Gardens Eye Journal-June 2014


In my heart…I treasure the deeper reasons for gardening.  To fill me with purpose and significance.  They also justify my planting-season fever.  ~Judith Couchman


All during May, I was treated to joyous song from both bird and frog.  There were couples everywhere you looked.  Everyone had “hooked up” and were busy making ready for the little ones.  Nests were picked out carefully, in and out of the garden, and DSCN6938papas were busy bringing food to momma and the babes.

The gentle breezes finally warmed up just in time for me to be laid up so this journal is mainly chronicling the first half of May.  But no matter I can enjoy the sights and sounds of the later May and show you what I captured (if anything) later.  I have been taking the doctor seriously as I recover from surgery, and not doing much of anything until June.

This May Garden Journal is showing many more blooms, like the forget-me-nots pictured above.  It is a good thing I am only reviewing half the month, as this is one long post!  I am linking in with Helen@The Patient Gardener’s Weblog for her End of Month View as I look back at the first half of May.




DSCN6898May breezed in with high temps in the 50s and lows down in the 30s, but it quickly bounced back to highs in the 70s and low 80s.  With an inch of rain within the first week, the garden raced into high gear sending up new shoots and breaking dormancy in almost all the plants, trees and shrubs.  We had our first real thunderstorm and it finally felt like spring was here to stay.  We suffered one light frost, but since everything was still somewhat dormant, it did no harm.  It did however delay some shrubs.

Sunrises have been splendid with wonderful orange suns rising further north still.  One red sunrise brought that first thunderstorm with hard rains.  You can see here one wonderful sunrise just lighting up the horizon around 5:30 AM.




Garden Views

The beginning of May does not look a lot different from the end of April, but once I am able to post about the end of May you will see the difference as spring races on to catch up.


DSCN6521As you can see, the grass was greening in the front even where the voles did damage.  We had started the edging, but with the doctor’s orders for my limited gardening my husband had to take over weeding things like dandelions so they didn’t take a strong hold.  We don’t mind them, but they will take over if we let them.  And it seems we have lost the battle with most weeds for now.





Here is the back view of the mailbox garden.  I love the clumps of grape hyacinths that are growing throughout.  I think I will thin a few and move them to the left side so there is more color there.  And I need a few more miniature daffs for the left side too.  I also added to the left side a half eaten lavender that was misplaced under the forsythia.  And I just moved columbine and hyssop volunteers from the front garden to this garden.  I planted a few morning glories for when the clematis stops blooming and some sunflowers for late summer color to go with the echinacea, aster and new hyssop.  The white moss phlox are just greening up and beginning to flower a full 2 weeks late.




DSCN6523This is the wall garden.  More was blooming finally and everything but the roses have started greening up.  There is a young witch hazel on the other side of this garden.  It appeared to have died, but just before my surgery I noticed it was finally leafing out.





Let’s go to the back garden.  This was at the beginning of May.  We had just had a ton of rain at the end of April flooding the garden again.  But we did do the final clean up except for edging and weeding.





Here’s the corner again that floods all spring.  But once I get the design I want, I hope to dig out the rain garden again, add some stone and create a bog garden.  The plants that grow here enjoy very wet conditions, but I want to make sure it has a little more definition and less messiness.  The round garden bed may be moved, and some native highbush blueberries added to the bed along the fence which should give it a nice look and lots of fruit for all the birds visiting.





A week later and the garden has dried and all the daffs are now blooming.  You can see the meadow beyond the fence with loads of them, and many more are sprinkled throughout the garden.





The white garden was catching the late day sun.  So much blooming already including some purple violets (I will move) and dandelions that I will dig out.  The white hyacinths are not all coming up so I will move some here and dig them in deeper.  And I will divide the white English primrose, in the foreground, and move it about for early color.  So much grass is growing in all the back beds and that will be a big task to remove it.  The red twig dogwood to the left of the tree is not doing well.  I might also replace it with a highbush blueberry that flowers white.  And maybe I can get some snowdrops to finally grow here if I amend the heavy clay and place them closer to the tree.





