Garden’s Eye Journal-August 2013


Tears of joy are like the summer rain drops pierced by sunbeams.  ~Hosea Ballou



Recently I was reminded about the old adage of “seeing the glass half full instead of seeing it half empty”.  I have never quite been able to master this shift in perspective.  I could only see my glass half empty, and always wanting to fill it.  How does someone see a glass half full?

As I read further about this idea of ‘glass half full’ I realized it is really a paradigm shift from perceiving a lack in my life.  The thought IMG_3049that something is missing.  And if we shift our thoughts to think more about bounty, we see our glass as half full.  What we have in the glass is a gift, and we have gratitude instead of want.  Then the more we express gratitude, the more we attract bounty and the wonderful cycle continues.

So I am trying to practice this shift, by catching myself when I see that empty glass.  Instead, I am looking at my life more as an open field that I can fill with all the wonders of a garden (all the wonders of my life).  No longer a glass missing something, but a glass waiting to be filled.

I am realistic and know it will take time, but I am happier knowing there is so much I can fill my life with especially as I continue to make changes in my life and the path I am on.   So with July just ending, I am looking for all the abundance my garden has shared with me.  I am joining Helen@The Patient Gardener’s Weblog for her End of Month View.




 july sky

July surprised me with so many astounding views.  There were sunrises that were full of reds and orange (top left and bottom right).  The storm clouds were numerous and sometimes looked like imposing mountains.  With the high humidity and heat of July we even had some fog (bottom left).  And most evenings, those subtle creamsicle (bottom center) skies gently saw us into dreamtime.

July may have been hot with many days above average in the 90s and humidity peaking at 100%, but the rain continued (another 5 inches) albeit after a bit of a dry spell for about 10 days.  July ended with cooler days in the low 80s and even low 70s.  The damp soil and cool down will make my garden chores easier.




What’s Growing


Front Gardens


Although the front gardens look colorful and there are lots of blooms, I did not have a chance to cut back, weed or control the volunteers.  Oh well I will eventually get to all these chores.   The hydrangeas were gorgeous until we nearly hit 100 degrees.  Do excuse the harsh light in the pictures in much of this post as my time was limited as to when I could get outside.




This side of the walk was equally bountiful with blooms of echinacea, phlox, coreopsis, lavender and roses to name a few.  Check out the close up below.




Yes, I know I did not cut back the roses, but I love the color combo here.  Oops, I see a few volunteers.  There is a maple tree trying to grow in the middle of the rose.  They just think they can grow anywhere.




Side Garden


I love this combo that repeats itself throughout the wall garden.  I started one grouping and nature liked it so much she created the rest.  This is native heliopsis with monarda.




I have a small garden in front of the wall garden and it grew in beautifully.  This is echinacea ‘Summer Sky’.  I love the iridescence of the blooms in the summer sun.  It goes so nice with the sky blue delphiniums in the wall garden.  Can you spot the huge oregano going to flower in the back.



Back Garden


This is a little seen corner of the garden.  The view is at the end of the fence standing in my neighbor’s yard.  As you turn the corner you see the red garden.




Here in the red garden, the deer left these lilies alone and the hummers and pollinators enjoyed the monarda which was so tall and plentiful.  Below are some of my favorite combos from the back gardens this July.





Allium sphaerocephalon mixed well with the miniature pink fairy rose in the back gardens.  The fairy roses continue to bloom without much fuss this summer.





Another great orange echinacea.  Not sure which one it is, but I loved how it looked with the pinks of  Hydrangea arborescens ‘Invincibelle Spirit’ , lilies and the fairy rose.





Here is one of the pink yarrows that grows throughout the back gardens snuggling up to Asclepias tuberosa ‘Hello Yellow’.  This combo is in the jungle near the gazebo.  I am clearing up this garden and moving some plants to add another veg bed this fall.  I am hoping I do not have to move these plants as they took a while to establish.





