Gardens Eye Journal-November 2013


“October’s the month
When the smallest breeze
Gives us a shower
Of autumn leaves.
Bonfires and pumpkins,
Leaves sailing down –
October is red
And golden and brown.”
–   Can Teach Song


Clocks just shifted yesterday, and the days of sunlight have grown shorter.  We are entering the cocoon of autumn as we finish up outside work, and batten down for a long winter soon enough.  Time in the garden is savored as it is fleeting.  The lake effect rain and bone chilling winds bite at my fingers and nose.  There is snow mixed with the rain now making it harder to grasp the garden tools for very long.  But any time I find to work in the garden into November is a blessing indeed.

I watch the sun rise and set on my way to and from work.  It is a good thing I have a wall of windows in my office so I can get Vitamin D throughout the day.  I need to make a point of going outside every day to soak up whatever rays can reach through the thick gray clouds that seem to make a permanent statement in the sky in late fall.

As I close out this lovely month of October, I am joining in with Helen@The Patient Gardener’s Weblog for her End of Month View.  There is much to share so sit back and enjoy!




oct sky

We had almost 10 inches of rain in this unseasonably warm beginning of October.   Lots of sun and temps averaging in the 60s for the first half of the month.  We made up for the warm weather with late month rain and snow mixed and daytime temps in the 40s.  Brrrrrrrrr!!!!   But it was also the only month we had a rainbow.  I captured the full Hunter Moon through the few leaves left on the trees as it rose in the sky.

And that deep gray sky that brought many storm fronts set off the lingering fall foliage.  Soon after this picture, we had a whopper of a storm and lost most of the leaves.

We had no frost in October which is so unusual, but we ended the month with a very cold freeze in the 20s.  That ended the garden for this year.




What’s Growing


Front Gardens

Here you can see some fall color from the hydrangeas and grass.  I still have not had time to clean up these gardens.  Maybe as November rolls along there may be a few good days for more clean up.




And here are a few close ups showing what was still blooming.





This is one of my favorite combos.  I am not sure what the light purple flower is, perhaps a mum or an different aster although the leaves are not aster like.  It grows like wild every year almost like a ground cover right through the fairy rose.  I love the spent hyssop blooms poking through.  It is a favorite spot for bees and butterflies late in the garden season.





This island has ninebark, sage, lavender, sedum and lots of bulbs and echinacea.  My front lawn is turning into a bed of weeds although we don’t worry about it much.  You can barely see the stick of a tree we planted behind the sage.  It is a Eastern redbud we hope will grow.  I will be showcasing the ninebark in December and the sage next week.




Back Garden

These are some of the blooms that were growing in the back gardens in October.  Once the freeze hit they quickly faded.




oct work

The back gardens still have so much work to be done, but that will wait for spring.  We planted 2 wintergreen bushes, 1 mock orange, 5 spice bushes (top left) and an American Linden tree (right).  Then we top dressed veg beds and planted garlic in the one in the background.  The bed in the foreground has one row of garlic that will grow between the tomato plants that will be planted there next year.  You can see the nasturtiums still growing right up until the freeze.




The Itea is showing off in the white garden next to the Colchicum Autumnale ‘Alboplenum’.  It was glowing in the autumn morning sun.  Another show off in the October garden was the Viburnum.




DSCN2151 The asters continued for such a long time much to the delight of the monarchs and bees.






Ageratina altissima formerly known as Eupatorium rugosum ‘Chocolate’ is a wonderful native that flowers in fall.





Swamp milkweed, actually all the milkweed pods, burst open showing off their gorgeous silken seeds.  Many birds use the silk for their nests.



Veg Gardens


There were a few more veggies on the plants before we pulled them in mid October.  Sad to say goodbye to all this yummy produce.  I wish my veg garden season was longer.




veg bedsThe top 2 veg beds (that had beans, peas, cukes, peppers, tomatoes, okra, eggplant) were readied for garlic  and tomatoes as we rotate the beds for next year.  We still have one bed covered with carrots growing.  Even some Brussel sprouts in tubs on the patio.   The small bed in the back is the one with ants.  Instead of planting veggies, I moved the blueberry bushes and some of the strawberries from the side of the house.  The bed behind the tall grass is new.  We added this in October.  It will help us to grow more early season veggies and squash/melons in summer.





 oct pond

The frogs were still hanging about the pond in mid October.  This is the last shot of the waterfall as we pulled the pump for winter on the 23rd.  The cattails are late to go to seed and were just cut back this weekend.  We usually cut them back to keep them under control in the small pond.




