Gardens Eye Journal-January 2013


“Let us be grateful to people who make us happy; they are the charming gardeners who make our souls blossom.” Marcel Proust


The views of my garden from early December to the end of December are very different.  Our fall was most unusual ending with an almost mild December.  I am most grateful for such a wonderfully long fall this year.  I have a feeling our seasons will be more normal this year as winter is already proving to be.  But then again the forecast this week is for temps in the 40s and rain so maybe we will get an early January thaw.  It is always a surprise!

As I recap what has been happening in December,  I am joining some other gardener’s memes with this journal post:  Garden Bloggers Harvest Day (GBHD)@The Gardening Blog on the 5th, Best and Worst of My Garden@Bumble Lush,  Salad Days@Veg Plotting on the 4th Friday of the month and End of Month View with Helen@The Patient Gardener’s Weblog.



Weather Report


The full moon in late December is often called the Full Cold Moon or the Long Nights Moon as winter turns into its full force and boy did it. The day after the solstice brought a 2 day storm that left one foot of snow, lots of strong winds and much colder weather.  So yes we had a White Christmas.  That same week, the day after Christmas, brought an even bigger storm with 2 more feet of snow.  It snows an inch at least a day with some days bringing 3 to 6 inches.  By the end of December we had 4 feet of snow with a forecast of frigid temps in January.  Below zero temps already in early January means we may in for a cold winter with normal snowfall totals of at least 100 inches of the white stuff.

The only clear night in late December was right before the full moon on Christmas night (that’s the moon pictured right).  The almost full moon shone high in the western sky by 2am.  It’s light made the snow shine with long shadows of trees like long sticks across the snow.  The light hit the icy pond making me think the sun was rising in the west.  I wish I could have captured the beauty of that moonlit night in my snow covered garden.  It was a treat for the soul.


What’s Growing

So what is growing.  Well outside under the snow I am sure there is lots growing.  Once we eventually get a thaw, I am sure to see bulbs starting to emerge as well as some perennials putting on new growth.  But that will have to wait.  I thought I would show you some winter shots of the garden as they looked at the end of December.  Many of these shots are from inside the house as I was sick at the end of December.  Seems I had the flu, followed by travel for work, followed by illness for the holidays.  Oh well at least I had time to rest.


Front Garden

IMG_0770This is a view from inside the house looking from my left front window.  I am looking right toward the front step.  The dwarf willows are still sporting some of the 2 feet of snow that covered them.


IMG_0767Here is the same view looking left at the trellis and rain chain that usually supports clematis ‘Avant-Garde’.  As you can see, I do not cut the clematis back until they start to grow in spring.


Back Garden

Here are some views of the back gardens both before and after the snow.


How the left back garden looked for most of December.


This is after the first storm on December 22nd.  The water in the background is the one rain garden that needs a bit of digging out and expanding.  You can see critter tracks all over from squirrels, rabbits and deer.  It is fun to see where they go in the garden.



Seeds/Herbs/House Plants

As I am practicing more intentional gratitude, I can say I am very grateful for the herbs and seeds growing indoors.



You can see basil, rosemary, cilantro and parsley growing here in the basement.  There is also oregano, lemon balm and sage growing downstairs with mint, thyme and chives growing upstairs under a grow light.  I have been harvesting these herbs to use in cooking since I brought them in.



These are seeds I started in the basement on Christmas Day.  You can see here arugula, lettuce and spinach growing within a couple of days of my planting the seeds.  I am using organic potting soil in my smaller grow bag.



This Christmas cactus was given to me by my mother-in-law years ago.  It blooms throughout the fall and winter, and was blooming at Christmas this year.  I have several at work that others keep on my sunny windowsills   It seems I am the plant rehab person in the office.  I’ll be working on a sad orchid soon (I have no experience with orchids).  I also have 2 Amaryllis growing at home, but they are just sprouting.  I don’t plant them until the holidays so I have something blooming in later winter.



Veg Beds


These are the greens I planted outside in late fall under a row cover in grow bags.  They handled the first few inches of snow, but are now covered by many feet so I am leaving them insulated there.  If we get a thaw, I will uncover them and the young carrots to see how they are doing.  Perhaps I may have early spring lettuce and carrots this year.





This is how the pond looked for much of late fall until the snow came.  There was a thin film of ice over it most mornings, and as pictured in the shot at the top of the post.



