bit, but I think they will rebound.  After all, nothing kills them especially mint.  Just need to give them a bit of a trim so they don’t become too leggy.

Being able to grow a few herbs has been wonderful, but I am adventurous and bought a seed growing station.  As you might remember last winter, I experimented with growing a tray of some herbs and lettuce.  It was mildly successful, but I realized I needed more room.  As you will see by the picture, this contraption will hold many more trays for growing herbs and greens all winter.  Then as early spring comes I plan to grow my own viola and pansy from seed.  I missed buying and planting them this fall so I would have a bit of spring color.  Of course I plan to start all veggies, herbs and many flowers inside in early spring to plant outside in late May.

There is a good reason I call this the Great Seed Growing Experiment.

1.  I am still learning to grow plants successfully from seed.

2.  And I still am learning the process for bringing these sprouts outside so they will successfully transplant.

The best way I learn is from mistakes so there will be many failed crops of seeds-no germinating, damping off disease, etc, etc.  But with each failure comes more learning and more successes.  So I will keep you updated as I have fun experimenting all winter in my basement.  I also have my road bike in a contraption that makes it stationary in an effort to do a bit of exercise when I am checking on my seedlings.   Exercise is my second 30 Day Challenge.  We shall see how it goes!!!

No matter how dark the night, somehow the sun rises once again and all shadows are chased away ~ David Matthew


Gardens Eye Verse


It’s the first Monday of the month and that means it is time for another unveiling of some of my original poems.  For December, I had poems ready about snow, but since we are a bit sparse with the white stuff I have concentrated on how cold and dark December days can be.   So I hope you enjoy these 2 entries.

On a special note, my dear friend Steven Tryon has graciously allowed me to use one of his fabulous photos to illustrate my second poem.  Steven has an incredible gift for taking photographs.  The camera is part of him, and he creates beautiful thought provoking art.  You can check out his website Steven Tryon Photography to see his pics.  I warn you though, you will be tempted to purchase one or two.  Don’t resist…I hope to use other photos of Steven’s as part of upcoming Gardens Eye Verse posts.  Steven is also one of the two creative minds behind Walkabout Chronicles.



Clean, crisp air of a December morn,

Penetrates to your bones.

Waking you with an ache,

Beckoning you to explore-

The frozen landscapes born.




by Steven Tryon

 Fire in the Sky

Darkness descends

on the glowing embers of the day,

all color fades to black.

The silence sparkles under moonlight,

as an obsidian horizon spins toward the new dawn-

Fire in the Sky.





Coming in the next few weeks will be some reflections on the garden and life, The Making of a Meadow, a plant profile and some holiday musings.    And please join me at Beautiful Wildlife Gardens for my next post on December 8th.


As always, I’ll be joining Tootsie Time’s Fertilizer Friday.  So drop by to check out all the wonderful flowers this Friday.

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.




  1. Alistair says:

    Ah, similar things catch our eye at the same time. Good luck with your great herb experiment Donna, you are so resourceful. The pond picture of Steven Tryons is terrific, so its OK in some instances to have such intense reflection, I have wondered about that, I realise it wouldn’t always work. Buy pictures! not likely, well I am Scottish.

  2. Donna says:

    I enjoyed your poetry, you really have a wonderful way with words. The lessons learned is both optimistic and encouraging. I have been wanting to get a post together for Lessons Learned, but it is one I want to devote time to, and there is very little of that going around this season. So your mentioning getting out as much as possible, I chuckled…because I am wanting the opposite… to get in as much as possible. I have been having outdoors overload at the farm and want to curl up by the fire and just chill!

    • Donna says:

      Donna you amaze me with all you do. I can see why you would want to be inside. It is relevant to where we spend our time. Me in an office, you on the farm. I am glad you enjoyed the post and especially the poetry. It means so much to me. Hoping you get some time to chill soon!!