 Here’s the pond on the 29th after a hard freeze.  Frogs are long gone.




IMG_4116Rudbeckia triloba still blooming in the meadow in October with a few aster.


 Here’s the meadow after the freeze.  See the remnants of the same rudbeckia in the right lower corner.





oct butterfliesThe monarch were still in the garden on October 20th.  They were joined by Clouded Sulphurs although the one bottom left did not look yellow at all.  And look at this big spider at the front door.  He better stay outside.




oct birds

The Wooly Bear caterpillars are about, and you can see he is predicting a mild winter with a bit of snow at the beginning and end of winter.  We shall see.  The birds have been active.  The top 2 are goldfinches wearing their winter drab colors.  I am posting about them at Beautiful Wildlife Gardens on the 12th.   Lots of sparrows in the garden especially Chipping Sparrows.  The bluebirds have returned after a short hiatus, and what a pleasure to see them.  And what a surprise to see the Juncos.  They are said to forecast winter and snow.  Once they showed up, the snow started mixing in with the rain.




The Wide Shot

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.  I am still watching the view from my bedroom window surveying the entire back garden.  Here’s what the end of October looks like.


You can see there are few leaves and lots of color right before the last weekend of October.  Love the maple leaves behind the gazebo.  Those leaves were gone right before the end of the month.



DSCN2519The Wide Shot on the morning of the 29th after the hard freeze.  Technically this isn’t right at the beginning of November but it was such a perfect shot to show.




Gardens Eye Verse

In late October, the days grow shorter and colder.   As we move into November and the holidays, I leave you with a stunning view of the sky and a bit of prose.




Late October Evenin’

Darkness descends upon me a little earlier every day,

As colors seem to leap from the trees to paint the sky.

The cold winds howl through scraping branches,

While my bones ache a bit more now.

But as the last slip of the light hastens me home-

Soon I will feel the hearth warm my soul and bring gentle rest.

Donna Donabella

Seasonal Celebrations is coming December 1st.  I hope you will join in as we celebrate the changing of the season.  The Winter Solstice will be upon us here in the North and the Summer Solstice in the South.


Next up on the blog:  Monday is time for another profile of a favorite herb, sage.  Then I will have a GBBD post later that week.  Wonder what if anything is hanging in there.

I enjoyed doing a guest post over at Vision and Verb.  I hope you will visit this wonderful website of women writers.

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.  Tuesday brings my next post.

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

sharetheloveI am also joining in I Heart Macro with Laura@Shine The Divine that happens every Saturday.


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:

    Donna despite the changes in the weather you have had a productive October with plenty of nice things in your garden, from the long shots your garden looks quite tidy and full of growth, keep warm now winter comes, Frances

    • Donna says:

      Thanks Frances. I was blessed with a wonderful October. It has been too wet in November for me to do any gardening…lots of flooding in the back already.

  2. Christina says:

    I love the long shot of your garden, either frosty or green it is beautiful. Do keep warm and I hope the rain didn’t turn or serious snow. I would find it so hard if winter came so early every year.

  3. Susie@life-change-compost says:

    Donna, I just love the wide shots of your garden. It looks so peaceful and beautiful! I see you have a Calicarpa (Beautyberry). Do you happen to know if the white and the purple–and what a purple it is!–are equally hardy?

  4. Barb Mrgich says:

    Hi Donna, I love all your garden shots, especially the rainbow and moon pictures. Like you, I just love to document my garden with photos. Photos are great teaching tools. Every day brings something new and more beautiful than the last! Sometimes I’ll take a photo I already have, but I think, “It couldn’t have looked this good before!”

  5. Pam's English Garden says:

    What a wonderful, productive October in your garden, Donna. Beautiful photos — my favorite is the wide shot after the freeze. Love your ‘Late October’ verse — my sentiments exactly. P. x

  6. tina@inthegarden says:

    It’s really nice to see the wide view of your garden. Especially one from a window since we often view our gardens from inside. I think your light purple flower is Tatarian asters? The foliage is really large and they can spread a lot. I love those asters. Check and see. That is indeed a lovely combination.

