Gardens Eye Journal-September 2013

IMG_3285 The pessimist complains about the wind; the optimist expects it to change; the realist adjusts the sails.  ~ William Arthur Ward


August flew by in a blur.  It was a grueling month at work where I had a month to get a huge project done.  It was 3 projects now one with a tight deadline that I wasn’t so sure I could make.  I spent long 10-12 hour days working in the office and some weekends.  By the end, I was exhausted, drained and mentally fried.

And the garden sat by growing with little tending except for my wonderful garden helper who watered and picked veggies (look at all those tomatoes and the harvest has just begun).  I spent a total of an hour a week in the garden, picking and clicking pictures.  But all in all it was wholly unsatisfying not being able to get out in the garden.  At the end of the work day I was too tired to move and usually I was strolling in at 8 or 9 pm due to the hour commute.

I have had 3 vacation days all summer, and with the school year starting we are moving into high gear with more projects ending up on my DSCN1866plate.  Not at all what I expected.  I was hoping for some vacation time, but I will take a Friday here or there.  I do need a proper vacation sometime soon.  Some time away, but I cannot leave the garden just yet as she is producing so well.  But more on that later in the post.

It is said that we are too busy in our lives these days.  And we have become disconnected from our center, nature.  I know this to be true for me.  I thrive on being outside and my garden has always been that center for me.  Not being in it most of the summer has thrown me off kilter.  Sitting beneath the shade of a tree, smelling the flowers and grass, hearing the cicadas and birds or sitting beside the pond listening to the water play upon the rocks is therapy that I deary rely upon.  It grounds me to what is truly important in life.

If I get into these long days and big projects, I can find myself caught in a downward spiral that will lead to unhealthy habits.  So as August ends, I am trying to find that center again.  Nature is my renewal and what breathes life into my soul.  I am slowing down right now as I try to reconnect with nature rhythms.

I will say there are not many long shots of the garden this month as they are overgrown and unsightly, and a bit embarrassing to show.  But the fall chores will start in September and I will be clutter clearing the garden as it needs a healthy dose of attention.  As I review this past month, I am joining Helen@The Patient Gardener’s Weblog for her End of Month View.




DSCN1730The best word to describe August is dry.  Less than an inch of rain fell all month which is so different than any month so far this year.  But the hot, drier, less humid weather has made for a wonderful harvest.

At least I was able to look out of my office windows every day and enjoy the sun.  I rose each morning to a fabulous sunrise and drove home as the sun was setting.  The color and majesty of the sky did buoy me many days.

The picture of the sky here is but one of those magnificent sunrises as the sun painted the clouds each morning.


What’s Growing


Front Gardens


This is the front garden holding its own in mid August.  It needed some trimming of the lavenders as they were very stressed from all the rain in spring and July, and then the dry hot weather.  I lost one so far and hope the others will recover.


Back Garden


This is to the right of the gazebo near one of the rain gardens.  Without my intervention the Obedient plants took over the whole area.  They make a magnificent drift of flowers in late summer and the pollinators and hummers love them.  They even swallowed up the shepherd’s hook that is holding up this hanging pot.




 The first aster are out.  These are a low growing variety that seems to be starting to bloom in late summer.  I believe it is Aster oblongifolius ‘October Skies’ or as it is know now, Symphyotrichum oblongifolium.




 This one of the lobelia that actually bloomed this year.  After the drought last year I wasn’t sure if these water lovers would rebound.  This one is ‘Hadspen Purple’.




The Clethra out did itself again this year.  The smell was heavenly and the bees thronged to it daily.  This is Clethra alnifolia ‘Ruby Spice’ .




The Hardy Hibiscus are stunning this year putting on quite a show.  This is a dinner plate size one that has swirls of pink that change as it matures.  I believe it is ‘Luna Pink Swirl’ a variety of Hibiscus moscheutos.



IMG_3268This is another rudbeckia.  I think ‘August Sun’.  It is towering almost 6 feet behind the new birdhouse.  Rudbeckias sustain my late summer garden with color much like the traditional ones in the first photo.


And the heleniums are putting on a show especially in the part shade.  These are likely ‘Red Jewel’.



My garden is not complete in late summer without the Giant Burnet or Sanguisorba officinalis that is native to Asia.



Veg Gardens

August has been wonderful.  Lots of eggplant and cucumbers.  I made my first pickles (refrigerator Bread and Butter variety) as we only grow the pickling cukes.  My garden helper does not like cukes unless they are very pickled.  These were delicious and I ate the whole jar.  And here are those tomatoes again.  We lost all but one heirloom plant that is finally ripening.  These are all hybrids grown from seed.  They are amazing especially the plum tomatoes that are huge, heavy and very meaty.  We made homemade sauce from just 4.  The beans did not rebound as I was hoping after being chewed down by voles.