  3. HolleyGarden says:

    What a positive way to go into winter – growing fragrant herbs inside! And I love your seed growing area! My, oh, my – that would give any gardener dreams of spring blooms and ripening veggies! I think you’re doing wonderful things to get past the dark days of winter.

    • Donna says:

      Thx Holley…I knew I needed some real projects…I am even cleaning and clutter clearing which is not my fav thing but needs to be done…I want to get so many things in place in 4 months so I have total free time devoted to the garden in late March to begin the new season…

  4. Island Threads says:

    Donna you are so well organised with your plants and seed station, I find these months go quickly and I never get done all the things I plan good luck with your plans,
    I smiled at your 9-10 hours of daylight north Scotland and the hebrides are down to about 6-7 now but in 6 months we’ll be on 20 of full daylight and for the other 4 there will be the orange glow on the northern horizon keeping some light,

    • Donna says:

      Frances it is all so relevant to where we are…I did not realize you were like our state of Alaska in the way the sun shines…not sure I could deal with it but I hear it is amazing to experience…I doubt I will get all the projects done in 4 months but I aim to try!!

  5. Heather says:

    Donna – I’m like you, I need more light this time of year. What makes a big difference is snowfall, it certainly increases the brightness even if it’s overcast. We got just enough on the weekend to make a difference.

    It looks like you have a wonderful seed starting set up. Good luck with the sowing and transplanting this winter.

    • Donna says:

      Heather thx for the good wishes…we have had very little snow as of yet which is definitely affecting my mood and the grayness…

  6. PlantPostings says:

    I started reading your post and nodding my head again, which I so often do when I visit your blog. I, too, am a creature of the light. Great idea to bring in the perennial herbs and to expand your seed-starting efforts. Thanks for sharing your lessons and for joining in the meme!

  7. Elaine says:

    It is interesting that when the light is shining, we are out doing and when it’s darker, we do more thinking. You’ve got it right. Instead of going dormant, you have a plan! Goals, thoughts of spring, herbs…I love it! Thanks for reminding us to keep moving and not hibernate, which part of me really wants to do!

  8. b-a-g says:

    Donna – Looking forward to seeing the results of your experiments. You’ve got loads of seeds there, I started that way too thinking most would die. I actually found that all seeds from packets germinate, it’s keeping them alive that’s the problem.

    • Donna says:

      I think of you when I conduct experiments…you have been a great role model for me to seek more answers…I will definitely keep you posted…it is keeping the seedlings alive that is hardest for me too!!

  9. Christine @ The Gardening Blog says:

    Thank you, I learnt a few lessons from you today, most importantly “Plan for the worst and enjoy the best of the weather”.

    I am very interested to see how you do with the seed station – what a fab thing to have! I hope you will show us your progress (the good and bad!). The herbs are looking good and the photos are great! I too am still experimenting with seed growing – alas not with that much success yet …

    Love your poems Donna, I’m so glad you are sharing more with us now. You are such a talented writer.

    • Donna says:

      Christine how wonderful that you enjoyed the post and the lessons…I will definitely be sharing my progress both the good and bad…we can’t learn unless we see the bad too…I am very humbled that you enjoy the poems…I am never quite sure if they are any good…I am really enjoying writing more and have several in the queue…

  10. Liz says:

    Hi Donna,

    I know exactly how you feel about the short days and I was surprised to be reminded that actually it’s the solstice soon – not much longer to go! yay.
    It’s like a weight lifted from my shoulders when I know days are getting longer again, even if we don’t really notice a significant change until at least the end of January and February; it’s more phsychological.
    This morning because it was cloudy and dull, I actually set off to work in twilight… Now, that was disturbing, until I reminded myself that previously I would’ve been in work for half an hour already and would’ve set off in full dark! I always considered starting later in winter so that I’d see daylight when I arrive, but then I love leaving work early so I can have long evenings instead… 😀
    As for light; as long as I see some glimpse of sun for a few seconds during the day then it’s a good day for me… it’s when days and days of dull, cloudy weather come along… By the third day I’m really beginning to feel depressed.

