Gardens Eye Journal-May 2014


Tangled stalks and decomposing leaves, skeletons of the past season, disappear into the ground.  The garden is ready for a new beginning, ready to receive the seeds and plants.

Dori Dana Hudson




So it is May already, but my garden says it is still early April both in bloom and weather.  In May I should see columbines DSCN6127blooming along with tulips, moss phlox and many native plants like Virginia bluebell and trillium.  But we are just in the middle of daffodils, English primrose (pictured right) and hyacinths.   What I call my early blooms that tolerate cold weather (thank God)!

But I am not complaining as I do not have the garden all cleaned up yet, and I will be laid up possibly in May.  So any delays may work out for me.  As you may have read in my last post, I might have to have surgery for a pesky hernia.  It is not easy being told you cannot garden.  My husband got the doctor to agree with him to limit my gardening now so the reluctant garden helper (the husband) is having to clean up the rest of the garden and do garden chores if will stop raining….and oh his aching back!

This April Garden Journal at least has some blooms.  And as I am trying to take note of all that is going on, this is a long post.  I am linking in with Helen@The Patient Gardener’s Weblog for her End of Month View as I look back at April…although I think the calendar got it wrong again and March just ended!!






DSCN5843As far as weather is concerned let’s just say…ugh!  We started with temps in the low 40s during the day which suddenly shot up to the 70s and low 80s.  Then back to the 30s and low 20s with snow.  They never recovered much above the low 50s.  And rain, well we have had 6 inches making for a mucky garden.  I am shocked how much actually is growing given the cold temps.

But oh, those sunrises have been wonderful as I watch the sun rise farther north.  The orange-purple sky gives way quickly to the bright yellow sunshine.

And what a fabulous bright sun it has been, as you can see above, shining on the daffodils making them appear neon.





Garden Views

Here are the early blooming gardens this April.



You can see the bulbs dotting the garden with color, and lots of foliage growing in hopes of flowers in May.  There are poppies, iris, moss phlox, lavender and geraniums waiting to grow more and bloom.




This is the other side of the walk.  Sorry the picture is a bit lopsided.  You can see the empty vole-ravaged area here, but I moved some columbine volunteers here to fill in.



DSCN5638This is the only garden we actually weeded and mulched.  Oh well once the weather warms and I am well again, the rest of the front gardens will be finished.  Our sod greened up quickly once we got that shot of warm air and the rain.




The side garden here looks a bit ragged, but I do not clean up the gardens perfectly.  We leave lots of last year’s spent garden debris as it is a great mulch.  And the birds love to use it for their nests.  Once the garden gets going more, you do not see much of it.




Here is the white garden beginning to flower with tulips, English primrose, lungwort and hyacinth.  Soon Leucojum, Sweet Woodruff, white anemone, white scilla and white bearded iris will bloom.  I really need to add more white native plants here. 





What’s Growing


DSCN6334This is the only forsythia I have left.  It blooms on the edge of the front walk garden.  It is low growing, and even with cutting it back in the fall, it bloomed profusely this spring.




The amazing colors of the hyacinths are one of the reasons I love these flowers.  Their scent is the other reason and why I have them all over the front walk and patio gardens.  In this way, I can smell them as the breeze blows through the gardens.




This hellebore bloom starts out as white and then fades to a dusty rose color.  It appears the ants are enjoying it too.




One of the many Pulmonaria or lungwort starting to bloom.  I love the variegation of the leaves as much as the flowers.





Iris reticulata bloomed in April and the native bees were so happy to see these flowers.





These Glory-of-the-Snow were also a pollinator favorite.  I think these may be carpenter bees.







Bloodroot was blooming around the garden.  Love these white flowers.



DSCN6056 The hepatica actually bloomed ahead of Bloodroot this spring.



DSCN6199 This is the flower of native Pachysandra procumbens or Allegheny spurge a great groundcover I am hoping will multiply.





The flowers of Twinleaf  or Jeffersonia diphylla are just popping up before the leaves unfurl.  Such a lovely muted coloring that matches the emerging foliage.





Veg Gardens


Here are the veggie seeds growing indoors.  Starting top left and moving clockwise, I just transplanted the tomatoes for the first time.  Soon I will have to transplant them into even bigger containers as they wait until the end of May when we can plant them outside in the garden bed.