Echinacea purpurea paired with tall garden phlox.  I have planted so many varieties of phlox, I sometimes think they have crossbred and created some new colors.  Not sure of this one, but I love the light purple and white eye.



IMG_3097Obedient plant is just blooming, and if I am not careful we will be overtaken by all the drifts that have emerged since the rain this spring and summer.

IMG_3027 My native Tradescantia ohiensis that blooms in summer in the shade garden.


Swamp milkweed looked splendid this year.   I hope to get some seed from it this year.  I will be collecting seed from Common milkweed, Swamp milkweed and Butterfly weed to donate to Monarch Watch’s Bring Back the Monarch Campaign.  I am sure I will have plenty to share with anyone who would like some.  First come, first serve basis.




Veg Gardens

july veggies

The bounty of the veg garden has been tremendous.  We have probably 100 green tomatoes mostly hybrids as the heirlooms succumbed to blight again even the grafted ones.  Lots of red onions and 50 heads of garlic.  We pickled the cukes and more are growing.  I have been picking lots of bush and pole beans that have been delicious.  And we dug up all the blue potatoes.  I grew 4 bags this year and they were plentiful but small.  It seems I may have tried to put too many in one bag.  The sweet peppers are finally growing along with eggplants.  We are still waiting for the many okra to finally flower.  I fear they will all come at the same time with the tomatoes.  Oh well.  Lots to eat and preserve….yummy!!!

On Sunday I came out to the bean bed to find it decimated by voles, I believe, as there were little teeth marks in some beans, and all the bush beans but 2 were chewed down in small pieces a strewn everywhere.  And all but 1 pole bean was lost.   If you are going to kill my plants then eat them…don’t just chew ’em up and spit ’em out….I need a predator for these varmints…where’s the fox!




 july pond:meadow

The meadow is in its messy summer time with Monarda fistulosa, helianthus, Joe Pye, rudbeckia and goldenrod.  The pond continues to be overcome with the water lily, but the frogs love it even though it keeps the birds at bay.





july critters

The critters were also plentiful this summer.  Here are the delightful July visitors:  rabbits, hummers, swallowtails, the one and only monarch, fox, bluebirds at the new house with their second brood, remnants of the chipping sparrow’s second brood, new young frogs, young buck, black squirrel (love his expression), osprey flying high and cedar waxwings come back.  The center picture is the black woodchuck that we saw at work.




Gardens Eye Verse

 Here’s to wonderful summer childhood memories.  I tried to capture them in the poem below.  I hope you enjoy it.  And as I remember summer, don’t forget the Seasonal Celebrations meme will start on September 1st.  See the details below.


Humid days, hazy days,
Crazy, busy travel days.
Fireworks and fair days,
Burgers, popsicles and s’more days.
Sprinklers and beach days,
Flip flops, sunburns, staying cool days.
Please never let them end-
These summer fun in the sun days!

 Donna Donabella


Come Join Us:

Seasonal Celebrations is a time for marking the change of seasons and what is happening in your part of the world during this time.  I hope you will join in by creating a post telling us how you celebrate this time of year whether summer or winter or something else.  Share your traditions, holidays, gardens and celebrations in pictures, poetry or words starting September 1st.

And it seems so appropriate to collaborate with Beth and her Lessons Learned meme.  What lessons have you learned this past season of summer here in the North and winter in the South.  Then tell us about your wishes, desires and dreams for this new season.The rules are simple.  Just create a post that talks about lessons learned and/or seasonal celebrations.  If you are joining in for both memes please leave a comment on both our blog posts.  Or if you are choosing to join only one meme, leave a comment on that blog post.  Make sure to include a link with your comment.

Beth and I will do a summary post of our respective memes on the equinox (the 22nd of September).  And we will keep those posts linked on a page on our blog.  Your post should be linked in the weekend before the equinox to give us enough time to include your post in our summary.  And if you link in a bit late, never fear we will include it on the special blog page (which I still have to create).  The badges here can be used in your post.   So won’t you join in the celebration!!