Here is what else was growing in the white garden.  Lots of different white daffodils.  A white checkered lily, loads of white violets that bloomed when the temps hit 80, the spring snowflakes or Leucojum vernum and white trilliums under the tree.  Next to bloom is the groundcover Sweet Woodruff also under the tree.  Soon the columbines, echinacea, hosta, lily of the valley and iris will be blooming too.




What’s Growing



Every type of grape hyacinth imaginable was blooming in May.  I love the purple clumps and those that spread around taking over whole areas of the garden.  I must mark where the larger groupings are so I can move some around and enjoy them everywhere.  I’d show them in long shots of the garden, but the horsetail and grass need to be weeded out first and I was unable to do that this year.





Peonies jumped up quickly and formed flower buds by mid May.  I love the new reddish growth.  In June we will be enjoying the huge flowers.





Hyacinths were still everywhere in my May garden, and I featured them in my GBBD post.





The lamium groundcovers bloomed finally in May too, and the pink flowers were glorious.  I have them on the side and wall garden to keep them under control.  And it helps with weeds.  I need more groundcovers in persistently weedy areas.





Pulmonaria was at its best this past month with so many blues and pinks and even white.  But this raspberry blooming lungwort is my favorite this year.  It has moved itself from one clump in the back and created a wonderful border of many plants.





I only have a couple of small stands of this Anemone blanda, but I adore the way they open and close with the sun.





Fritillaria michailovskyi just began to bloom in early May along with the Fritillaria meleagris or Checkered Lily shown at the beginning of the post.






Wooohooo!  I have lilacs this year.  The white lilac was the only one with buds.  The purple lilac is in too much shade so I will move it to the sunny side of the house where we removed the butterfly bush.  The new Serviceberry and Fringetree appear to have not made it through the winter so there is room for the lilac there.  The white lilacs were in full flower when I came home from the hospital.






Violets in every shade were popping up all over.  The voles dug up tons of them in the front garden, but they will soon spring back.  I still need to add more as ground covers in several spots in the back.




may nativesLots of early spring natives were growing and blooming by mid May.  Twinleaf, columbine, monarda, ostrich fern (which I will profile in June), moss phlox, trillium both red and white (yellow ones are budding), Bloodroot (I profiled this ephemeral last week), Mayapple getting a late start, trout lilies in the meadow (I adore these little flowers) and Virginia bluebells just ready to flower.





This is one of the native trees that survived the harsh winter.  It is a Black Cherry.  I may move it inside the fence, but for now it is in the meadow.  The native linden and crab apple also survived.  I am uncertain of the Eastern redbuds.  I hope they show signs of life.





Veg Gardens


Here are the veg gardens from above.  They were slow to start, but there were lettuces, carrots and beets just sprouting in Mid May.





The radish were up in early May.  Peas were in the same bed, and took forever to finally sprout.  They should take off soon, and we had little radishes by the end of the month.  It is funny to see so many early veggies still not producing as I got ready to plant the warm veggies at the end of May.





Here are the blue potatoes that had to be planted as they were sprouting indoors.  We planted four grow bags of regular blues and two smaller grow bags of blue fingerlings which are new to me.  And we also planted about 75 red onions in the garlic bed and big green containers.  The potatoes and onions are under cover just at the top of the patio near the pond.  I wanted to plant the warm weather veggies under cover before my surgery, but since the forecast for mid-May was for cooler temps, I decided to wait until early June when I should be recovered enough.