This the burgundy okra we grew or I should say its flower.  The plant is gorgeous as a flowering plant with its red stems.  And isn’t the flower amazing.  The plants are 3 feet high producing mounds of okra.  Very tasty and tender.





The meadow is showing its messy summer side.  The goldenrod is over 6 feet high in some spots.



IMG_3618The August pond lilies are fading and yellowing a bit.  The water clears in late summer and there is so much more you can see.

IMG_3624Like the large tadpoles that are growing.  There are several that love to sun themselves near the shore.




 august birds

And speaking of critters….August brought many of the juvenile birds into the garden.  Starting top middle…that is a young bluebird looking for any berries left.  The many young sparrows visited daily and took baths both in water and dirt and just relaxed on our patio table.  Next I think that is a young house finch.  The young sparrows also tried to partake of the yummy liquid in the hummingbird feeders.  They tried many times to figure out how to get some.  They chased the hummers, but the hummers waited patiently and then came back.  You can see the coloring of the goldfinches is changing as they become more olive colored in fall and winter.  Isn’t the hummer beautiful.  I am so glad we opted for a new feeder.  The hummers visit all the flowers still and then get some extra yum.  Aren’t the feathers glorious and you can see the wings curled to her side.



The Wide Shot

This is something new I am joining.  Thanks to Christina@Creating My Own Garden of the Hesperides  for mentioning this new meme.  Xericstyle is hosting this meme the first of every month, and all you have to do is post your favorite wide shot of your garden.  My favorite one is the view from my bedroom window surveying the entire back garden.  Here’s what the beginning of September looks like.  A bit messy and overgrown.

IMG_3628You can see the pond in the bottom right corner just off the patio where the tall grass is.




The covered spot is one of 4 raised beds.  Lots of flowers growing around it and making it hard to manage.  Need to gain control of the area again.



Gardens Eye Verse

Well that was August.  September is supposed to cool off quickly and I am looking forward to it as I need some cool weather to invigorate me as I work extra hard in the garden in fall.  Lots of projects, but those will wait for another post.

I leave you with some musings about August.  This hummingbird moth visited often in summer.  I was lucky to get a halfway decent picture.



August Muse

August seems such a strange month.
The weather shifting in and out of season.
And those glorious golden days,
The hot sun still parching my garden.
Flowers fading, fruit ripens
And my thoughts turn a bit melancholy.
As the raucous noise of summer fades,
And friends depart for their long journeys home.

Donna Donabella




 I hope you will join me for Seasonal Celebrations which is underway until the  Equinox around the 21st.  Read more about how to join in below.


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:  I’ll be doing more plant profiles in September starting with a Simply The Best post next Monday.  And I have a blogging anniversary on the 13th.  I may even add a few more reflective posts this month as time allows.

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. Loredana Donovan says:

    I love the shots of your front and back gardens, and your veggies look so healthy. I especially like those tomatoes–the sauce you made must have been delicious. Sorry you had to work so hard and hope you get some well-deserved vacation soon. Enjoyed the poem, too. Lovely post, Donna 🙂

    • Donna says:

      Thanks Loredana…the sauce was indeed delicious. I got some vacation as I have been sick and have not been able to work. So a bit of forced vacation.

  2. pbm says:

    Donna, your garden looks exuberant and beautiful. Very nice photos! Hope you can carve out some time for yourself each day. susie

  3. Laura Bloomsbury says:

    don’t know how your garden grows so well with the amount of time spent working. It must take care of itself. Love the views and the close-ups especially the drifts. As usual a brilliant quote – I often complain about the wind 🙁

    • Donna says:

      Laura so glad you enjoyed the garden…it is a resilient garden as it does fend for itself far too much. I have begun to be more of a realist after years of howling at the wind.

  4. Christina says:

    I am actually speechless, your post contained so much. Your garden is full and although you say you haven’t had much rain it is full of life. I do hope you work settles down to be manageable soon. Good luck with organising a holiday.

    • Donna says:

      Thank you Christina….all the rain from months earlier certainly helps and the natives I grow seem to be used to the crazy weather. A day here or there is all I can muster at this time but I will take it.

