Gardens Eye Journal-April 2014


Nurturing, decisive, interfering, cajoling, gardeners are eternal optimists who trust the ways of nature and believe passionately in the idea of improvement.  ~Diane Ackerman



It’s the beginning of April, and I should be in the garden….but I am not!  This is the latest I have started gardening, and it is the longest interval between the end of gardening in fall and the start of gardening in spring….5 months!  Only one small spot in the garden is still covered with snow.  Once 99% of the snow melted, the garden became very sodden, then it rained and now it is cold.  But soon.  I know I will be out working in the garden soon.

The garden looks muddy, beaten and messy especially in the front where there is massive vole damage.  It is so bad, I am not sure if much will grow back.  I plan to update more about the vole damage and the front gardens on Thursday in another post.  But enough of what is happening now.

Let’s look at March.  I will be highlighting all but the front gardens in this post.  On Thursday, I will finish up my March Garden Journal with a look at the front gardens.  I am linking in with Helen@The Patient Gardener’s Weblog for her End of Month View as I look back at March…although I think I would rather forget March!!




DSCN4651Here’s what I have to say about our March weather…..cold, cold, cold!  It was the coldest March on record, and April is colder than normal as well but thankfully not as bad as March.  Lots of snow too in March, but that is all past now.  Spring finally flew into the garden the last few days of March.

The sunrises were lovely as they brightened the mornings a bit later with the change of the clocks.  This was one of the best.





Garden Views

 march melt

 I thought I would give you a bit of a time-lapse of the snow throughout March.  In the beginning of March there was at least 3 feet of snow covering everything.  Then in mid March it began to melt a bit.  By spring there was a small patch of green showing around the trees.  Then starting on March 27th (top right) you can see the melt starting in earnest.  Each picture after is one more day until the 31st.  You can see the rock  beginning to appear along with the grass with each new day.

The next few photos give a closer look of the different gardens at the end of March.




As soon as you enter the garden through the left gate, you can see all the snow still here as it is north facing and is shaded by the shadow of the house most of the day now.  Most of this has since melted except a small area in the foreground.






Then as you turn and face toward the back of the garden, this is the view.  Lots of snow here too at the end of March.





This is a bit further into the garden staying to the left and back.  This is one of the last spots the snow melted this week, and there is lots of flooding as usual.





This view is facing the right and back gardens that melted first.  I couldn’t walk any further back due to all the standing water.  Much of it absorbed quickly with lots of sunny days until it rained again this weekend.





This is the far right garden just off the patio….you can see it is a squishy mud pile where the grass path is.  And the snow is all gone now.  Our grass is grown from sod not seed so it is dormant now and looks brown and dead.





The wall garden, on the left side of the house, was finally melting as well.  Little vole damage here this year and some crocus (what’s left)  were blooming as soon as the snow melted this past week.




What’s Growing

Very little is growing but here are the first snippets.



A few snowdrops were blooming as March ended.  So many more blooming now as the snow receded.




Here are the first snow crocus.  This year they bloomed in the back garden near my arch.  I was surprised to see them and so many preciously on the 31st.




DSCN4800Look at all the daffodil bulbs growing.  The voles don’t like these thank goodness.




DSCN4919 Hellebores are not browsed by my critters so they are showing new growth with no damage.





 Soon the hyacinths will be blooming and I can’t wait to get drunk on their heavenly scent.




Veg Gardens


The veg beds were almost thawed.  Can you believe I have not started one blessed seed downstairs yet?  With the weather we have had, I did not have any ambition, and did not want to get too far ahead when I won’t be planting warm weather veggies until early June.




DSCN4914This is what the garlic, that started growing in late October, looks like now.  I hope it starts perking up.  It has never looked this bad after a snowy winter, but the extreme cold for such a long time did takes its toll.




