Gardens Eye Journal-April 2015


Everything that slows us down and forces patience, everything that sets us back into the slow circles of nature, is a help.  Gardening is an instrument of grace.  ~May Sarton



Certainly this winter, which I finally left behind this past week, forced me to have greater patience than I ever remember.  And even though we are a couple of weeks behind in the garden, I will be out gardening soon.  I hope to plant lettuces and peas this coming weekend.  

The voles were busy again this winter doing all kinds of damage.  We have some ideas to try in the bean/pea veg bed to keep them out.DSCN1076  And given the rain they are predicting this week, we may not be able to get out there until the weekend.  But I am determined to get some flowers and veggies planted out soon. 

In March we had no flowers at all which is unusual.  Usually by the end of March, the early bulbs are starting.  But I received my Galanthus order, from Carolyn@Carolyn’s Shade Garden, right at the end of March.  They were in bloom when I planted the snowdrops in pots and put them in a cool spot with bright light.  The picture here and above is of the snowdrops blooming inside.

As I review another section of my garden for this Garden Review, I am joining Helen@The Patient Gardener’s Weblog for her End of Month View.





 march sky 15

Well I think I have said just about enough about the weather in March.  One of the 10 coldest March’s on record; 10 degrees below normal.  In like a lion and out like a cold lamb.  But the sunrises were spectacular.  The top left picture shows the sky just before sunrise with a sliver of the moon.




Garden Views


First I thought I would review what the garden looked like in March.  

 snow melt

If you look at the progression of the March garden from the beginning of March (top left) through all 4 weeks, you can see some changes.  The second week had temps in the 40s that melted half the snow.  But the last 2 weeks we just were frozen in place.





Finally on the last days of March, we began to see some days in the 40s and a bit more melting especially by the gazebo.




back garden melt early aprBut it wasn’t until the beginning of April, that the winds shifted and we had a couple of warm days in the low 60s.  You can see, by the end of the third day of April, we lost a third of the snow in the back garden which is north facing.  And in the south-facing front garden, half the snow melted.  I’ll save those views for next month’s April review of the garden.




Arch Garden

This month I am reviewing a little garden area in the back that is to the left of the arch.  Of course I named it The Arch Garden.  It is a slim almost diamond-shaped garden, that has never really been planned…many plants just plunked down here.  It is in full sun for fall, winter and spring until the trees leaf out.  Then in summer, half of it is in dry shade while the other half is in sun.  The center is also drier than the edges.



This is what the garden looked like at the end of March/beginning of April.  It is one of the first gardens to thaw.  And there are some crocus that still grow and multiply here in early spring.




early spring arch

Once the area dries up in later April, bulbs come up, but there are only a few left in the Arch Garden; namely hyacinth and crocus.  I must remember to add more here especially daffs, more hyacinths, iris reticulata and maybe a few others.




spring arch

Sorry for some of the far away shots as I don’t usually take many pictures of this garden.  In spring there are loads of Muscari, a few late tulips, dwarf bearded iris and a few Aquilegia.  And in mid spring, peonies also grow here.




arch flowers collage

In summer, in the sunny half of the garden, there is a climbing rose, a fairy rose, Echinacea, lilies and one Invincibelle® Spirit  Hydrangea or Hydrangea arborescens.  It was a very small plant when it started and it is now 3 feet tall in three years.  I love the pink climbing rose I placed here, but it doesn’t seem to grow much each year mostly because it does not like our cold spring weather.




late summer arch

Here is the Arch Garden in late summer.  It is messy and needs to be edged, weeded and generally tweaked.  I really need to take a careful inventory of all the plants and shrubs I plunked down here.  Many need to be moved to more sun so they can grow, and replaced with native plants for dry shade.  I think there is another hydrangea, some grasses, and even a lavender growing in the shade half of this garden.




arch fall

And this the Arch Garden after we cut it cut back in fall.  There is a boxwood at the tip.  I moved this boxwood from the front garden a few years ago.  The wrought iron plant support here is for one of the peonies.




Indoor Gardening

 seed starting

I thought I would catch you up on the indoor gardening in the basement.  I cleaned up the pile of dirty containers on the floor, and moved the herbs from the seed growing station to the floor beside it.  It felt great to clean and disinfect the containers and organize them.  I had no idea how many pots and seed starting kits I had.  You can see them all on the shelves in the bottom right picture. 