IMG_0744Here’s one of my favorite views in winter of the pond, veg beds along the fence and gazebo.  You can see the thicker ice in the pond after the first storm and now it is covered in snow.


There is my meadow in the distance beyond the fence.  Like the birdhouses, it is covered in snow the seeds awaiting the warmth of spring to fill it with gorgeous blooms.


A couple of visitors came by to say hello in December.  Not much else visiting on except for birds oh and deer late at night or early in the morning.  I am looking to put out some suet for the birds, but I will have to be careful as that sharpie hawk is looking for a feeding station of his own with lots of juicy birds.  I received a new camera for Christmas from the hubby (a big surprise) so I hope to learn to use it soon to get sharper images of critters from farther away. (Run your cursor over the image to get a description these birds)



Garden’s Eye Verse

 This months poem is a continuation of my Christmas Eve post, Giving.  I hope you enjoy it.


Be like a ripple in the water

gathering as a wave,

moving about the earth

nourishing everything you pass.

Donna Donabella


“Grow Your Blog” Party


I have decided to participate in this wonderful event to meet new bloggers from around the world.  The 250 bloggers signed up so far are from a variety of different types of blogs.  I love finding new blogs and welcome new readers as well.

As part of the blog post you are encouraged to do a giveaway.  I have many wonderful garden books that I have decided to part with.  Some new, some gently/barely used and some a little more lovingly used.  So I have decided to give away away 10 garden books.  Look for the post and giveaway on January 19th.  The winners will be announced at the end of January/beginning of February.  It will be open to all readers.

If you want to grow your readership, or meet some new bloggers I invite you to join Vicki@2 Bags Full for this blog party.  You can check out the details here.


Next up on the blog:     Monday will be a tale of the blooms that never showed up last year.   This month I will continue with another Garden Book Review, and a new Simply the Best series while adding some Wildflower Tales.  I have that a special post coming on the evening of the 18th about the Blog Party and Giveaway.  I hope you will join me.

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. See my current post now.

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:

    Donna, four feet of snow is extreme, makes for good pictures though. I hope they are good at keeping the roads cleared where you are. State of emergency here if we get six inches. No snow here at the moment though, so far this Winter we have had a scattering on two occasions which lasted a couple of days each time. Mind you I think I could put up with your Winters if we could also get a proper Summer.

    • Donna says:

      Indeed it is extreme if you are not living here Alistair. We are known for our snow and we average between 100-120 inches. And yes we are very good at keeping roads cleared so most times snow is not an issue for driving but I will say when we get 2 ft in a day driving is hazardous because the snow is falling so fast….about 3 inches an hour at times. I do think having a wonderful summer most years helps us deal with the snow. You either get used to it or you move. I grew up with lots of snow since I was a child so I like it just not for 3-4 months 🙂

    • Donna says:

      Diana my visitors are very knowledgeable regarding any obstacles like veg beds or bushes or the pond or other hardware around the garden…which is amazing since they come in to the garden when it is dark. We caught 5 deer moving along the fence last night and discouraged them from jumping the fence.

  2. Barbie says:

    So different everything looks when it’s covered with snow. I love it. I have to admit. But I’m happy not having to deal with it.

    • Donna says:

      I hear you Barbie…so beautiful but hard to grow veggies for a long time. I cannot wait for my lettuce growing indoors to be ready and I wonder what the lettuce and carrots are doing under the snow…I hope they are waiting for warm weather 🙂

  3. Donna says:

    You are opposite of us. We had a mild beginning to December followed with a lot of the white stuff. You will see the backyard in my next post under a foot of snow. The garden really looks like a different property in snow, especially around your pond. I, unlike many, really like what the snow does to many gardens that plan for it in planting and garden structure Your gazebo and arbor really make the garden a winter delight.

    • Donna says:

      Our December was mild by our standards but you were so much more so. We had 30s and 40s with sun, rain but little to no snow through the first 3 weeks. It was amazing to see 4 feet of snow in a week to 10 days at the end. Now we are headed back to the 40s with 50s predicted by next Sunday. A January thaw but for how long who can tell. Glad you like the winter garden. I figured if we have 10 feet of snow on average and 3-4 months of winter I want to enjoy the look of it.

  4. Cathy says:

    How lovely to have fresh herbs in the middle of winter! I have some rosemary and bay indoors over winter. The snow looks lovely – hope we get some more soon!