DSCN4868The pond is fully thawed now which was quick given this was what it looked like at the end of March.  This is the view taken in the morning, and below is late afternoon.  I love seeing the water freed of its icy prison.  We hope to plug in the pump next weekend.

DSCN4912 Life will be waking up in the pond soon.





march critters

You can see it was busy in the wildlife garden in March.  Even with all the snow, spring arrived on time as far as the critters were concerned.  The cardinal, red-bellied woodpecker, red-winged blackbirds, downy woodpecker and house finches were all visiting.  The goldfinches are changing into their bright yellow plumage.  And you can see the poor junco bracing against the cold looking for seed that was covered by snow for most of March.  Of course the bluebirds remain stalwart in their defense of the 2 best houses, and yes the robins are numerous and finding yummy insects and worms beneath the leaves I did not rake from the beds.

Our black squirrel made an appearance.  And the deer are frequenting the meadow now.  The best of course is always our fabulous fox, Axl.  Isn’t he beautiful in those long black sox.




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 beginning of April looks like.  Spring is here!  And the snow showing here, is gone already even though temps were only in the 40s.

I may decide to change my view for this year as the garden wakes up.  We shall see.






Gardens Eye Verse

Well not much was happening for most of March, but boy has it shifted now.  I hope you enjoy my spring verse.



Upon Spring’s Wing

Spring glides in slowly on her soft, gentle wing.
She floats down easily warmth touching everything.
In the garden now bare, stirring the senses throughout,
The critters are returning to secure their spot.
The drifting scents linger and stir me awake,
From my winter doldrums and meditative state.
Time to wake up for the return of the season,
Where gardeners everywhere lose all reason.

Donna Donabella


Next up on the blog:  Thursday I will review the ugly vole damage in the front garden as I finish my Garden Journal for March. Next Monday will be Garden Blogger’s Bloom Day already.  Boy I hope there are loads of blooms by then.

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 Tuesday.

I hope you will join me for my posts once a month at Beautiful Wildlife Garden.  Next post is April 29th.

I can also be found blogging once a month at Vision and Verb.  I will be posting again on April 30th.

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. Kathy Sturr of the Violet Fern says:

    Oh Donna, I know I know! Those few flakes on Saturday nearly made me get in the car and keep driving South! We decided to start a painting project indoors and that has put everything in chaos including the spot where I was going to start seeds! I picked another and got my “system” all set up and actually planted a few meager seeds of Purple Majesty Millet. I am excited to grow this annual. Today I hope to plant some lettuce, spinach and kale outdoors. It is a leaf day and I like to plant according to the moon phases. Normally I buy Stella Natura’s Calendar but I am impatient and found a phone app! I am sure you will be out in your garden soon. I actually “opened” the porch yesterday. I have a nice view of the pond where I plan to put the pond – no digging required. Ha, ha.

    • Donna says:

      Oh I would love to know the app Kathy. Sometimes they work on my old ipod. I plan to start my seeds outside over the weekend and cover them just in case. Wait until you see Part 2 of this review. I am dealing with that right now so seeds will have to wait. I hope to get going inside today or tomorrow. At least we keep moving forward.

  2. Barb Mrgich says:

    Hi Donna, I enjoy winter when it’s supposed to be winter, but it gets depressing when it just won’t go away. I also have a lot of critter damage as well as storm damage in my gardens. I’m just waiting to see how much, and what may repair itself. This week we are in Florida – all eighty degree temperatures–Culture shock!

    • Donna says:

      How wonderful Barb. Enjoy every second of that warmth and light. With our delay, I am feeling the push to get all the chores done that have piled up now.

  3. Linda aka Crafty Gardener says:

    Your garden looks so much like mine … lots of patchy snow. In fact I still have a couple of gardens buried under snow. We are in for some heavy rain later today and overnight so hopefully some more will be melted away. Dreaming of a bit of warmth, some sunshine and some gardening. Though Environment Canada tells me it will be colder due to the frozen lakes and until they melt the warmth we love won’t be coming.