Next up on the blog:  Next Monday will be a tribute GBBD for my mom.  Then I will have another Garden Book Review followed by a combined Simply The Best-Herbs and Wildflower Tales.  Hopefully in September I will find a bit more time to write additional post.  And September means Seasonal Celebrations and  a Blogiversary.

I am 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.

I hope you will join me for my posts once a month at Beautiful Wildlife Garden. See my most current post now.  Most recent post is up.

As always, I’ll be joining Tootsie Time’s Fertilizer Friday.

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, 2010-2013.  Any reprints or use of content or photos is by permission only.


  1. Island Threads says:

    wow Donna your garden looks fantastic, I love all your photos of the blooms and your bountyful veg, the critters are an interesting mix and lovely to see though not when they decimate the beans!
    could you put some sort of collar at the base of your beans to protect them, I am thinking of a plastic bottle, cut the bottom and top off and slide it over the plant when the plant young pushing it into the ground a bit to hold it, with pole beans you could even slide over the pole which would help hold it, just a thought,

    you could fill your glass by ‘counting your blessings’ 🙂 Frances

  2. Cathy says:

    Your garden is looking wonderful again this summer Donna! That Monarda really is tall, and looks lovely with those lilies against the white of the house. Also love the combination of phlox and cone flowers. 😀
    Oh, and who says the glass should be full anyway?…. If it’s full there is no space for more!

    • Donna says:

      And that has to be the best philosophy yet Cathy…just keep filling the glass and don’t worry since you want more space to fill it….the monarda are just fading and the later flowers are just starting…can’t wait to see more and more of them surprise me.

  3. Carolyn says:

    Your July was absolutely stunning, Donna. You have so much to be grateful for. As for the glass being half full or half empty… I always choose full… i just feel happier with that line of thinking. But then when I find I’m a little down, I go out and find someone to make happy, shifting my thoughts to someone else always fills whatever void there may be. Your beautiful post did that for me!

    • Beth says:

      Thank you for this post! Sometimes there are days when we are forced to rest and slow down a bit. So happy I chose that time to “visit” your garden. Heading out to my garden and to to “refill” my cup!

  4. Donna says:

    I just read another two posts on the glass being half full/empty. It must be the weather. People are reflecting on life lately. I accept what life offers but don’t let it stymie what could be. I admire your, ” I am looking at my life more as an open field that I can fill with all the wonders of a garden…”. I find the garden does what it does at this time of year and my interests now are more about wild nature and change. Spring is when I ‘like’ working in my garden. Summer, not at all – too hot and dry. Plus having spent time in others’ gardens, I like simplicity/complexities of nature outside the man made. I don’t know if you meant the literal garden or the growing of the mind and soul.

    • Donna says:

      Well you know I am always reflecting. I also don’t like working in the heat in summer…fall is a good time as well for me. I visualized a real garden when I was talking about a field, but the metaphor was more about my life and soul.

  5. Patrick says:

    Let me be blunt: I really stink at the milk glass type thinking. Don’t get me started on one day at a time. Admire those who can.

    Your garden looks so lush and some of your combos are inspired. My favorite is the echinacea and phlox combo.

    Keep up the good work, honey.

    • Donna says:

      Patrick I am so happy you were able to visit and you enjoyed the flowers….I look forward to visiting your blog. Oh and I admire blunt people.

  6. KL says:

    I don’t know which ones I liked more — the weather pictures, the flowers, the vegetable pictures and then critters — all so beautiful and lovely. You are so lucky to live in such a beautiful place and a big garden. Okay, I am looking at the glass half-empty then 🙂 as though our garden is small but enough for two of us and lots of nature also though hard to see as they come out in night only.

