Gardens Eye Journal-February 2014


Gardeners are weavers of magic. A seed is planted. Some months later, a tall plant waves its flowers or dangles its fruits before us.  ~Patricia Monaghan.

I am not going to complain about winter….I am not going to complain about winter…..I am not going to……..  Mother Nature has had a fickle way with seasons, and this winter is no exception.  And I think that is just how it is going to be.  So I can complain or I keep dreaming of spring.

I choose to keep on dreaming, especially about fresh veggies from the garden, like the pea blossoms above.  I am going to be starting some veggies indoors soon, and in about 2 months the cool weather veggies will be started outside.  I can’t wait as spring is coming in a month and a half.  And in celebration I am having a seed giveaway (see details at the end of the post).DSCN3753

But even with the  anticipation of spring, I really don’t want to rush my days.  I have learned that each day is precious, and I still am loving the gorgeous scenes as they change from white, to green to white again.

I am continuing to notice things in my garden especially during the thaws as the areas that flood show themselves (as you can see in this picture).  And I am keeping a journal that started in January.  I hope to get better at keeping track of the garden as the months go on.  These “noticings” will be instrumental in my study of the garden.

There isn’t a whole lot to share in this journal entry as I show what has been happening in my January garden.  I am linking in with Helen@The Patient Gardener’s Weblog for her End of Month View.




DSCN3594We have had some crazy weather in the country this winter.  We have had  sub zero temps and a couple feet of snow so far in January.  And then a thaw with 50 degree temps and an inch of rain.  But the critters seem to be weathering this craziness.

And the sunsets I have been able to view have been breathtaking on my way to work.  Deep purples and muted reds and oranges turning into brilliant fiery colors as the sun shows itself on the horizon.  Luckily I was able to capture one on a weekend.




Garden Views

As we are in winter’s grip, I thought I would share some beautiful winter views from the January back gardens.



I love the close up views of the only maple inside the fence.  The different colored lichen gives it even more beauty.




These are the woods in the wild area behind the meadow.  This is not technically my garden, but I love the view.



DSCN3375And of course this is the stunning snowy meadow.  The dried goldenrod is perfect for capturing snow.



DSCN3620I love the coppery colors of this Clethra.  It remains one of my favorite views and it is right outside the window.  And the birds love it too.  It has kept many of its leaves this winter.




The bayberry bush, beneath the center trees, stays evergreen for much of winter.  I am still hoping to find a few more that are male and female so I can eventually get some berries.




I wanted to share this stunning pink morning light that turned the entire garden pink one day.  Such a gorgeous view that I feel so blessed to be able to see in winter.




Veg Gardens

veg garden 2014These are the plans for the veg garden this year.  We now have three 8 x 4 foot raised beds and one 4 x 4 foot bed for vegetables.  The other 4 x 4 foot bed now has blueberries and strawberries in it.  And I still have lots of grow bags and my 2 big green tubs to give me more planting area on the patio.

Every year I rotate all the beds, and actually had a mental plan for the beds in fall since I had to know where to plant the garlic.  The garlic is growing beautifully under the snow right now and I see it growing at least 6 inches already whenever we have a melt.  I like to get the most use of my beds once the garlic is harvested.  So I will be planting late summer/fall lettuces, greens and carrots in the garlic bed, hoping that the voles will not devour them again, and we can enjoy them instead.

Red onion set, blue potatoes and blue fingerling potatoes are ordered.  The tomatoes will have their own small bed this year.  The pea and bean bed has been moved to combine with the peppers, okra and eggplant combo that worked so well last year.

And the new large bed will have squash and watermelons all growing up arches to give me more room.   The baby watermelons and Delicata squash will grow up 4 foot high arches made from metal fencing (we hope).  I have a special v-shaped trellis that will support the zucchini.  Then we can grow lettuces, greens, carrots, radishes, beets and other cool season veggies under the trellis and arches.