    • Donna says:

      Glad at least you are melting Linda. I have on tiny patch left but we are so flooded. I need a week with no rain but that is not happening. We are getting the heavy rain today and tomorrow, but somehow we are warming for a few days but it won’t last. With the Great Lakes frozen still we will have a cold spring too.

      But perhaps we can take heart in planting early veggies under cover soon.

    • Donna says:

      Thanks Sue. With a bit of warm air later in week more will pop definitely. Our fox seems to enjoy some quiet moments so I can snap a few shots…

  4. Julie says:

    Donna, this is a real in-depth look at everything going on in your garden, I really hope you get some warmer weather soon, the endless snow must be a challenge in many ways. We had similar here last year and it was pretty miserable, although we then went on to have a fantastic summer, heres hoping the same for you. Your visiting fox looks very handsome.

    • Donna says:

      I really want to make in depth detailed observations this year to help me know what needs changing. Thanks for those positive thoughts for the summer. I have a feeling it will be glorious. And our lovely fox is a grand visitor, but I wish he would do a bit of hunting for the voles in the front garden…you’ll see why on my TH post.

  5. Alison says:

    Despite the snow, flooded views and lack of green, I enjoyed seeing your garden in this post. It reminded me of my former garden back east, it always looked this devastated after the winter, but very quickly picked up and grew exponentially as soon as the snow melted for good. I hope you can get out there soon to start gardening, 5 months is too long a break!

    • Donna says:

      I think the garden knows when to release the old and snow and get ready for the new growth…I am happy to help it get going Alison although the front gardens are another story that I highlight on TH.

    • Donna says:

      Oh Dorothy thank you! The spread of spring is reaching into every corner even on the cold days with the snow that keeps pinching us once a week.

  6. susan@life-change-compost says:

    Wow, those photos really give a sense of both what you have endured AND how crazy you have been waiting for every green patch-:)) I smiled when you said you want that drunken heaven of the hyacinth (or something like that…) I have pots of them by the front door for that very reason. As for your fox, what marvelous luck having such a handsome creature in your nearby woods. He is a beauty–such a full and thick coat from the winter. But it also means he is well-nourished. Put him to work on those voles if you can!

    • Donna says:

      Susie I would love for him to hunt near the house but he does not stay in the areas where the voles live around the house. He would have a great meal if he did.

  7. pbmgarden says:

    Glad you’re seeing some signals that spring is coming. Look forward to reading about the voles and hoping you have some solutions. I had a lot of damage from them over the winter too. susie

  8. Andrea says:

    Hi Donna, it seems like you have endless cold. On the contrary, we have endless heat, can’t go out because it is scorchingly hot! But your crocus and snowdrops, my favorites, are showing now. In a little while it will be different. Keep warm. I wish to send off some of ours!

    • Donna says:

      Oh Andrea thanks for the heat…we need it. It seems every week we have a day or 2 that is cold with snow, but for the most part it is a cool spring with temps in the 50s.

  9. Eileen says:

    We have had much the same here, seems like forever for the snow to melt. And then the rain, the ground is saturated..Your crocus and snowdrops are beautiful, lovely signs of spring. Your critter mosaic is awesome.. Great shots. Donna, Have a happy week!

    • Donna says:

      Oh my gosh Eileen the rain is relentless. We have had an inch and a half on top of all the melted snow making it a swamp now here. So glad you enjoyed the few blooms and the critters…you have a great week too!

  10. Christina says:

    At last Donna, at last! thank goodness your snow is going at last. I have felt quite guilty about our suuny, warm days when I think of you.

    • Donna says:

      Oh no do not feel guilty as your lovely pictures warm me and make me feel like everything will be growing soon….your garden is a delight Christina so enjoy it fully with no guilt.

    • Donna says:

      Karen that is exciting news. It will change over so fast and then it will be time to get out there and garden! Glad you enjoyed the critters.