    How do you grow such big onions. My onions are always tiny because they start blooming and then I don’t cut the blooms as bees love them. So, my onions are always tiny.

    My oregano plants are profusely blooming and bees are just loving them — they don’t seem to leave the plants — I think they even spend the night there. Also, lovely butterflies around in the garden but can’t take pictures as they are not sitting still.

    • Donna says:

      Wish I had more butterflies but the bees are plentiful. I start my onions with small onion sets or starter onions and they grow nice and big then.

      Your garden is very full and beautiful….

  7. a gathering of days says:

    you have such beautiful gardens. I have always seen the glass as half full myself. I love your words about gratitude and how you are trying to see more in your life. I am sort of on the other side being sort of complacent and happy with whatever I have…even when what I have is not enough. I am trying now to “marry” the two so that I have a bit more motivation to reach out for the things I really want. It’s funny how we are sort of at opposite ends but both of us are working on fine tuning ourselves in a parallel way.

    • Donna says:

      I enjoyed your comment as it motivates me to be happy with whatever I have, and I think I am…..I like that we are working toward the same goal from opposite ends too….I see you have a blog and would love to read it perhaps someday if that is possible.

  8. Steven says:

    Ahhh, yes, the glass half empty or the glass half full…How very much I can relate.

    Let me suggest ‘When Things Fall Apart: Heart Advice for Difficult Times’ by Pema Chodron. It’s a quick and easy read and completely touches on changing this type of thinking. It has done wonders for me through times of severe crisis and would also help anyone who wants to see the bounty of what is in the glass (full or not).

    Garden looks amazing! Great pics!


    • Donna says:

      Ah you know me too well my friend. I bought the book and look forward to reading it shortly. I am sure I will have much to say about it. Glad you enjoyed the pics and can’t wait to connect more about photography.

  9. debsgarden says:

    Donna, I really enjoyed the wonderful overview of your garden. It looks like your glass is full to the brim! By the way, I was once trying to explain optimism vs pessimism to my middle son, who always seemed to look on the gloomy side of things. I held up a glass half full of water. “How much water is in here?” I asked. “Not enough to drink!” was his reply.

    • Donna says:

      Deborah I had to chuckle at your story…maybe it is part of being a middle child although we are always trying to stay in the middle and mediate things.

  10. DeniseinVA says:

    Your photos are really super, such a great variety to look through and enjoy. A very thought provoking post here and I enjoyed reading it, thank you 🙂

  11. RamblingWoods says:

    You know if was you who gave me the confidence to plant and take risks. I felt that I was so uneducated and such a novice that I wanted someone to tell me what to plant. Your gift of seeds and plants changed that and this year, I am doing what I want. I will make mistakes and that is OK..thank you … Michelle

    • Donna says:

      Michelle your words lifted me more than you can know….always a teacher you know. I look forward to each new plant and discovery you have and you know i will continue to help however I can.

  12. bettyl says:

    It seems that the blogosphere is ganging up on me today. I hurt my back moving a few weeks ago and it’s taking a long time to heal. Several blogs that I read today are about appreciating what you have (which I had already decided to do this morning!) so thanks for the support!

    Your garden looks so wonderfully gorgeous and colorful! I can’t wait for spring here in New Zealand.

    • Donna says:

      Oh I am sorry that you have had an injury…I have back problems from some injuries, but they seem to be less when I am in the garden. I am glad to hear my post help support your decision.

      How wonderful to think of spring so close and for me it is a long way off.

  13. Lavender Cottage says:

    For starters Donna, you’re displaying a good attitude for us to follow.
    Your garden is colourful, pretty and busy with wildlife. Looks like a bountiful harvest of veggies too.