This was the view of the meadow from the back of the white garden along the back fence to the left of the gazebo.  The lupines are growing nicely and were blooming already at the end of May.  The pond did not change much in the beginning of May so I didn’t show it in this post.  You can see it in many of the long shots above.  By the end of the month it was starting to flower and look lovely.  I’ll highlight it more in June.






may crittersI could not get over the critters that were about in the first half of May.  Orioles returned with hummers (see them below).  Both feeders are up.  Yes I finally got an oriole feeder, and am glad I did as the orioles were hanging on the hummer feeder.  Red-winged blackbirds and grackles ate all the suet in a day,.  House sparrows had babies already in May and took both houses again in the meadow.  The fox was around a lot ,and were heard babes were spotted.  Lots of interesting pollinators on native plants.  I wonder which one this is on the trout lily.  We noticed lots of ladybugs on the ninebark.  They were mating on the new leaves.  I will be watching to see what happens.  Here is the pileated in the yard.  Tree swallows keep trying to get in the wren house.  They had to finally give up as wrens moved in.

And the dutiful robin lost her eggs as we found one on the sidewalk.  We hope she comes back to lay again.  When I got home in late May, the bluebirds were feeding the babes which I think already fledged by the end of the month.  I also hope they come back to nest again.









Tree Following

tree-logoAgain due to time constraints and little going on with the trees in early May,  I am combining my tree following post with my journal post.  I will have a more in depth look at how the tree has changed in late May and June for my July 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 leaf buds have burst and new young leaves are covering the tree in early May.  I love their orange, yellow and green color.









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 focusing on the front gardens where the voles did their damage.

Here’s what the middle of May looks like.  I like the view from the driveway looking across the front garden.  It appears our Endless Summer hydrangeas may be dead.  Not much growth even by the end of May.



The daffs and hyacinths soon faded after this picture was taken when the 80 degree weather hit.




DSCN6525Here was the view from the other side of the driveway a bit farther away where you can see a bit more of the other side.  The columbine volunteers I moved around the  garden have survived and are growing nicely.  This front garden will be a sea of columbines soon.





Gardens Eye Verse

The golden rays of the early May sun brought lots of warmth to the garden.  You can see the sun making the daffs glow with a golden hue instead of white.  May is a favorite time for me in the garden, and I am celebrating that feeling in verse.



Love In My May Garden

Love is whispered as the gentle breeze blows.
And catches the light of the morning glow.
It sparkles in the early dew,
And kisses each flower as the day renews.
Sit in the garden now and drink it up.
Let nature be your loving cup.

Donna Donabella

So as the summer solstice approaches, I hope you will join in and tell us how you celebrate your summer or summer memories?  Of course in the Southern hemisphere, we want to hear about your winter celebrations.



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 and celebrations in pictures and words.

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 solstice (around the 21st of June).  And we will keep those posts linked on a page on our blog.  Your post should be linked in the weekend before the solstice 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:  On Wednesday I will have my latest Vision and Verb post linked up.  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. Island Threads says:

    lots happening Donna, glad to read you are ‘following doctors orders’ very sensible,
    your garden looks like it is spreading it’s wings and breaking for freedom now the snow has finally gone, in your views from above the one of the back garden shows you have a lovely grouping in it of 3 mature trees and you have created a nice curved bed under them, I really like this, the bed of plants make you look down but the trees bring your eyes upwards as well, probably nice for birds and other wildlife too,
    your white garden looks nice and the grape hyacinth, I have bluebells growing with horsetails, not from choice as you know, your tree has interesting colour in the new growth, I am finding this meme has me looking at all my trees a bit closer and noticing things I had not before,
    take care and now it’s June don’t start rushing about too quickly, build up slowly, Frances xx

    • Donna says:

      I am a stubborn mule sometimes Frances and as such have disregarded doctor’s orders and what my body was telling me with disastrous results….but I do learn and so as such I am heeding my body and doctor. No point making it worse.

      The 3 mature trees are 2 ash and the maple I am following. One ash is infested and will die in a few years so we planted a small tree behind it where we took down an ash last year as there were 4 trees.

      This bed has some bulbs, wildflowers, hosta and lots of weeds. It is one of the most neglected areas, but one the wildlife adore. We will be adding to it and expanding it in the future to add more shelter for wildlife.