Now where to plant the pumpkins.  Well that may have to wait until I come up with another trellis or arch to use as I have limited sunny space for them.   Maybe planted on arches over the garlic….hmmmm….now that could work!





 jan birds 2014

We had so much critter activity in the garden in January which was a delight.  Of course the bluebirds remain.  Isn’t their color stunning.  And we had a red-tailed hawk at the very top of a 100 foot tree in the woods just behind the meadow.  He was swaying in the wild wind that day.

Our newest visitor is a red-bellied woodpecker.  I was so excited to see him visiting the suet feeder and feeding on the damaged ash tree.  I adore his scarlet head.  And the red house finch have been frequent visitors now with the goldfinches and bluebirds.  The tracks in the melting snow are the tunnels the voles built under the snow.  I am sure we will find massive damage to the lawn.




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 January, beginning of February looks like.  Still pretty much the same.






Gardens Eye Verse

We had a surprise visitor in January, our resident fox.  He spent the day and inspired a poem and a whole post that you can read tomorrow at Beautiful Wildlife Garden.



 Red flashing by.

Black socks trotting slowing.

Stopping, motionless.

Two now-stealthily waiting.

Patience…pouncing, rewarded!

And then gone-

Red flashing by.

Donna Donabella


Seasonal Celebrations will be starting soon on March 1st.  I hope you will join in.  Details to follow next week in my Monday post.


Next up on the blog:  I will have an early Garden Bloggers Bloom Day post where I will be profiling another favorite spring bulb that I am dreaming about as the garden stays covered in its white blanket.

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 latest post.  My next post will be on February 4th.

I can also be found blogging once a month at Vision and Verb.  I hope you will pop over to read some of my posts.

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

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

All original content is copyrighted and the sole property of Donna Donabella @ Gardens Eye View, 2010-2014.  Any reprints or use of content or photos is by permission only.




  1. Ginnie says:

    Well, Donna, you have certainly captured what is so beautiful about this time of the year! So much better than complaining. Thank you for dreaming. My brother-in-law in Michigan is doing this right now, while he has cabin fever. Dreaming about what he will plant in his raised beds! I love it for you because it sounds so creative in more ways than one…especially when it comes time to dine on it all!

    • Donna says:

      Thanks Ginnie….I know in 6 weeks or less I will finally be out there cleaning and planting in the garden. I need to get some energy going to get my flower seeds planted soon indoors. Suddenly so much to do.

  2. Bernieh says:

    The winter scenes are beautiful, especially that gorgeous sunrise. The Bluebird’s colour is indeed stunning. Loved seeing Mr Fox as well. So, only a month and a half now and there will be signs of Spring everywhere. I’m waiting patiently for the beginning of our Autumn, which is only a month away now. In the mean time we’re waiting with bated breath for some really decent rain.

    • Donna says:

      I do hope Bernie you get that much needed rain without flooding or a damaging storm. Soon we will melt and be flooded but the plants love it and I won’t mind so much either as long as the snow is gone. So glad you enjoyed our snow and critters.

  3. Island Threads says:

    Donna I didn’t realise your veg beds were so large, gives a new perspective to the size of your garden, love all your plans for your veggies you are so organised, I think the white sets off the colours of the birds so much nicer than dreary grey, I hope the voles haven’t done too much damage, beautiful sunsets and sunrises, Frances

    • Donna says:

      Thanks Frances. It doesn’t seem to be large to me until I plant it and have to care for all the veggies. I think we are reaching our max. I believe my job has prepared me to be organized in my veg garden. Soon we will hear birds singing and see crocus popping up. I can’t wait.

  4. Jennifer@threedogsinagarden says:

    I love your snowy pictures Donna. We are having a very similar winter here with freezing temperatures and lots and lots of snow. The only sign of global “warming” is that the weather seems to veer to the extreme. I actually saw a bluebird the other day. They do have amazing color! I get lots of jays, woodpeckers, grey doves, and a pair of cardinals, but I am not sure I have seen a bluebird before. You are well ahead of me with your planning. I haven’t done any just yet.