  14. Beth says:

    Hi Donna, Your flowers are stunning! I love your front bed. Love your orangish echinaceas (and the “regular” ones too). I love the ‘Hello Yellow’ butterfly weed. You probably best not move it. I’ve heard they have a long taproot and are difficult to move successfully.
    I don’t know why, but I lost all 3 of my butterfly weed plants this year. I planted another, plus a swamp milkweed and another asclepias variety as well.
    I wanted to let you know I read your musings on your postponed retirement. What a disappointment, but I sense optimism, determination, and gratitude in you. The glass is definitely half full.
    be blessed, my friend! ~Beth

    • Donna says:

      Oh Beth your words really gave me a lift and I am being so much more optimistic… and when I am it does build on itself getting so much better.

      I will try to not move the Butterfly Weed but may have no choice. I plan to collect the seed and spread it a bit so maybe it will grow in other spots.

  15. Christina says:

    Everything looks wonderful, Donna, not sure why but this only just arrived, but so glad it did. Love the Monardas more than almost anything! I gave little smile when you said “a bit of a dry spell for about 10 days”; that doesn’t really even count as a dry period especially as you had so much rain! I don’t think I get 5 inches in a year!

    • Donna says:

      It does seem relative to your climate what a dry spell means…we are so fortunate here for the rain. The hummers have really loved the monarda too. Glad the post arrived even a bit late. It may have been due to a update from the server. Hope the next one arrives on time Monday.

  16. Curbstone Valley Farm says:

    I’ve had the same difficulty shifting from glass half empty, to half full, in my own perspective. I’ve been so frustrated with the farm this year that I caught myself being stuck in that mindset, and I’ve been trying take a consciously different view, but sometimes it’s a struggle. However, it is somewhat freeing turning my eye to the other perspective, when I can, and appreciating what we do have here, rather than obsessing on what is lacking.

    Looking at your garden, I would say your glass is running over though! My gardens look like a parched wasteland this year with our drought, but yours looks so lush and vibrant! I love the combination of the heliopsis with monarda, and those echinaceas are gorgeous! Your swamp milkweed blooms look very similar to our native narrowleaf milkweed here. I love milkweed in pink!

    • Donna says:

      I am sorry to hear that your garden has had some issues. I do remember reading about some of it. But I will say you seem to have such a wonderful harvest. Loved those lemons. I also try to look at the garden through the eye of what I have..and I do have a lush garden from all the rain….even if it has weeds.

  17. bridget says:

    So much in one post…so much going on in your garden. Really beautiful combination of colours. My fave plant from that lot…if I had to choose one…would be that orange Echinicea…beautiful. Love the pond too.

    • Donna says:

      I really loved that echinacea this year too Bridget…it was really fabulous and I have it in a few locations. The frogs and dragonflies have also been enjoying the pond.

  18. Brenda/the blonde gardener says:

    Your garden looks great in July! I couldn’t even begin to tell you my favorite bed or flower, but I do love that orange coneflower. and the swamp milkweed. and the obedient plant. I planted several obedient plants this year and hope they survive the deluge of rains we’ve been having. As far as the glass issue goes, if your glass gets full, I would get a bigger glass! 🙂
    Have a great weekend!

    • Donna says:

      I will definitely get a bigger glass Brenda. Your Obedient plant should love all the rain as I plant it in my flooded areas and it grows like crazy in those wet areas.

  19. b-a-g says:

    Donna – It all looks great but I’m most impressed by your echinacea as I’ve been trying to grow them from seed (unsuccessfully) for the last few years.

    • Donna says:

      Echinacea does seem to thrive in my garden as it is a native and likes the sun or part shade and the moist but well drained soil. I do have nasty clay and amended it a bit but it is still pretty clayish and echinacea seems to not mind it….I hope your echinacea seed proves more fruitful. It did take time for mine to grow in the meadow which was started from seed.

  20. Nell Jean says:

    Your garden looks gorgeous. We’ve had some scorching days lately that prudent people stay inside and postpone outside chores until it’s cooler.

    If you point out an errant tree seedling or a stray weed, that’s what I look at. Please just point out the pretties and name the ones I may not know.