      My only focus right now besides documenting the garden is the veg garden. I am lucky to have a great husband who will help plant out the rest of the veg garden under my supervision this week. Then I will watch it and he will attend to it. I hope to be out in the garden working by the end of the month if the doctor says it is OK and my body can bend more by then.

      • Island Threads says:

        tut, tut, tut, I hope you learnt the lesson, x

        thanks Donna for the extra info on the bed, what a shame the ash tree is dying, there is a lot of that over here (UK not my island),
        I am also concentrating more on veggies and other parts of the garden come after,
        best wishes, Frances x

        • Donna says:

          Indeed I have Frances….the ash tree has carpenter ants so it will die a slow death. We had to cut the top 20 feet off because it was unstable…..good luck with your wonderful veggies!!

  2. Kathy Sturr of the Violet Fern says:

    So many happenings and you get to enjoy them all! But what torture those Doc’s orders must be. I feel you are taking a real good look at your garden (all the things you are going to move – when you are fully recovered). So, it is an opportunity afterall. The Robins didn’t nest on my porch this year … first year in a long time that it has stood empty. The humming birds are slowing down. I picked my first salad from the garden last week – I am sure yours is catching up!

    • Donna says:

      I have loads of lettuce but have not picked it…this week is the veg garden focus. I am enjoying watching the garden, but it is torture to not be out there although the mosquitoes are in full force now.

    • Donna says:

      Thanks Jeannine! I have been hoping to see more dazzling sunrises but so far the leaves I think are obscuring the sunrise.

  3. _emily_rose says:

    Oh I love your little violets 🙂 This spring I planted some of the white and blue in my yard.

    Hope your recovery is smooth and speedy!!

    • Donna says:

      Thanks Sue. The garden is filled in but with more weeds than I would like….but I will deal with them eventually.

    • Donna says:

      Thank you so much!! It was a glorious morning of light when I snapped that picture. The garden is now drenching up every bit of it!!

  4. Alison says:

    I don’t know what I would do if the doc told me I couldn’t garden. I did have a few months of back pain last fall that prevented me from cleaning up the fall and winter debris, and that was torture, as much because of the inability to garden as from the pain. Glad to see your garden starting to bounce back from all that vole damage you had.

    • Donna says:

      Thanks Alison. As I suspected, the damaged area is lacking in its perennials that were killed and weeds have taken their place…so it will mean a redesign to see what is gone and what to add or divide perhaps. It has been hard to just sit and watch the garden, but it is a good exercise to practice my observation skills.

  5. susan@life-change-compost says:

    You sound good Donna! I’m so pleased. It sounds like the surgery went well. I always love the wide view of your back yard, you have such a beautiful space. Things seem slow to come around, but then again, you had a most brutal winter. My peonies and bearded iris are just finishing. It’s always interesting and fun to see the gardens of others…keep up the good work kiddo and you’ll be back to a full gardening plate in no time. Susie

    • Donna says:

      While I was gone the garden snuck up and filled in especially with weeds and now we are in a dry spell. I am still assessing what lived, what died and what is buried by weeds….your garden is a few weeks ahead of mine. Can’t wait to get around more and get to work!

  6. Angie says:

    It’s easy to forget just how late a start your garden had Donna, glad to hear it’s all coming along nicely without too many casualties. You had some lovely May (first half) blooms going on. Nice to see the pics of your garden visitors – we are currently experiencing the constant chatter, or should that be racket, of the sparrow fledglings!
    Nice to read that your recovery is coming along nicely and may in continue to do so.

    • Donna says:

      I always know Angie when there are fledglings because of that chatter. My garden is racing ahead now but many things still are slow to show except the weeds of course. I have a bumper crop of them. 🙂

  7. Donna says:

    I love that Spring finally gave way and plants bloomed with abandon. May had pretty much the same here as well, yet the anemone, daffs and muscari finally relented to the heat. Same garden visitors pretty much too. I wish you a good recovery so you can get in your garden like you enjoy.