  11. Ramblingwoods says:

    It’s nice to have a photographic journal of your yard. I should do that for myself in more detail. We have a bit of snow left, but with all the rain, the pond is clear..Latest date for the pond to clear this year…Michelle

    • Donna says:

      Great to hear spring is moving along for ypu and your critters Michelle. The journal really helps with figuring out what is working or not.

  12. Laura Bloomsbury says:

    winter receding slowly – v. frustrating but you have so much to look forward to whereas our Spring flowers are blooming in double quick time. p.s. I see voles were not featured in your critters collage!

    • Donna says:

      If I could get a picture of them I would include the varmints, but my goodness they are fast Laura. It is nice to have the garden finally turning over and growing…now if the rain would stop I could do a bit of cleanup.

    • Donna says:

      Janet, we have a cold day tomorrow and then perhaps this weekend if we get the warm dry weather they are calling for…although it will be short lived as another cold front is due next week.

  13. PlantPostings says:

    Beautiful snow Crocuses, Donna! Actually, your view is prettier than mine right now, since we don’t have any more snow and everything is still kind of brown. After we get this next rain and then some warm weather I’m sure things will pop out like crazy. Great collage of the critters!

    • Donna says:

      Thanks Beth…we are flooded and brown now too, but we will have that warm air soon too and I expect a quick greening with blooms galore…yippeee!!

  14. Island Threads says:

    so glad you can see brown and green again Donna, though sorry to hear of the vole damage, how up setting, isn’t life so typical, all the other years you have been busy with work and so less time to garden, this year with more time the weather holds you back and leaves you twiddling your green fingers waiting to get started, I hope you rain stops soon and mine also, and lets us into our gardens, I got out a bit yesterday but today is rain so I am virtual visiting my garden friends catching up on blog reading,
    you are very wise to wait to sow seed, I started some early but then stopped and didn’t sow any in March, I’m just starting to think about starting again,
    I love the ariel/upstairs window photos of gardens, the handicap of a single story house is I can’t do that,
    to warmer days, Frances

    • Donna says:

      Yes to warmer, drier days Frances. It is ironic that I am having to wait, but it is a lesson in patience I am being taught. I am writing and reading as well today. My warm veggie flowers and seeds needed to be started so I did plant some seeds finally yesterday. Perhaps a bit of early cool weather veggie seeds planted outside this weekend…fingers crossed.

  15. The Sage Butterfly says:

    There are small signs of life emerging for your spring. I love that photo of the fox. I used to see them quite often in the nearby woods, but I have only seen a few in the last few years. I took a break from having a fall/winter vegetable garden last year into this year. And now I have so much anticipation for what is to come. Wishing you a swift dose of spring air…

    • Donna says:

      Thanks Michelle. They say starting tomorrow we will have 5 mostly sunny days with temps in the high 50s and some 60s. We haven’t had 60s since early fall.

  16. Cathy Thompson says:

    Loved the crocus pictures Donna – seems so long since I was enjoying mine. I shall watch your blog with huge interest in future, because you are a fellow vole sufferer. A friend of mine calls them ‘God’s joke on the gardener’. Someone else told me that she plants little rings of daffodils and onions (could be ornamental) around things, because they don’t like them. Also enjoyed your garlic waking up from the winter. Hope you are now enjoying warmer weather!

    • Donna says:

      Welcome Cathy…I would bet there are many fellow sufferers out there. I love the idea of the daff and ornamental onion (allium) rings. The voles do leave my alliums and daffs alone so I may ned to get more strategic when I replant. Thanks for the idea as I live with ‘God’s little joke’. I’ll pop over to catch up on your blog too! 🙂

  17. naquillity says:

    what a beautiful garden you have. i would be anxious to see it without all that snow… we had another snow today which later turned to rain. i’m looking forward to spring staying around longer than a week… hope all is well. have a great day~

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