Then there are peppers and eggplant growing.  I will be transplanting the sweet and hot peppers and green chiles soon along with the basil in the bottom right picture.  I am growing lemon, cinnamon and Italian basil.  Lastly I am growing several varieties of marigolds.  I did just start some sunflowers, morning glories and marjoram the last week in April.  All these seeds will also be planted outside at the end of May.





This bed has 10 of the almost 100 cloves of garlic we planted.  It will be the home of 4 tomatoes come the end of May.





This is the last garden area that has to be cleaned up, but the peas and radishes are planted.  Soon they will have pole and bush beans, cucumbers, dill, peppers, eggplant and okra.  The small bed in the background has blueberries and strawberries beginning to grow.





This new bed has carrots, beets, scallions, arugula, lettuce, endive and spinach.  In summer it will have a few arches and trellises growing melons and squashes over the bed that will shade the carrots and lettuces.





Here is the rest of the garlic (almost 90 cloves).  They have responded nicely to the cool spring weather and organic fertilizer.  This bed also has some early herbs like Italian parsley, cilantro and chervil.






Both the pond and meadow are waking up.



This is the view from the patio looking over the pond toward the veg garden.  The pond is beginning to grow with hardy water lilies.  See the bit of red under water.




Here’s a close up of the water lilies growing, and….





here is the first water-lily popping on top of the pond by the end of April.





The meadow is aglow with daffodils that continue to spread.  This is just half of the meadow.






apr crittersOur visitors in April were varied and included our first of the season garter snake and frog in the pond, a northern leopard frog shown below.  Pictured here, top left moving clockwise, is a female bunny trying to make a nest in the garden.  And the toads woke up and dug themselves out from their winter hibernation.  The hairy woodpeckers came to partake with the Northern Flickers (lower left) and pileated woodpeckers (not pictured) that make their home just behind us in the woods.

Of course the birds have to be careful as this Cooper’s hawk caught one feeding on the garden floor.  I think it is a junco that you can see under it’s talon.  And that little frog is a spring peeper.  We found this one on the driveway and helped him back into the cooler garden.  The peepers are now in our pond as well as the pond in the wild area.  It is quite a noisy night to hear them calling to one another as mating season begins.








Tree Following

tree-logoDue to time constraints and little going on with the trees this month, I am combining my tree following post with my journal post.

I am linking in with Lucy@Loose and Leafy’s Tree Following meme that happens around the 7th of every month.

You can see the flowers on my silver maple are done blooming and leaves are beginning to bud finally at the end of April.









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. As the front gardens were decimated by voles, I thought it best to watch this area to see what blooms, doesn’t bloom and how the succession of bloom looks this year.  It will be a great way to evaluate the gardens here for any changes needed.

Here’s what the end of April looks like.  Spring is here, but it is behind by about 2 weeks.







Gardens Eye Verse

With some warm days in early spring, my spirit was buoyed, and I felt like I was walking on air.  I hope you enjoy my spring verse celebrating that feeling.


Thoughts On Spring’s Arrival

I am alive, free
on the wing of a bird flying high.
Their song lifts me
as it breaks against the early light,
bouncing through newly formed leaves.
I ride it, with the wind
blowing the clouds,
swirling over water seeing a face I did not know.
Feeling a soul lighter dancing on the ripples,
a giggle bubbles up and fills my heart.
The day is limitless
and endless to explore,
each not repeating only this one-
this day, this adventure.
This moment is enough!

Donna Donabella



Next up on the blog:  Next Monday I will profile all the blooms in the garden for GBBD.  Hoping to see more finally blooming.

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.  My most recent post is up already.  

I can also be found blogging once a month at Vision and Verb.  

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. Liz says:

    Hi Donna,

    I’m pleased to see your garden is beginning to grow now; the upside of a late spring is that everything blooms at once and bursts into life. The show is far more impressive! Of course, the con is that you have to wait longer to see it. I’m not sure which I prefer tbh. As wonderful as it is having almost no winter, or early blooms is that it’s patchy, and often not very impressive.

    I too leave spent growth in the borders, not only for birds to use and for wildlife to hibernate, but I also find it acts as its own mulch and helps protect against frosts and snow. Of course, in early spring/winter it can look unsightly, and I do usually clear some away or mulch over it to help it rot down.

    I hope you feel well soon!

