A Last Gasp In the Garden

“Walked for half an hour in the garden.  A fine rain was falling, and the landscape was that of autumn.  The sky was hung with various shades of gray, and mists hovered about the distant mountains – a melancholy nature.  The leaves were falling on all sides like the last illusions of youth under the tears of irremediable grief.  A brood of chattering birds were chasing each other through the shrubberies, and playing games among the branches, like a knot of hiding schoolboys.  Every landscape is, as it were, a state of the soul, and whoever penetrates into both is astonished to find how much likeness there is in each detail.”  ~Henri Frederic Amiel

Let me start by saying that life has turned incredibly busy again with work.  There has been no let up, and now I am traveling the next couple of  weeks so if you do not hear from me in a timely manner, I will eventually catch up and comment.  The garden is calm and slowly returning underground to sleep.  I will miss it while it is gone.

November has been cold and dry.  This past weekend we had a warm up with thunder showers prompting the garden to throw out a few blooms not wanting to subside, to let go and feel the peace of surrender.  Most critters are long gone except for a couple of brave frogs and the birds that always linger in the garden to find food and shelter.

I am posting a bit early for Garden Blogger’s Bloom Day hosted by Carol@May Dreams Gardens.  And since it is autumn it is a perfect time to highlight more foliage so I am also linking in with Pam@Digging for her Foliage Follow Up on the 16th, and Christina@Creating my own garden of the Hesperides for her Garden Bloggers Foliage Day on the 22nd as I share my fall colors.

I decided to show some of what has been blooming recently and since the last bloom day.  The garden is unpredictable these days and holds many surprises that is until several freezes and then snow finally take it over completely.


 This white gaura is a favorite because it bravely blooms in the cool spring and continues into the cold fall even after repeated freezes.  The stems are redder as the cold weather continues, and I love the contrast with the pink and white flowers.


Another flower that keeps flowering through all kinds of weather is this yellow scabiosa.  It just does not give up until several freezes beat it back.  I love these flowers although they will seed freely.



 The gaillardias also just keep going through numerous cold snaps.  These natives take a while to flower in spring, but once they do they never stop.  I have several varieties and each are hardy in both sun and part shade.



 With the golden afternoon sun, these Obedient plants make a stunning display.   Their foliage can also change to a lovely purple color if the temperature is colder.

 With the morning dew clinging to it, this baptisia sparkles.  I love the contrasting black seed pods.   Baptisia is one of my feature plants in the series Simply The Best.

 This sedum is a deep burgundy until fall washes out its color.  What an added bonus to have a rainbow of colors as the plant fades.


For those looking for a wonderful native shrub, this is what Summersweet looks like in fall.  The yellow leaves continue to change and become more golden until they fall.  It is also one of my Simply The Best plants.

This reddish burgundy leaf comes from the native Ninebark shrubs in my front yard.  As the deep burgundy color fades out, this amazing red color takes over.

Lastly I wanted to show my Eastern Prickly Pear Cactus.  Isn’t she great.  I planted one pad last year in the fall, and she is already grown to 3 pads in the rocky side of the pond waterfall.  I hope to finally see blooms next spring.

These are some of the last scenes from my fall garden.  The leaves have all left the trees and the rest that cling to the bushes will soon be adding to the heavy layer of leaf mulch in the beds.   As fall continues its march to the winter solstice, I am thinking about the spring garden and making plans.  Before you know it it will be time to plant seeds and watch early bulbs bloom.



“In the evenings I scrape my fingernails clean, hunt through old catalogues for new seed, oil work boots and shears. This garden is no metaphor– more a task that swallows you into itself, earth using, as always, everything it can.” –  Jan Hirshfield, November, Remembering Voltaire

____________________________________________________________________________ Don’t forget that December 1st marks the next installment of Seasonal Celebrations/Garden Lessons Learned.  Click the link to learn more.  Beth@PlantPostings will be wrapping up this past season with lessons we have learned in our gardens, and I will be setting the stage for next season’s celebrations (winter up N and summer down S of the equator).

You do need to be a garden blogger to join in Season Celebrations.  Any blogger is welcome.  Write a poem, post your favorite pictures and prose that tells why you love this season.  What do you love to do in this upcoming season?  What holidays or rituals make it a wonderful season for you?  How does your garden grow and what favorite plants will be blooming?