  7. pbmgarden says:

    What a pretty rainbow! Your garden’s treasures are numerous. I am reminded as I see it that I want to add Monk’s Hood and more hydrangeas. Love that apricot coreopsis too. Happy November Donna. Susie

    • Donna says:

      I have a several monkshood and they are such a pleasure. The apricot coreopsis is my favorite I think and I have 3 in the front garden. I may divide them and add them here and there. Happy November Susie!

  8. Laurrie says:

    Your October garden had so many delights! Love the wide shot, that always helps a reader have a sense of the whole space. The pond tucked away in the corner is especially well done.

    You have planted so many of the things I enjoy here — redbud, itea (what a pop of red), viburnums, spicebush, and a big linden for shade some day, as well as the complex combinations of other plants you have. Great choices!

    Happy November.

  9. Beth says:

    I loved this post, Donna. I am so glad you showed the wide shots. I love getting perspective on where all those plants and garden features are. I liked your fall poetry, and the rainbow and moon shots are fabulous. I enjoyed seeing all that was October 2013 in your fabulous gardens. Great pond, too! Simply a beautiful, beautiful place for your enjoyment!
    Hugs, Beth

  10. Donna says:

    I am surprised to see your Monarch so late. You are a bit South and East of here, so maybe it was headed from Southern Ontario. I always wonder what direction they are headed, East or West. Those westerly travelers have a long way to go to Mexico.

    • Donna says:

      I have actually had late October monarchs. I do think the birds and monarchs come S from Ontario. We are having lots of red-winged blackbirds visit right now which is so unusual. Ours left in August so I know these are migrating S.

  11. Stacy says:

    Your close-ups are so beautiful, but it’s lovely to see the wider shots, especially from above. You’ll have those wonderful textures to enjoy for the rest of the autumn — and I love how the textures link your garden to the “wild” space behind it, especially in the frost photo. Beautiful, Donna! (We should be getting our first frost tomorrow…)

  12. Gail says:

    Well, I guess we’re the exception for color in October. We were (and still are) green as ever! Love your views of the garden and all the varieties of flowers going on. Interesting how the birds will use silk from the milkweed. Nature is so amazing, letting nothing go to waste.

    • Donna says:

      I love the little things I learn about with the critters and how so many different critters use the same plant for many different purposes. Nature sure is amazing Gail.

  13. Cathy says:

    We haven’t had a frost yet, but your garden still had so many flowers and so much colour right up to your freeze. The picture with the frost is really pretty. A lovely season – still!

  14. Laura Hegfield says:

    Wonderful variety of color, texture and life in many stages of transition Donna. Thanks for sharing the love up-close with I Heart Macro:-)

    I do hope you’ll add a “patch” to this year’s gratitude word quilt… instructions for how to participate are at the top of my blog. It is very simple, just takes a few breaths and a moment or two to write then send to me in an email.

  15. PlantPostings says:

    I enjoyed the long shots–before and after the hard freeze! We’ve been flirting with it for a couple of weeks now–but still only light frosts for several nights. A lot of the plants are done, but the Fuchsias and Begonias are still alive! I can’t believe you still had monarchs on Oct. 20! Is that a record for you? I wonder if they will take the eastern route and overwinter in Florida instead of Mexico? I have to tell you, that shot of the Lavendar Hyssop and companion plants is so encouraging. I planted a similar grouping (dormant plants and seeds) this fall. They look lovely together. I planted False Asters (Boltonia Asteroides) with the Hyssop. I wonder if that’s what you have there?

    • Donna says:

      Beth that may be what the mystery plant is…thanks for the suggestion. The record for late monarchs is Oct 25th. They may take to FL as they are late coming S with many migrating birds this month. So glad you enjoyed the visit.

  16. Janet/Plantaliscious says:

    No frost here yet, though it is suddenly noticeably colder. You have some lovely plants in your garden, and I must admit I couldn’t spot what it was you thought you had to clear in those early shots! I too really like the wide views, they show the context of your garden with its lovely neighbouring mature trees, and more of the structure too. Great patio area you have, I really like the way the pond and surrounding planting wraps around it, I hadn’t realised that before.