    • Donna says:

      Thanks Liz….it is hard to wait so long but it is so worth it now. The blooms are kicking into high gear and the forget-me-nots just started blooming! 🙂

  2. Karin/Southern Meadows says:

    It is exciting to see the garden waking up after such a long slumber. I am still waiting to see if some plants will come back after our cold winter but for the most part my garden has surprised me with its hardiness. I love all your critters and the bloodroot is spectacular. I hope you get to feeling better very soon and will be back out in your garden before you know it!

    • Donna says:

      I am hoping the same thing Karin…quick recovery and back in my healing garden…but I know I am sidelined for 2 weeks at least per the doctor so that will take me to the end of May as surgery is this Friday. I seem to have lost 5 new native trees. So will be looking locally for replacements and maybe different more hardy trees for the area.

  3. Donna says:

    We pretty much have the same blooms right now, except for lungwort. Mine is still not out of the ground. I am glad bees are out and about. Spring has not been kind to them so far.

    • Donna says:

      I am worried about the pollinators Donna as the weather has kept them at bay. I do hope we both have some real nice spring weather soon.

  4. Kathy Sturr of the Violet Fern says:

    I loved seeing the bees on your flowers! I have not seen many yet – just a few bumblebees and small bees I haven’t identified. Seems to me I should have more! So much going on in your garden! It has rained here, too, but this morning is beautiful and gasp! sunny!!! I will be working on other people’s gardens today, though (sigh).

    • Donna says:

      I hope you are getting time in your garden Kathy…it does seem like the pollinators were slow to come out but now I am seeing lots of insects including ladybugs and wasps.

  5. susan@life-change-compost says:

    You’ve shown us some wonderful shots of your garden in its early spring stage. A month from now it will be impossible to believe everything could have looked bare! The turning of those seasons WILL come, although dang it–what a test you’all have had this winter. The “Forever Winter” for sure. I thought the shot of the hyacinths looked like an oil painting. Nice job with your veggie starts–they look so healthy and strong.

    • Donna says:

      Thanks Susie….June will certainly take over the garden and nothing will look the same. We have warmed up for about 10 days and by the time the surgery comes Friday, I will be in a holding pattern waiting for June so I can continue with weeding and planting up the veg garden. I have about 12 posts in the queue so I can concentrate on reading, commenting and resting.

      • susan@life-change-compost says:

        You have 12 posts queued up! Oh man! I’m traveling for half the month of June and all I could manage to do was schedule a hiatus for my blog for June. (In all fairness, I want to concentrate on the challenges of international travel, taking pictures and the incredible retreat ahead…) But still, it is clear you are an extraordinary blogger. How do you do it? I’m impressed. My thoughts will be with you as you go into surgery.

        • Donna says:

          I have a pretty organized schedule with some different series and posts in the blog back end as drafts so it makes it much easier. Blogging keeps me sane so it has been great writing so much. I hope it is training for writing the great novel someday. Where are you headed? I hope to be traveling lots next year…safe travels.

  6. Alison says:

    Glad to see you do at least have some blooms. I would say I hope your weather warms up and that your garden catches up, but it’s actually probably a good thing it’s behind in its growth, with your surgery coming up.

    • Donna says:

      Thanks Tina. The pond is lined but over the last 7 years the liner is covered with silt and vegetation. As the weather warmed, the algae has taken over so it takes a lot of work to keep it clean. It is never perfectly clean and we like it more natural.

  7. Florence says:

    Beautiful photos–especially the one of the bee in mid-flight! I’m on the Texas Gulf Coast and we too have had a late spring. Best wishes for a smooth recovery from your surgery.

    • Donna says:

      Thanks Florence. i would never suspect your area would have a late spring…here’s to more spring blooms soon.

  8. Angie says:

    You know Donna – I love how you manage to cram so much into one blog and still make it an interesting read.
    I’m sure you are glad to see the back of winter, at long last – I know we were the same over here in 2013!
    Great to see your garden come to life and your garden visitors are making a comeback.
    Wishing you a speedy recovery 🙂

    • Donna says:

      Thank you Angie for the well wishes. Winter here is gone and we are hurtling toward a warmer spring with loads of blooms soon.

  9. Alistair says:

    Well, it may be a little on the late side, but wow, so much going on, and the snow seems to have disappeared. Pulmonaria at one time I didn’t care that much for, love it now, ah well that’s me all over. Take care and I hope to see you restored to full health in the near future.