    • Donna says:

      Thanks Jennifer. I have to get a bit more organized with what I am starting indoors and when. Can’t wait for the snow to end soon for both of us I hope. Fabulous that you saw a bluebird. Perhaps they will visit more often now.

  5. Susie@life-change-compost says:

    I’ve been studying your woodpecker in the upper right of your collage wondering if he is an eastern variation of a Northern Flicker. Have you seen that white flash on the tail as they fly away? Of course the flicker has a bib of red and black, not that exquisite red head, but in other ways there is a lot of similarity. LOVE your little red fox!

    • Donna says:

      Susie we do have Northern Flickers here as well and they do look similar. This guy though is different. It was a bit grey on the day he came so his white looks more olive colored like a Flicker. His bright red head is also a bit different. Woodpeckers are so similar in so many ways…I just love them.

  6. Gail says:

    Donna, Your garden shines in winter! Loved seeing your foxy visitor and reading your poem. That was indeed a stunning pink morning~Keep warm! xoxogail

    • Donna says:

      Thank you Sue. I adore our bluebirds. I hope they will visit for the bird count this coming weekend. So glad you liked the poem. It means a lot.

  7. Alistair says:

    Am I going insane, I feel that I am missing these Wintry scenes in the UK after viewing your post. Love the wide shot! Send over a few of those blue birds Donna.

    • Donna says:

      I would love to share a few bluebirds Alistair. You would love them….and I will be glad to send you some snow 🙂 My planning for a four season garden isn’t half bad it seems. So glad you enjoyed the post!!

  8. HolleyGarden says:

    The snowy scenes are just spectacular! And the pink sky is lovely, and casts a warm glow on the cold snow. I enjoyed seeing your veg garden plans. I need to be more specific about my vegetable gardening – I usually just throw things out there, trying not to plant things in the same bed as the year before. No wonder you have such great success! I’m counting down the days until March. I always feel if I can just get past February, and it’s wild weather swings, March will bring some sunshine and warmth.

    • Donna says:

      I agree Holley. Just getting past February is huge. I am sure your veg garden still does quite nice as I remember. I could use that sunshine and warmth. We seem to get sunshine and freezing cold right now.

    • Donna says:

      I couldn’t bear to have only snow pictures, so I am dreaming about early peas I hope to plant in early April. And once I get my act together I will start seeds in the basement. Spring will be upon us before we know it.

  9. Janet/Plantaliscious says:

    I’m going to really enjoy watching the development of your vege garden this year Donna. It is larger than mine but not dissimilar, so hopefully I will pick up some useful tips along the way!!

  10. Cathy says:

    Your view is still lovely, with that pink light especially. It’s good to just accept that we can’t speed things up and dream instead. 😉 The veg plans are looking good Donna.

    • Donna says:

      Thank you Cathy. No we can’t speed it up, but a break would be nice. I think I need to get my grow station ready and some flower seeds started soon. Spring will be here soon.

  11. Liz says:

    Hi Donna,

    I do hope the snow leaves you soon, although at least it is protection against the worst.

    It always surprises me to see familiar animals in the US. Although I know you have Red foxes over there, I always seem to think of them as very much European. I think it’s the whole expectation that somewhere so far away isn’t going to be the same as home… Strange. It’s the same when on holiday in Europe etc, I just don’t expect to see familiar birds, but of course many migrate from Africa and Europe to breed in the UK. So naturally I would see them elsewhere.
    Am I digging myself a deeper hole??

    • Donna says:

      You always make me laugh Liz. I do know what you mean though. I welcome the snow covered garden as it is protected against the freezing cold we continue to have.