I hope you will be joining us.  Just create a post and link in with both or one of us between December 1st and the 20th, and around the 21st we will reveal those lessons and celebrations. ____________________________________________________________________________

Next up on the blog:    Next Monday I have another favorite Garden Book to share.  Then at the end of the month, I will share another wonderful native plant.  Before we know it, December will be here heralding another Seasonal Celebrations on December 1st.  I hope you will join me by linking in with a special post.
I will be linking in with Michelle@Rambling Woods for her Nature Notes meme.  It is a great way to see what is happening in nature around the world every Wednesday.
As always, I’ll be joining Tootsie Time’s Fertilizer Friday.

I hope you will join me for my posts once a month, at Beautiful Wildlife Garden.

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

All original content is copyrighted and the sole property of Donna Donabella @ Gardens Eye View, 2010-2012.  Any reprints or use of content or photos is by permission only.


  1. Alistair says:

    Your last gasp just about left me breathless Donna. I am not surprised that your Summersweet is one of your simply the best. The white Gaura is also a favourite of Myra’s, unfortunately we have to treat it as an annual as it never comes through our Winters and yet it doesn’t get nearly as cold as what you experience across the Atlantic, perhaps its our acidic soil.

    • Donna says:

      Thank you Alistair. My gaura is planted near the pond in a sunny, hot spot mulched with stone. That may be why it does so well. They do seem to like just about any soil. Maybe a mulch of stones to make a microclimate may help them…

    • Donna says:

      Thanks Tina. I hope to have a slow down as well but maybe not until I retire and then I will stil be busy but doing whatever I want 🙂

  2. Galloping Horse Garden says:

    It’s amazing to see Gaura and Gaillardia still blooming at this late date in upstate New York. And your baptisia looks so perky! I’m in central North Carolina and mine died back weeks ago. Mother Nature is strange.

    • Donna says:

      I have a feeling all those storms helped kill yours sooner. We have not had enough killing freezes or frosts yet which should have taken care of them. Very strange indeed.

  3. Cat says:

    Maybe you’ll get a bit of a rest too, like the garden…your sleepy garden still has a few nice surprises. I kind of like this time of year when the garden requires us to look closer for the special gifts it offers.

    • Donna says:

      I agree Cat…the special gifts of the garden are fun to discover and keep me out longer in the garden…I am even willing to weed as long as the weather is in the 40s and there is no snow. 🙂

  4. Donna says:

    I was thinking what Cat said and you may get some needed rest from garden work. At least your job will be a bit more manageable with less to do at home. We pretty much have the same in the garden, colorful foliage at this time or year, but the 70° weather has got some new buds opening.

    • Donna says:

      Looks like I will be traveling monthly now for work. Not what I wanted, but the garden will not take my time and will leave me time to write on weekends…I found some buds as well.

    • Donna says:

      Thanks Beth. Travel will be monthly for a while I found out so I will have to adjust and try to enjoy it. I am a home body by nature. The gaura has finally succumbed to the 20 degree nights.

  5. Heather says:

    A wonderful fall color palette. We already have snow so I’m enjoying your Gaillardia and Gaura from afar. Gaillardia was very short-lived for me which is odd, I’ve seen it growing in very tough conditions in South Dakota. I’m glad it does well for you.

    • Donna says:

      Heather how unfair to have such a severe drought and now snow. Hopefully the snow will give some needed moisture to the plants. I am surprised gaillardia is short lived for you. As long as mine has normal soil and part sun, it grows and self seeds.

  6. Carolyn says:

    Nice to see you still have a few blooms dancin’ in the garden. If the temps warm up, our snow will melt and maybe, just maybe, I’ll find a bloom or two for GBBD. Enjoy your travels!

  7. Kathy Sturr of the Violet Fern says:

    Beautiful Donna! We do have many of the same plants. I am also enjoying the beautiful blue tones of Baptisia right now. Interestingly, the leaves on my Ninebark are yellow in color this year. Scabiosa is still blooming in my garden as well. Love the Prickly Pear!

  8. Libby says:

    Great post – you actually have a lot going on there for this late in the year.

    I liked the very first shot…looks like a crazy spider 😉

  9. Janet, The Queen of Seaford says:

    Our November has been warm and dry, though we are finally getting some rain. October was almost void of rain. Seems as though the leaves all signaled to let go all at once.
    I have a Clematis reblooming, imagine that! The Gaillardia is an amazing plant isn’t it? Takes a lickin’ and keeps on tickin’ 😉

  10. The Sage Butterfly says:

    A certain gasp at looking at the beauty in your autumn garden. Beautiful even as it prepares for the nap. I am looking forward to some snow this year to make up for what we missed last year. Hope your schedule slows down a bit…

    • Donna says:

      Thanks Michelle but it actually just got worse with more travel each month. Oh well I hope for now snow as I travel but weekends are fine 🙂

  11. Kalantikan says:

    Donna, your plants’ last gasps are still lovely! And because i have gaillardia, i tend to compare, mine is so small at the height of their growth period than yours. Even my sepals are so short and stunted. I guess they still need the cold spell from its own home. The colors of the rest of the leaves are still spectacular. When they all fell, you can just visit ours, which have perennial leaves, haha!