    • Donna says:

      Liz I do so understand the gray days…we have far too many but any day where there is a glimpse of blue sky is a day to rejoice here…

  11. GirlSprout says:

    I’ve been counting down the days to the Winter solstice. We have so much sunshine in New Mexico; nonetheless, I feel light deprived if I go a few days without it.

    Kudos to you on the Great Herb Experiment.

    • Donna says:

      I find I can get through these dark days counting down and celebrating the solstice…it is a magical time that I feel I have made it out of the tunnel and back into the light…re-energized…love the sun and sky of NM…you feel so small under it but so spiritual..

    • Donna says:

      Sheila, I am thrilled you like this poem and that line in particular. The poems 1st two lines came easily, but the last part was rewritten at least 20 times never quite doing it for me. I realized there was a missing piece and suddenly the vision and the words flowed and I knew that it was finished and it was because of that line which brought the poem together 🙂

  12. Cat says:

    That craving for sunshine is just so strong. The soft light of the second photo is just so beautiful. You inspire me to take my camera out and get some shots of these late fall sunsets. I like the idea of going through the lessons you’ve learned this season too…that’s a revealing process that I’m sure helps you to stay focused on your goals.

    • Donna says:

      Glad you enjoyed some pics and they inspired you. Lessons learned is indeed a great way to stay focused and decide the next moves toward goals. Hope you have fun getting a few shots of the sunsets…

  13. Beth says:

    Donna, I love your sky shots! Especially the first one. I also enjoyed reading about your plans for growing herbs inside and your thoughts re planning for next spring.
    Hugs, Beth

    • Donna says:

      Beth how wonderful to hear from you…glad you enjoyed the post. The first sky shot was a lark. A weekend where we had a Fire in the Sky…I ran right out in the cold and snapped away…how fortunate it was to have such a brilliant sunrise!!

  14. Nell Jean says:

    Once you get the perennial herbs like oregano, rosemary and thyme going, they can be propagated by cuttings if there are not as many as you’d hoped.

    My lettuces got set back when we had a too-warm-for-lettuces-inside spell and the squirrels got in them. Since then the dog has been on squirrel patrol and dispatched three. the lettuces are safely back inside and resprouting.

    • Donna says:

      Nell Jean good to know for the rosemary…the rabbits and deer like to browse my lettuces if I don’t net them…no dog for me so good you have yours on guard…

  15. Laura @ PatioPatch says:

    Feeling a little retarded in growth without warmth and light Donna but have been out and about running. Getting to appreciate so much more of winter this way. Like your honest-to-goodness approach to learning propagation. Lovely to read more of your GEV poems – as well as the hard copy ones…yes the book arrived and by way of thanks dedicated latest post to you.
    Laura x

    • Donna says:

      I am hoping to get out more during the day even at work…so glad you are enjoying the poems both here and in the book…I loved your post and am so thankful for the wonderful blogging friend I have in you Laura!!!

  16. Debbie/GardenofPossibilities says:

    Donna, I am also still learning how to successfulyl grow plants from seeds. I haven’t invested the time or $ into it that you have but you are inspiring me to take it more seriously. There is something so satisfying when you see that little seed grow into a real plant and know you are responsible for it.

    • Donna says:

      Debbie I agree that there is something satisfying about growing this wonderful plant from a seed and seeing it bloom and produce…I am glad you are inspired. I will keep everyone informed throughout the winter and I know I will learn from their expertise as well.

  17. Amy (Get Busy Gardening) says:

    These are some great lessons/tips! I started indoor gardening during the winter to keep myself busy several years ago. It helps the winter go by much faster. I should take your advice about enjoying fall more, it’s always such a busy time (and I have a very bad attitude in the fall) that I never enjoy the beauty of it. Thanks for the reminder!


    • Donna says:

      Amy how wonderful to have you visiting the garden. I am so glad you enjoyed the post and found some useful advice for enjoying fall. I used to be depressed every fall until I looked around a bit more and saw all that I was missing.

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