  12. Kathy Sturr of the Violet Fern says:

    Donna that fox is “fooooxxxyy.” I really don’t have a chance of that kind of wildlife visiting my village garden and I am so envious! I LOVE your plans for veggies and can’t wait to see those “arches” in your garden full of fruit! I also love the concept of the wide shot (oops I almost typed sh*t ha ha). I realized after a few years that the wide shots are so important when all you seem to end up with are close ups of flowers – not much help in documenting your garden on their own – especially when addressing a redesign in the middle of winter! You need that wide shot. What a great way to capture it by participating. Warm here and I’m ready to get out in that garden! I have a Cooper’s Hawk that has been stopping by now and then. Always a scare but hey, the House Sparrows are running rampant.

    • Donna says:

      We are so lucky to get our visitors here. I hope our plans work on those arches. I really was taken with the wide shot and have found like you it is so important to have that look. It will help me with any redesigning needed. We had a warm day but now we continue with snow and cold. Hoping for a change soon. I know you are as well Kathy. You have had it far worse than we have.

  13. sallie (FullTime-Life) says:

    Lovely post — your yard is so lovely during the middle of winter, I can only imagine it will be heaven when your plans “spring” to life. Thank you for sharing…. I don’t garden any more, but I really enjoy reaping the fruits (visually) of good gardener’s labors!

    • Donna says:

      Thank you so much Sallie…I am wishing for a lovely warm spring with so much green growth and lovely flowers…soon the fruits as well!!

  14. Jason says:

    We had a red bellied woodpecker hanging around about a year ago but haven’t seen him in a while. We do have lots of downies and the occasional flicker. I do wonder why they are called red bellied when their bellies are not red at all, it’s the backs of their necks that are red. So they should be called redneck woodpeckers.

    • Donna says:

      I agree Jason. I like the redneck name better. I was so in love with him when he visited. With the Emerald Ash Borer, I will take all the woodpeckers i can get to get rid of them.

  15. PlantPostings says:

    I saw several woodpeckers at the arboretum the other day. Our weather has been too cold for me to get outside much this winter until now. No 50s or 40s for us … and very few 30s or even 20s. So, now when it’s getting “warmer,” 20s seem like springtime. I enjoyed seeing your plans for your veg garden, Donna.

    • Donna says:

      I have not left the house yet to get pictures. I am feeling homebound but hope to get out and about the garden taking some shots from the fence line soon. Once the snow piles up, we can’t get through the gates. I will take some 30s right now too.

  16. pbmgarden says:

    Donna, your photos are great–especially like your wide view this month with the snow and blue sky. You vegetable plans make me dream of fresh garden tastes.

    • Donna says:

      I have been eating more of a vegetarian diet these days as it helps your immune system. So i cannot wait for fresh veggies out of the garden.

  17. Donna says:

    Wow, a fox. I never see them here, yet they are supposed to be common in the gorge. I only ever saw one once at the farm. They are clever fellows to stay out of view. Keep dreaming… it will be here in no time.

    • Donna says:

      Thanks Donna. He is fun to watch. I only wish he would hop the fence and hunt the voles in my garden. They are a captive audience.

  18. Kathy Sturr of the Violet Fern says:

    I just read your post about the fox on Beautiful Wildlife Gardens – what a beautiful sight! I couldn’t find a place to comment there? I sure do hope he has found a mate and that you see kits this Spring. Guess you won’t be having any rabbit herds this year! Also, I love your new site design – how did I overlook that yesterday? Or did you wave your magic wand overnight? Glad you are receiving a bit of warmer weather but I hear there are more storms on the way!

    • Donna says:

      Thanks for alerting me Kathy. I went in and had to enable comments at BWG. Not sure why, but glad you told me. Glad you enjoyed the post. Yes I think rabbits will decrease although right now they are in the garden quite a bit this winter.

      I changed my theme in January, but your delay in noticing just means it looks natural and great for my blog. See how I spun that!! Yes lots more snow here…perhaps a foot tonight into tomorrow.