    • Donna says:

      Everything changed while I was away Donna and I came home to a completely different garden in 5 days that was just beginning to bloom with new flowers. I can’t wait to get out there soon, but I plan to take it slow!

  8. bridget says:

    Wow! What a long and all encompassing post. So much going on there in your garden. Love your white fence. Hope you are fully recovered soon.

    • Donna says:

      Thanks Bridget…I hope to be fully recovered in about a month. It will feel good to slowly get back in the garden and take it back from the weeds.

  9. Cathy says:

    Spring let you wait long enoigh, but I hope it’s now making up for lost time! There’s so much happening now, I just hope you can bear not to get out there before you’re really ready. Take care and enjoy those lovely flowers that are coming!

    • Donna says:

      I am holding up watching more and more weeds grow as I know that I will eventually get to them. The garden does just forge ahead without me!!

  10. debsgarden says:

    I am glad that you are on the mend! This is the time to enjoy the garden while hubby does the work! Regarding this post, thanks for the long views, which I always enjoy. I love grape hyacinths and your collage of them was a delight. It is refreshing to see all the spring blooms in your garden, as those have been long gone here. I love peonies; I bet by now yours are blooming!

  11. Ginnie says:

    All of that and you still had surgery! You blow my mind, Donna. For starters, I love your white picket fence. That alone must take time and effort each year! But everything else…I keep thinking about how much Astrid would LOVE to work with you there in your garden and meadow. I would even be glad to do the weeding! I’m very good at that. 🙂

    • Donna says:

      The fence is PVC as I do not like to paint so little effort actually. But the gardens are the effort. I did what I could before surgery thinking I would be out there already but I will wait. Anytime you want to visit we have a spare room and lots of garden tools!! 🙂

  12. Julie says:

    Hi Donna, I am glad you are enjoying the bird and frog song during your recuperation. Its interesting that you have shown us the native and non native plants, its something thats I do not give enough attention to here, just accepting wether I can or cannot grow that particular plant in my garden rather than thinking more about its origin. I like being made to think more!

    • Donna says:

      How nice Julie…I do like to showcase what native plants I have here as I have found they support some wonderful wildlife. I am glad you enjoyed seeing the natives and non-natives.

  13. randy hyden says:

    What a post ! Thanks for the effort. Spring is so neat. The cool temps stayed with us down here in Texas longer than usual this year. I liked it, but then again I didn`t. It`s fianlly starting to get warm and the gardens are responding accordingly.

    • Donna says:

      I was so surprised to see that you had a cool spring as well. I know what you mean about liking it but not….now the gardens can bloom with delight!!

  14. Grace Peterson says:

    Well, your garden has made great strides considering where it was just a few months ago. To have living things again to enjoy and care for is such a huge blessing. And the wildlife make it so much more enjoyable, don’t they? Great post. Happy gardening.

    • Donna says:

      I am continually amazed by my resilient garden. It has endured so much and it blooms happily every year although not all plants bloom…some rest and come back in later years….I feel a lesson in this and a possible post!! 🙂

  15. Jennifer@threedogsinagarden says:

    It is a hard time of year to be recovering from surgery. I hope your progress is good and you are getting more and more like your usual self with each passing day. How sweet that your husband is trying to fill in with a little weeding!
    Alas gardening is like housework; it is never done! It will still be waiting for you when you are better in June. For now, I hope you sit back and enjoy all the spring flowers your post highlights so nicely.

    • Donna says:

      Thank you Jennifer. I am enjoying the blooms and rest. He will be helping me plant the veg garden too this week as we finally get the tomatoes, peppers, beans etc in.

  16. Ramblingwoods says:

    This winter did take a toll on vegetation and wildlife… Your recovery is a process. Don’t rush as payback is a you know what. Rest and rest and listen to your body…. So hard to do… Healing hugs!…. Michelle

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