  12. Gail says:

    I am now determined to get Summersweet. What a lovely shrub~I worried that I couldn’t give it the cultural conditions it needs but, I am going to try anyway! Donna, your photos of the last gasp beauties show them off wonderfully, I am in the camp that appreciates the golden browns and faded burgundies. gail

    • Donna says:

      When you gaze on the gardens you can see those colors the best. I hope your Summersweet loves your garden…can’t see why it wouldn’t.

  13. Alicia says:

    Even at this time of the year, it is nice to have some beauty in the garden. Every season has favourite things to admire in the garden. Good to see you appreciating what the changing season has to offer.

  14. Randy Hyden says:

    Just a note to tell you that where I live in Texas is about the last gasp for the plants of the eastern woodlands. Not 50 miles west of here the great plains begin, which puts us in a unique position to enjoy both. Great pictures!

  15. debsgarden says:

    Oh, Gaura, how I want you in my own garden, but instead you die! And Prickly Pear! I thought you were a desert plant! But Summersweet, you have the most gorgeous foliage. Maybe you will grow for me.

    Donna, thanks for a look at your late fall plants. Also, thank you for you kind comments on my own blog! If you are ever in Alabama, I would love to show you my garden and let you experience a little southern hospitality!

    • Donna says:

      Isn’t it funny how the Eastern Prickly Pear is not a desert plant here but it is native. Deborah I would love to visit your gardens and if on my travels in the future I have the wonderful luck to visit Alabama, I will make sure I stop by your garden.

  16. RamblingWoods says:

    Lovely post and I was out with my camera with a break in the cold weather..I have to start making a more organized list for next spring but there is so much paperwork to look at regarding my Mom’s estate as she saved everything.. Please travel safe..I too am a homebody..Michelle

    • Donna says:

      I will Michelle…once things are settled with your mom’s estate you will have time to concentrate on your plans. Have a great holiday

  17. Igardendaily says:

    Lovely entry By Henri Amiel. It is so true about how much a soul can mirror the garden and vice versa. My favorite photo is of the baptisia. I too love it but don’t grow it at this garden. It is definitely on my list though, once I find some more space!

    • Donna says:

      The garden and my soul is why I started this blog so that quote from Amiel spoke to me….Once you find some room you will not be sorry about growing the baptisia.

  18. Liz says:

    Hi Donna,

    Lovely photos and nice to see you still have some interest around the garden. All too soon everything will be gone and the only thing of interest will be spring bulb spotting – waiting to see growth peeking its nose out of the cold ground.

    I hope you enjoy your travels 🙂

    • Donna says:

      I am visiting family so this time it is enjoyable. For work not so much when I travel. If the snow isn’t too bad then the continual growth of foliage on many plants will keep me going otherwise it will be the bulb spotting for sure.

    • Donna says:

      Thanks Carolyn. It may be the cold weather. I think mine has gotten more beautiful with age. It is at least 5 years old but it also has lots of part sun and moist feet. Of course the cold weather really did help too I think.

  19. Claire says:

    Thanks Donna, I think the Amiel quote is going to stay with me all evening. I also have scabiousa still flowering but had just assumed it was a freak of the weather we’ve had this year. Now I understand!

    • Donna says:

      Claire I am so glad you enjoyed the quote. It really spoke to me too. My blue scabiosa is not as hardy or as willing to volunteer itself around the garden, but the yellow is and is such a delight.

    • Donna says:

      Thanks Loredana. It would be a pleasure and an honor to have you join me for Seasonal Celebrations. Once my post comes out on Dec 1st then feel free to write a post and link in. There will be directions in the post on the 1st.

  20. Loret says:

    Aww, thanks for a wonderful Post Donna! I love seeing the autumn colors of your garden and love your surprises too! You must have one beautiful place.

    • Donna says:

      I think I do Loret. It will give me solace even with it’s winter coat as this year continues to be busy and I have to continue to travel. I am so glad you enjoyed my garden.

  21. catmint says:

    it is wonderful to share these divine beautiful brave resilient hangers-on in your garden. Take care, Donna, while you work hard and travel, I hope you manage to keep a quiet little garden picture in your mind to retreat to when needed wherever you are.

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