    • Donna says:

      We just started growing here Alistair so you are not late at all…thank you for the well wishes. They say recovery is at least 2 weeks of rest and doing nothing…that will be hard for me but I will do it. I think my body will insist.

  10. Jen @ Muddy Boot Dreams says:

    Seems like our climates are very similar this year…we are almost exactly the same late time of spring as you.

    But despite the late start, I’m sure we will all catch up soon.

    Recover fast from the surgery, I can relate to the frustration of not being able to garden.


    • Donna says:

      Thanks Jen…we warmed so more blooms coming daily but not too fast so I can enjoy them. I should be fully back in the garden in one month or less with any luck.

  11. Jason says:

    We’re a bit further along with our blooms than you are, but many things are late of just topsy turvy. And our warmth has been less than consistent – today it is just 45 degrees. I love all early native wildflowers you have – the bloodroot, twinleaf, etc.

    • Donna says:

      The early natives have been surprising me and I am just loving how they are popping up in unexpected spots…one of these years it will be amazing….warmed here in the 70s and low 80s. Love it!

  12. debsgarden says:

    Donna, I am so sorry to hear about your upcoming surgery. You will certainly be in my prayers. Your hubby will need to step in and do a lot for you and for the garden. It is a busy time for gardening, but ultimately it is OK to let things go; there will be another season. My own husband was a real trooper after my surgery last summer, and he continues to be. I will make him into a gardener yet! Meanwhile, your garden is beginning to look beautifully like spring, despite temps that I would definitely classify as winter!

    • Donna says:

      We have broken into the 60s, 70s and a few 80s. I expect a month of rest and little gardening but with being behind that will help. My hubby is being great and I am sure he will be key especially with the veg garden.

  13. PlantPostings says:

    You’ve been so busy, Donna! Take care, and I wish you the best before, during, and after your surgery. I hope it goes very well and that you’ll be able to rest and enjoy your garden without thinking about all the “to-dos.” I know that’s easier said than done, but do take it easy! ~Beth

    • Donna says:

      I will have no choice but to rest for at least 2 weeks or it won’t heal…so that will keep me resting. Then I hope to work back in slowly…but mostly I will be resting and enjoying my time in the garden watching the bird antics.

  14. Island Threads says:

    Donna we have some of the same flowers at the moment as daffodils and native primroses are both flowering in my garden now, daffodils being the most prominent,
    your garden is looking good, you have quite a lot growing, a nice lot of seeds too, as temperature here is in celsius now I have to convert your fahrenheit 50F = about 10C we have not reach that magic double figure yet and some days with windchill the temperature has been just above freezing,
    take and rest, Frances

    • Donna says:

      Thanks Frances…wow all that wind and cold yikes. We have actually warmed to the 70s and low 80s so it is glorious here right now. My daffs have really bloomed fully this year and I love the look of them. Wishing you warmer weather soon.

  15. Cathy says:

    A great round up Donna. That bee over the iris looks like he’s dancing! And I adore that white Hepatica. Hope your husband manages to keep things going while you are laid up… take care!

    • Donna says:

      The bees are indeed dancing Cathy. My husband is a trooper but I bet by the end of a month of resting and recovery he will have had enough! 🙂

  16. Eileen says:

    Hello Donna, your gardens and flowers are blooming beautifully.. Spring is a gorgeous time of the year.. I wish you a quick recovery, glad your hubby will be helping out.. Take care and have a happy week!

    • Donna says:

      Karen you are just behind us…I will do a second tomato transplant this weekend most likely. With the warmer sun and temps, we are starting to kick into high gear suddenly….you will too!! 🙂

  17. Ramblingwoods says:

    Oh you made me feel less alone… It has been so wet and cold, but you have a lot going on. I can’t believe the timing on the hernia… I am glad you have hubby to help. I didn’t know you could start sunflowers inside… I have seeds …. Michelle

    • Donna says:

      The timing is even worse because I have family coming in mid-June…they don’t necessarily recommend the indoor start for sunflowers, but I give them a start a couple of weeks prior to them going out so the critters don’t eat the seeds.

  18. Andrea says:

    Hi Donna, it is delightful to see the close-up photos, although the over-all scene is not yet very much alive. But i can already visualize the whole landscape when it is already very full and alive, complete with residents and visitors, food for the soul and food for the tummy!