    • Donna says:

      Cathy I tried keeping herbs but until I had grow lights I wasn’t successful. I started last year with a few and this year added many more. It certainly extends the season having them. Wishing snow for you too…we are due for a warm up so we will lose a lot this week.

    • Donna says:

      Thank you Christina. The roads are cleared pretty quickly although when we get a big storm like the 2 feet the roads are snow covered as they keep trying to keep them clear…it is hard when it snows so much…but we go out just carefully. I have had to learn to drive on snow covered roads in snow storms. I don’t like it though. Businesses never close and schools rarely…we just adapt 🙂

  5. HolleyGarden says:

    After having two years of mild weather, we are having a “normal” winter. No snow (yet) but a little sleet and freezing temps every night. Your snow is so pretty. I just love to see gardens in the snow. The rain chain looks like little snowcones lined up in a row! Glad to hear you’re recovering from the flu. It’s been a bad year for it, and I think this year’s strain is very serious. Take care, and keep warm!

    • Donna says:

      I have a feeling we will see normal seasons all over this year. Glad you enjoyed the snowy garden. I love my rain chain as it gives a bit of character or whimsy on the front porch. I had lots of rest over the holidays, 10 days, which helped me get well. Thanks Holley!!

  6. debsgarden says:

    You have me shivering! I don’t know if my bones could take so much snow! It is quite beautiful, but I definitely would have to buy some warmer clothes!

    • Donna says:

      Oh Deborah I assure you with toasty clothes and heat (even a fireplace) we keep warm….well except for the really cold days with near zero temps. We try not to go outside too much on those days 🙂

  7. Kalantikan says:

    Four feet of snow is something i cannot fathom at all, like Barbie I am happy i dont have to deal with it! But looking at photos is much different, so i love all of them, they are alien to me, but i love looking at all of them. I can understand how difficult it is to keep something green and growing like your vegies. So you keep them lighted all the time? or else they will be etiolated!

    The more i will keep on posting warm colors for you and my winter clime blogger friends. Keep warm and healthy Donna!

    • Donna says:

      Thanks for colors this winter. Once the snow melts I have wonderful weather for about 5-6 months. But during winter I grow herbs and lettuces under grow lights. They stay under them all winter until it is warm enough to go back outside.

  8. bumblelush says:

    Whoa, you did get a lot of snow! It looks so pretty, especially the pond and gazebo. I like the contrast you showed of the snowy outdoors and the seeds emerging inside. I also like your indoor herb garden, especially the cilantro. I love cooking with it but I’ve never been able to grow it and am curious if you have any tips or tricks?
    I’m looking forward to seeing the blooms from last year. Thanks for linking up!

    • Donna says:

      It is easy to grow indoors under grow lights and with heat mats. For outdoors, I find it likes the early spring warmth. Lots of sun in the AM but shade in the PM so it won’t bolt so fast in the hotter weather. They say you have to succession plant rows of it once it warms up more since it naturally goes to seed. So harvesting fast is essential. If it bolts too fast in hot weather you can harvest the coriander seed or plant it again once the fal cool down comes.

  9. Carver says:

    I always enjoy your posts. I love the snow garden. Your Christmas Cactus is a beauty. I miss mine. I used to take it outside in the summer and one winter forgot to get it inside in time.

  10. Island Threads says:

    a month of changes Donna, I can imagine how beautiful the snow covered garden was in the moonlight, I love seeing snow in moonlight, even without the snow the moors at the back of my house look amazing in moonlight, I gather you are not bothered with light polution either isn’t it wonderful,
    congratulations on all your indoor growing success,
    keep warm and keep well, Frances

    • Donna says:

      The light pollution is at a minimum in the gardens as we do have neighbors who keep some outside lights on but not the neighbors on either side. I can imagine the absolute beauty of those moors. I hope to visit the moors of Scotland one day and maybe even venture to your island 🙂

  11. Skeeter says:

    Burrrrr, the snow looks cold but oh so pretty. We are expecting some spring like temps this weekend so I fear what will happen in our gardens as I know more cold is due… Keep warm and stay well…

    • Donna says:

      Thanks Skeeter…we are in the 50s this weekend so the garden is one big puddle and very saturated from the fast melt. Then it will turn into a skating rink as the temps cool down this week.