    I think the glass half full is the one through which we see what we can do, not what we fail to do.

    • Donna says:

      I love that philosophy Nell Jean. I will keep it in mind….I see enough of the weeds and have been trying to ignore them and all the volunteers.

  21. ShonuffSistuh says:

    I have a hard time with the glass-is-half-full perspective as well; thank you for the reminder to look for a see the abundance in my life and in the universe. Your garden spoke *volumes* on the theme of abundance. I’m agog. And uplifted, just having seen the pics. What a gift you’ve passed to me across the ether. Thank you!

    • Donna says:

      Your blog has been quite an inspiration to me and I look forward to each and every post. It pleases me to have my post speak to you!

  22. susie says:

    Donna, Can you please give me more info about an Obedient plant? I’ve never heard of it. It struck me as looking a little like a Foxglove, but different. Is it in the same family? From the comments, it sounds like it will fare well in wet soil–is that your experience? and what about color options?

    Thanks, Susie

    • Donna says:

      Susie Obedient, Physostegia virginiana, is actually in the mint family and behaves just like it…very, very aggressive especially in the wetlands it needs. I have white and lavender. If you have lots of land and open areas that get wet, go ahead and plant with caution. It is a native in many states but not yours.

  23. Susie says:

    Hmmm. No wonder I haven’t heard of it…it isn’t around here. But I think I’ll pass. if it is in the mint family, that tells me everything I need to know about its aggressiveness in the garden.

    Thanks so much for the info.

  24. Jason says:

    Wow, you have a lot of garden, and so many beautiful flowers. I love the red garden. The yellow butterflyweed and orange Echinacea are very cool. The swamp milkweed has been outstanding here as well. And it is so true about those damn maple seedlings!

    • Donna says:

      Thanks Jason…it has been too much this year with little time for anything but work, but I am making my way back in to the garden soon and plan to renew it and myself with some new plans. Between the maple and ash seedlings I would be in the middle of another forest.

  25. Jen @ Muddy Boot Dreams says:

    Donna, I really enjoyed seeing the photos of your front garden, it’s so beautiful and lush.

    Now I have something to work towards in my front garden, the plants right now are smaller, but they grow, and hopefully one day they will be almost as lovely as yours.


    • Donna says:

      Jen thank you for those sweet words since right now my perspective is too close and too critical. It took me but a few years to grow them in so I know yours will be stunning soon.

  26. landscapelover says:

    Donna, your garden looks so lush and fabulous, and I loved the snaps of all your visiting creatures. What an abundance of riches.

    Good luck with your efforts to focus on the positive. So many people depress themselves with thoughts of what might have been, or ‘if only’… It is always a joy to be with someone who can see the sunshine through the storm.

  27. Janet/Plantaliscious says:

    So many gloriously feisty colour combinations, so many beautifully healthy plants. An abundance of good things, and way too much beauty distracting the eye for anyone to notice the occasional weed or upstart volunteer. Your garden must be such a source of delight Donna.

    • Donna says:

      It is such a delight Janet …it keeps me going along with the critters that visit. The veg garden is the main focus right now but soon it will be time to do some major work in the garden after a summer of neglect.

  28. Cora Howlett says:

    Donna, so enjoyed seeing all your great photos of your gardens and wildlife. Certainly think you will just keep improving (if that’s possible) your gardens. You’re a great gardener!!! Wish the other writers had more pictures for all of us to see and learn from. Thank you for all your hard work!

    • Donna says:

      Cora how absolutely lovely of you to say so. I love learning so I do hope the gardens will continue to improve. The work is worth it when others get such joy from my gardens and posts.

  29. Janet, The Queen of Seaford says:

    Wow, there is so much going on in your garden. My drumstick Allium did not come back this year. Love the purple of it. Think the deer leave those lilies alone because of being close to the Monarda? Nice combo. All your gardens have nice combinations of color.

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