    • Donna says:

      Yes, the weeds are filling in fast so you will see more of them soon when I take pictures especially in the back gardens…glad you enjoyed the garden.

    • Donna says:

      With our recent warm spell the leaves have opened…due to recovery from surgery, I will have another short post in June but a much longer catch up post in July.

  19. Janet/Plantaliscious says:

    How wonderful to see the garden properly, no hint of snow, and lots of new growth. I love your shots of the lily pad and the flowers with accompanying insects. Wonder why the ants love the hellebores so much. Your veg garden sounds as if it is going to be crammed with all sorts of wonderful tasty fare, I look forward to seeing how you follow things on and combine them, I am always looking for new ways to cram more in my tiny space.

    • Donna says:

      If all works well, sometime in early June I will be planting the rest of the veg garden…about a week later than usual but that will be OK. Ants are amazing pollinators but I am not sure why they like hellebores. Lots of weeds that I cannot get so that is very frustrating as they are taking over quickly…so this summer and fall will be all about maintenance.

  20. Helene says:

    Hi Donna, thanks for a lovely post, I bet you are glad winter is finally over, we had the same over here last year when spring didn’t really take off until late May. This year we are completely opposite, in my garden I have never been as early, at least 4 weeks early.
    I hope everything goes well with your operation, I know how frustrating it is to come home from hospital to recover and all you want is to go out and work in the garden. After 12 operations, most of them major surgery, I have learned not to push too early, but listen to the body! Good luck with everything, take care 🙂

    • Donna says:

      Helene I am heeding your advice and listening to my body as the hernia flares…I am not pushing it as I have done after major surgery when I was younger…what a big mistake. So lots of rest, reading and enjoying for at least 2 weeks…then easing in slowly as the doctor allows.

  21. Ginnie says:

    It appears that Mother Nature knew you would be “set aside” for awhile during your surgery, Donna, and slowed things down till you can get back in full swing. But YAY for hubby taking over in the meantime. You have quite the adventure here, on all sides! What a gardener’s delight. I can see why you’re in gardener’s heaven there.

    On another note, I’m finding out the names of plants I see here in Dutchland, like the Pulmonaria or lungwort. I saw it the other day and was totally fascinated by it. It’s new to me. WOW.

    • Donna says:

      It is funny how things work out Ginnie…I am very lucky to have the great support of my husband…and wow look at you learning more plants…surgery is Friday and I am getting ahead with blogging so I can just enjoy my down time.

  22. catmint says:

    hi Donna, such a lot packed in this post, but probably two standout things for me are the beginning when you say how the garden doesn’t always behave the ways it is supposed to for the time of the year it is – just as well, don’t want it to become predictable and boring! and the last thing, your poem, so incredibly happy and joyful. Enjoyed everything in between too …

    • Donna says:

      You are so sweet to say so and I am glad you enjoyed the post and poem….I don’t think my poem will ever be boring given the unpredictable nature of our weather.

  23. Loredana Donovan says:

    Sorry to hear about your hernia. Ouch. Hope you feel better soon! Love hyacinths and their scent. Enjoyed your verse especially the line about the bird’s song breaking against the early light. Beautiful 🙂

    • Donna says:

      That means so much to me Loredana…it was flaring up today so I think I will be glad to have it fixed Friday…it is the recovery I dread :0

  24. Laura Hegfield says:

    There is so much here Donna… such beauty… of course I’m drawn to the wild native plants… and your poem is gorgeous too. Thanks for sharing the love up-close with I Heart Macro… week 52 opens tonight:-)

    • Donna says:

      Oh Laura it makes my heart glad to know you enjoyed the poem. The garden is definitely getting more beautiful. I will be joining in as my recovery lets me…surgery is Friday.

  25. Laura Bloomsbury says:

    what up and down weather Donna – yet somehow the Spring flowers find the middle ground and plod on. Some heartening images here especially for me the sight of hepatica and twinleaf. Despite the stallings in garden and health I sense your sense of freedom in the poem – as Kristofferson wrote its just another word for nothing left to lose!

    • Donna says:

      The flowers are so amazing and they adapt so easily especially the natives…I am overjoyed that you liked the poem and a perfect complement with the Kristofferson line!

  26. Donna says:

    Thanks so much for visiting and commenting…it has been almost 2 weeks before I have seen a sunrise or sunset, and I hope to see a sunrise or sunset soon as I get about better now.

Comments are closed.