  12. b-a-g says:

    The little tree is doing a great job at supporting that drift of snow. I’m convinced that the more you ignore xmas cacti, the more they flower.
    It sounds like you’ve got the winter blues. Keep warm Donna, I hope your bulbs start sprouting soon.

    • Donna says:

      You read me too well. We had sun and warmer temps this week so the blues are gone, but now we want spring right away…winter is returning this week so I will have to be patient….

  13. PlantPostings says:

    Wow, what a difference the snow makes! The photos through your window look like black and white shots–which give them structure and interest. I hope you’re feeling much better now, Donna!

    • Donna says:

      Thanks Beth. I love experimenting with the shots. I am feeling much better and hope the good health continues into spring so I can get out there as soon as it dries out enough. Right now the garden is under water and too soupy to venture into after the fast melt we just had.

  14. Eileen says:

    What a lovely series of images, your yard is beautiful even with the snow. It is neat to see all the animal tracks. And I love the cute bluebird, I hope they stay safe from the Hawk in your photo. Wonderful post, have a great week ahead.

    • Donna says:

      Eileen I think seeing the tracks in the snow keeps me going as I imagine the critters frolicking around the garden. The bluebirds visits are special and that Sharpie is watching anyone who ventures close.

  15. Janet, The Queen of Seaford says:

    I like the view of your pond in the snow too. Lovely setting with the gazebo and fence with arbor.
    Sorry to hear you had the flu earlier this winter, seems it is hitting hard this year. Does your school system require a flu shot?
    So you are the plant doctor? Good for you!!

    • Donna says:

      Welcome back Michelle and Happy New Year! Glad you liked the snowy landscape. Wishing you some snow this winter. I would love to see your garden draped in snow 🙂

  16. Janet/Plantaliscious says:

    There is something almost magical about seeing new growth when outside the earth is covered by a thick layer of snow. I love that view of the pond area, all white and glistening. Here’s hoping that you get a great crop of spring carrots and salads.

  17. Carolyn says:

    Lovely Snow pictures, Donna. I’m loving our Winter… everything except the extreme cold. We have fresh snow this morning. Erased all my critter tracks so now I have a fresh palette. We’ve had deer all though my gardens although we never see them… just their tracks. Stay warm, sweet friend!

    • Donna says:

      Thanks Carolyn…I love seeing your snow pictures too…we have had a warm up and now rain which makes for a slippery mess…50s this weekend and then back to 30s and eventually more snow. I see my darling little devil deer as they walk the perimeter of my fence and then jump in and look for goodies…with a thaw they will definitely be eating plants that have new growth under the snow right now…you stay warm too!! 🙂

  18. RamblingWoods says:

    Thoughtful as always. I look at the snow and wonder what is going on underneath and at the pond and wonder the same..I am hoping to be feeling well by springtime and be able to garden..thank you for all the support Donna… hugs..Michelle

    • Donna says:

      I always wonder too Michelle…it is amazing to see all the growth once the snow melts…I am praying you will be well to garden as it will be very healing for you…I also hope to visit you once I retire to share our gardens!! Hugs to you my dear friend!

  19. Jen @ Muddy Boot Dreams says:

    Hi Donna, the grow bags that are outside don’t freeze solid? Plants can still grow in them during the cold winter? Even under the snow?

    That’s pretty amazing…

    And the veggies that you have started inside, do you use a special grow light for them?


    • Donna says:

      No Jen they don’t seem to freeze solid but it is an experiment so I will be monitoring how they do in the bags. The snow seems to act like a blanket so actually they should be fine as long as they are covered with snow. I have a grow stand with shelves and grow lights. I also have heat mats. It keeps my herbs warm with lots of light and the seeds I start seem to do great. The grow lights can be fluorescent…but I think they are specifically T5 lights. I use the grow stand to start veggies and some flowers indoors to put out in spring and summer.

  20. Tootsie says:

    Well hello there!!! First I want to thank you so much for linking in today…I have been absent from my own party a lot lately, and I feel terrible! My internet is acting like a diva this last while and it is hard for me to even load my own page much less a link or two! So..forgive me…I am trying!
    This is a great post!!! even with the snow (that I am so sick of here!!! lol ) …very pretty shares this week my friend…I hope you will link in again soon…if my internet will allow me to…I am going to try to share this post with the tootsie time facebook page!
    ¸.•´¸.•*¨) ¸.•*¨)
    (¸.•´ (¸.•´ .•´ ¸¸.•¨¯`•.

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