    • Donna says:

      Oh how nice to hear you liked the patio and pond Janet. There are some plants that need to be cut back and cleaned up…but not much really.

  17. Loredana Donovan says:

    I love the butterflies, and those colorful veggies look delicious. What a beautiful sky shot paired with your lovely poem. So true, it’s nice to be home all cozy & warm on cold winter days. Wonderful post, Donna! 🙂

  18. Jennifer@threedogsinagarden says:

    What a treat to see the wide shots of the garden from a high vantage point! Perhaps because I take a great interest in garden design it was fun to see the layout/design of your garden. I like the way you have the pond just off the brick patio and the casual path through the plantings to the rest of the garden. It looks great both before and after the frost Donna.

    • Donna says:

      Thanks so much Jennifer and I am happy you enjoyed the design. I always wanted a large patio and the pond seemed perfect to soften the edge of the patio and keep it close.

  19. Laura Bloomsbury says:

    what a long and lovely farewell to the garden Donna – the milkweeds make the most of the end of season with that ostentatious flourish. But what are the tall grasses waving goodbye?

    • Donna says:

      Thank you Laura…the milkweeds are an amazing plant, and watching the pods burst is an autumn tradition. The grass I believe is Miscanthus ‘Purpurascens’
      Flame Grass.

  20. HolleyGarden says:

    I love the photos of your front garden. It is so very beautiful. That combo of the asters?, hyssop and rose is just lovely. I am also impressed that you are still harvesting vegetables. Sorry to hear about your freeze, though. That does seem to put a damper on the gardening. The birds look so happy to have seeds from your garden to munch on.

    • Donna says:

      The birds continue to stream in from the N as they are migrating and the seeds seem endless as they find more and more. So glad you enjoyed the garden Holley.

  21. Patty says:

    Looks like you had a great October, with lots to show, even from the veggie patch. I still have some chard and kale (always good through a frost or two). The photo of the moon is eerily beautiful.

    • Donna says:

      Thanks Patty. I still have some Brussel sprouts and carrots and hope they are doing well under cover through the several hard frosts we have had.

  22. RamblingWoods says:

    Hey I have three of those…Ageratina altissima and was confused by the name change and they do bloom late. I planted them 2 years ago in the back.. Lovely post as always Donna..Michelle

  23. igardendaily says:

    Wow Donna! I’m so glad I caught this post! You have so many beautiful photos and I love seeing and getting an update on all of the areas of your garden. It is really beautiful! I’m a fan of the wideshot. Speaking of shots, my favorite is the one that looks like an aster, spent hyssop and rose mingling together. That is gorgeous! I see you had some erratic weather like I am used to but my October weather was very stable and consistent and that was dreamy. Now that I have the garden almost closed, I hope to be catching up on my fav blogs!

  24. Casa Mariposa says:

    I really love the grass paths around your beds and those asters. 🙂 I’m really surprised you still had monarchs. I saw only a few here. I had ants create a nest at the base of some perennials one year and destroy the roots. It really drove me crazy. But when I pulled the plants, they all left.

    • Donna says:

      I have a few spots with ants that I need to dig up a bit. And hopefully the blueberries won’t be bothered by them. The monarchs were a pleasant surprise as are the migrating birds this month.

  25. Jennifer Richardson says:

    I love the mysterious milkweed….so beautifully caught by your camera. And the asters and those pale tomatoes….somehow they make me so glad, those last bites of brave tomato:)
    Your Autumn garden sings
    so I know it’s well loved and cared for.
    Enjoy these last sips,

    • Donna says:

      I try to look for beauty in every season. Right now it is a bit gray and all the leaves are gone, but the migrating birds are visiting.

  26. Jason says:

    Wow, so much great stuff in this post. I love the foliage of the Itea and the Viburnum. Is that V. dentatum? I am madly jealous of your pond and bluebirds.

    • Donna says:

      Yes Jason it is V. Dentatum, ‘Blue Muffin’. When we found this lot to build on, my vision always had a pond and a meadow with bluebird houses. The bluebirds now are daily visitors. 🙂

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