  5. Pam's English Garden says:

    Donna, I do empathize — how well I remember those all-consuming projects and deadlines before I retired from school administration! My garden and my blog were non-existent back then. Both of yours are stunning, and you continue to amaze my with how much you do! One day, when you eventually retire, you will look back with wonder yourself. I would love to visit your beautiful garden one day! P. x

  6. Hannah says:

    Donna- thanks for visiting my blog. Your garden looks great, so many flowers blooming this late. I have a lot of seasonal bloomers and most are over now, but the Anemones are great now. I just started getting tomatoes finally too, mine are all heirlooms. I grow the Sanguisorba off. too and really enjoy it. I wanted to comment about your vole troubles with beans, I have them too, and they nipped a lot of my pole bean stems in one area, even though I wrapped the stems with aluminum foil which usually stops them; I also resort to putting nails into the ground next to the seed so they can’t come up underneath the plant as easily. I have had a lot of success in preventing damage to bush beans by putting a lot of lava rock in the trench when I plant the seeds, and also a spriinkling of cayenne pepper. They hate lava rock, I also put it in planting holes for daylilies and stopped the damage.

    • Donna says:

      Hannah thank you for your lovely comment. And your hints to foil the voles are wonderful. I will have to give them a try as this is the first year they have attacked the veg garden.

  7. Lavender Cottage says:

    Sorry Donna, I’m reading about the long days you put in and I’m thinking it’s too bad your retirement didn’t happen when you first thought it would.
    Despite neglect and little rain, things are looking pretty good in your gardens. I have Clethra ‘Vanilla Spice’ and if the rabbits would leave it alone over winter, I might see some nice blooms too. It was a trial plant from PW about 4 years ago and is still only about a foot high. 🙁
    Enjoy the rest of the Labour Day weekend.

    • Donna says:

      Judith thank you for your thoughtful comment. I have had to net my small shrubs in winter to keep the rabbits at bay. it has helped in giving them a few years to come into their own.

  8. Cheryl says:

    Oh, my, Donna! It seems we, your readers, must be wonderfully important to you. That you should manage such a thoughtful, beautiful post. Stunning.

  9. tina@inthegarden says:

    So sorry you are working so hard. I keep thinking you were supposed to be retired! Total bummer. The good news is the garden will always be fine for a bit without the gardener. Hopefully you can back to it soon. Cool weather is due here tomorrow and I can’t wait!

    • Donna says:

      The cool weather has been wonderful…it is a bummer that I was supposed to be retired and now I am busier than ever. The garden will wait a bit more.

  10. Beth says:

    The meadow and pond areas look pretty. Love the heleniums and obedient plants. There is a lot of beauty in your gardens, Donna. Sorry you have limited time to enjoy it. Glad you are getting yummy tomatoes and cukes. Your sunrise photo is just AMAZING!!!

    • Donna says:

      I think nature has been kind to me Beth giving me such lovely sunrises to help me start those grueling days…and the tomatoes are overflowing finally.

  11. Donna says:

    I love the Obedient Plant. It makes such a nice garden vignette. Great capture on your hummingbird moth too. I did not see too many of them this year. Like you, we have had little rain and I stopped watering a month ago. The asters are doing well and so is the Hibiscus. This year they have gone wild in fullness. Your garden looks great, it is hard to tell it had little rain.

    • Donna says:

      Thanks Donna. The hibiscus are amazing this year in constant flower. I am loving them. The hummingbird moths were busy in July and early August with the flowering of the monarda. The abundant rain we had all spring and into July has helped the garden in dry August. September has brought 4 inches of rain so far.

  12. Rebecca says:

    Wow, your gardens look so wonderful. Mine are struggling at this time of the growing season. I really need to spend some time cleaning them up a bit. 🙂

    • Donna says:

      My garden will appreciate a clean up too. It will look so different come October once I get to more of it. Thanks for your visit Rebecca.

  13. Laurrie says:

    For all its neglect and all your worry over it, your garden looks spectacular! How pleased I was to see your frilly white Obedient plant. Mine (‘Miss Manners’) simply disappeared this year and I miss it, I had such a nice stand of it in previous years. This year a total no-show. Yet yours took over.

    And your ‘Ruby Spice’ clethra is a beauty. I have that too and the scent is wonderful. I want to try the burnet you grow, the furry red sanguisorba — love it. It’s been on my list for a while.

    Vegetables, flowers, it all looks good. Take a deep breath and enjoy.

  14. Cathy says:

    Some lovely pictures of your flowers Donna – I really like the look of Clethra, which is new to me I think. Hope you get some time to rejuvenate in the garden soon!

  15. Susan says:

    Another great post. I’ve picked up tips on part shade colour and a fragrant plant. You also reminded me to think of habitat for our water loving wildlife. Overwork, in my opinion, is a form of workplace abuse. Some time off would be a very good idea.