  19. KL says:

    No, I am not going to say that this was another great post or the poem was good — you must be bored hearing all those praises all the time. So, I am going to say that you are so lucky to have fox and blue-bird in your yard. No such luck for me :-(. Apparently there were lot here till like 2005 or so as there was a forest (wood) behind our house. Then, that wood was bought by developers and turned into townhouses. We came to our house in 2009, but our neighbors who have been living here for long time told that there were foxes, bears, deer, raccoon and all sorts of creatures. God knows what happened to them with the development :-(….

    I am going to send you a message in FB about ordering blue fingerling potatoes. I am in same situation — dreaming about the spring. I have already started planting things in grow-containers. Have you ever grown artichoke — do you know if they are perennial in your area? I collected about million onion seeds last year. So, this year, all my onions will be grown from my own seeds :-). Your veggie garden is a delight. I should also sit down and make plans.

    • Donna says:

      I must confess I love sharing the beauty i see and am pleased when others appreciate it. Did you get the info I send via FB on the fingerlings? Too bad your neighborhood does not have these critters anymore. How great to have onion seeds. I grow small scallions from seeds but buy the sets for the larger ones. As far as artichokes, no I have not grown then and they need much warmer weather to be perennial.

  20. Christina says:

    Your garden is beautiful under the snow and in the images with blue sky it is stunning. I’m thinking of growing my butternut squash on an arch but I’ve never done that before, any advice?

    • Donna says:

      Well Christina, I know you need a sturdy arch at least 4 feet high. But from what I have read and seen, the squash hangs free and does well. If you do decide to grow your up an arch, we will have to stay in touch to see what we learn.

  21. Angie says:

    The up side to such bad weather is that we find a lot more wildlife in our garden than we normally would. Wow, those bluebirds are beautifully coloured – you’d have to be terribly visually impaired to miss those against the white of the snow.
    I’m sure spring will come round soon enough and your dreams can come true Donna

  22. Laura Hegfield says:

    What an abundance of beauty. I love seeing the fox trotting along. You are right, each season, each day, each moment has its blessings to offer. Thanks for sharing the love up-close with I Heart Macro:-)

  23. Beth says:

    Donna, Your images are amazing – especially the fox and bluebird. Love seeing the broader view of your pretty garden. Beautiful in all seasons.
    Hugs, Beth

    • Donna says:

      You are too kind Beth. I still do not tire of the bluebirds visiting and the large snowflakes falling…just need a break from the cold.

    • Donna says:

      Even with no blooms and all the white it is amazing to see so much going on…we find the beauty in sights of the season and our words…thank you!!

  24. Laura Bloomsbury says:

    never tire of seeing your garden whatever the season – these images are all very beautful, especially like the goldenrod snow meadow. The veg plot plans evoke optimism for what lies ahead.
    Had a pink morning here recently but confess I was too lazy to get up and snap it 🙁

    • Donna says:

      Oh Laura how very sweet of you to say so. I understand those moments when we just enjoy the moment but do not feel like moving to capture it.

  25. Jennifer Richardson says:

    I love your noticings:)
    Your snowy blusters are beautiful….we’ve seen precious little of the white stuff here, just ice, which isn’t so nice.
    Keep dreaming, friend.
    (ooooh, child, things’ll get brighter:))

    • Donna says:

      Love the song you put in my head and heart Jennifer. I would love to send you some snow but I will not require any ice…rather the snow here. Keep warm and painting those pots…you inspire me!!

  26. Indie says:

    I’m with you there on the snow! Oh my, am I ready for some spring! Well, I am contenting myself with doing some winter sowing and planning. And I really should be working on setting up my house. I love bird watching, though. It’s great to be reminded that something is still going on outside. Too bad the voles are still active 🙁

    • Donna says:

      Indie I need to get going on my seeds too. I have been a bit lazy after a few illnesses but it is time soon. Those pesky voles never stop around here. 🙁

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