    • Donna says:

      Oh Susan you are so wise…it is abuse and I need to slip from its cycle and regain my inner balance…glad you learned so much from the post!!

  16. PlantPostings says:

    I think your garden looks fine! You’ve developed your garden to the point where it maintains itself. Sorry you’ve had to work so hard, Donna. I know what that feels like, and I’m glad to have a slower pace now. Take care!

  17. Andrea says:

    Hi Donna, i can very well relate with you. At least you always go home everyday unlike me who can’t even go home every weekend. At least your garden is looking very well, already knows how to be independent, mine just depends on its own, and i wonder if they are all eaten by larvae when i go home.

    My sunsets i see everyday, but sunrise are at home in the province. Whatever we are predisposed in, we are happy nurtured by nature around us. At least in my case i was able to be out of town to that New 7 Wonders of the World last long weekend. Take your time, you will be okay! Best regards.

  18. Eileen says:

    I would so love to be retired, I am amazed at how much you can do. Your gardens are beautiful. Gorgeous flowers, sunset and photos. Have a happy week!

  19. KL says:

    Hi Donna,

    I thought you retired this summer? So, I was getting a bit confused while reading about your projects and was constantly checking the website URL to make sure it was you :-). I know what you mean by nature revitalizing our soul — I have to get out into the garden every day — and go for nature visit, trail, hikes, etc; else, I will be dead!!

    Huh! if your that garden has grown out of control and can’t be shown, then what will you say when you look at mine :-P?

    Lovely, lovely pictures..

  20. Kathy Sturr of the Violet Fern says:

    I love seeing wide shots of gardens! I started taking a longer view this year after sorting through all my photos and noticing only close-ups of flowers. It is refreshing to see an entire garden setting although those flower close-ups are still stunning. I have pond envy. It was so hot and humid this summer that even moi lost ambition to dig. Pond soon. I love Obedient Plant. I look forward to its blooms so late in the season and notice that hummingbirds really appreciate it, too. I am sure you missed your garden – summers tend to become too busy. Now that its cooler, I hope you are able to spend more time in yours. Me, too. Your garden is still beautiful but I know how you feel about the “messiness.” I am feeling the same way this year!

    • Donna says:

      How very nice of you to say so Kathy. I know you will get that pond dug as you have such drive when it comes to projects. I need a good shove to finally get back in the garden. We will reunite soon as it needs a good haircut, shave and washing up!!

  21. b-a-g says:

    I’m captivated by your obedient plants. They remind me of foxgloves. My goldenrod looks quite tame compared to yours. I hope you do take Fridays off – having a day off work to do nothing except gardening is such a treat.

    • Donna says:

      Thanks B-A-G. The Obedient does resemble a foxglove a bit. My goldenrod is a native that is quite aggressive and will grow and grow making fields golden everywhere. I am just recovering from a bad virus and hope to get those Fridays soon to have fun in the garden cleaning up.

  22. Alberto says:

    Donna I think you lied to me, I don’t see anything neglected here!!!! Love that patch of physostegia you have in two colours, it’s a plant rather easy to grow in my garden too and now that I see yours I decided I want to plant more. That variegated arundo donax (right?) looks impressive, I’m thinking about planting one in my garden too, although I’m afraid it’s getting a little too invasive… How’s yours?

    • Donna says:

      Oh Alberto how sweet of you to say so about my garden. The Obedient plant is wonderful. I do believe it is a arundo donax. It is spreading a bit but not invasive at all although it is in a dry spot at the edge of the pond.

  23. debsgarden says:

    Donna, I can feel your frustration over not being able to get into the garden! I hope that soon your schedule will allow for some much needed rest and garden therapy. Due to some nerve damage my recuperation from hip surgery is going much slower than anticipated, and I am dying to dig my hands in the earth! We gardeners NEED that connection. Nevertheless, your own garden doesn’t seem to suffer from neglect. I love the exuberance.

    • Donna says:

      Oh Deborah I am sorry to hear your recuperation is delayed. I know of all people right now you do understand my frustration, and I caught a nasty virus this past week and was home in bed. Oh well I will get to be back in the garden as will you but all in good time.

  24. Crafty Gardener says:

    Your gardens are looking wonderful Donna. You managed to capture the hummingbird moth really well. They flit in and out so quick don’t they. I’ve been busy cutting down some plants that have finished blooming which is giving a bit more room for the late bloomers. I hope you manage to get some quality time off work soon.

    • Donna says:

      Thanks he was hard to capture indeed…I got some time off last week as I was down with a nasty virus. Not the down time I would have liked but it helped me rest. Now to find time in the garden soon.

Comments are closed.