Here are some of the alyssum seeds I started on the left.  I also started some marigolds or Tagetes.  And violas and pansies that I started at the end of January, were transplanted (pictures on the right).  They should be big enough to plant out in containers in late April .





Peppers, eggplant, celery, Antirrhinum majus, Petunias, Coleus and some gerbera daisies are also growing now under the lights.


April brings herbs, tomatoes, melons, squashes, cucumbers, pumpkins and a few more flowers to start indoors since our growing season is so late.  I’ll update the indoor and outdoor seed starting later this month.




Tree Following



This year I decided to follow my very young Tilia americana or American Linden tree.

This is what it looked like last summer.  It is just a stick about 5 foot tall, but I am hoping it will grow a bit and have loads of leaves, flowers and fruit again this year.  Currently it is covered with netting and foam to keep the deer away.  Last spring, they ate all the side limbs off of the tree.  We’ll be unwrapping the tree soon, and spraying it with a deer repellent.  I am hoping the wind, extreme cold and snow wasn’t too much for this young tree.  Otherwise I will have to pick a different tree to follow. 

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






Our gray squirrels were busy keeping warm in March.  This was the first one that tried to get to the suet feeder.  The snow that was piled all the way to the top of the fence certainly helped this enterprising squirrel get a bit of the tasty suet. 




march 15 birds

Right before spring came on the 21st, the Pileated woodpecker was back in the garden, and the red-winged blackbirds flew in with the grackles.  We are still waiting for more birds to show up although I have noticed many more birds pairing off to build nests.  Even the crows were busy building nests in late March.





And around the end of March, momma deer and her twins were back out having been missing for most of February and March.  The freezing weather and very deep 5 to 8 foot piles of snow made it impossible for them to move around.  You can see their winter coats are already changing.





In A Vase On Monday 




I am glad I went out and cut some willow and Forsythia branches about a week ago as the only flowers growing are 2 snowdrops and a few early crocus.  The snow is just retreating leaving big lakes of water everywhere so there is little to put in a vase.




DSCN1451 But the branches have quickly rooted and are blooming quickly.




twigs blooming vase

I put the red twig dogwood in the vase for added color.  And I placed the large vase near the fireplace with a few colorful candles and an Easter Bunny.  A simple start to spring with this vase.  Not sure what next week will bring.  Probably some seedheads and greens, as the bulbs growth is slow.  Oh well, I am sure I will find something.


I am joining in with a few memes this week as I prepare this vase:  Cathy@Rambling in the Garden for her wonderful meme, In a Vase on Monday, Today’s Flowers hosted by Denise@An English Girl Rambles and Judith@Lavender Cottage who hosts Mosaic Monday.



Next up on the blog:  

Next Monday, I will have another vase and maybe a flower or two to show for Garden Bloggers Bloom Day as seen from my Gazebo. 

I am linking in with Michelle for her Nature Notes meme at her new blog just for Nature Notes.  It is a great way to see what is happening in nature around the world every Tuesday. 



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, 2010-2015.  Any reprints or use of content or photos is by permission only. 

96 Replies to “Gardens Eye Journal-April 2015”

  1. Beautiful photos, Donna! The misty Arch Garden is one of my favourites.
    Your pansies are bigger than mine and look very healthy. 🙂
    Spring is coming… it’s lovely!
    Have a sunny and beautiful April!

    1. Thanks Sara…I liked that picture too…I had fun with the mosaics this month. My pansies grow so slow from seed that I started them a full month more ahead…I expect to have them in pots by the end of this month as they will have been growing for 3 months by then….spring is here finally and now we have lost 80% of the snow.

      Enjoy your spring!

  2. I am glad you could find something for your vase Donna – it must be a lovely feeling to have fresh growth to watch too as the Forsythia opens. Your shelves of pots etc look very tidy – I feel put to shame and will make an effort to tidy up my little garden storage room in the cellar before I get too busy outside! Have a good week!

    1. It does feel good to have something from my garden in the vase and the garden is quickly growing and blooming already Cathy. It also has helped getting my seed starting things in order for once….Have a great week.

  3. Finally the gardens are showing after all the winter snow. I see you name your garden areas like I do, according to the piece of garden art or structure in it. I love to do comparisons of the different areas. Your seed starting is well ahead of mine, I’ve just got the soil and containers out and the packets of seeds all over the extra bed. I’m off to a Seedy Saturday this week so hope to get the rest of the seeds I want and then get them started. We also had a pileated woodpecker in the garden yesterday … the camera was snapping away. Even though they say wet snow in the forecast today I’m in the spring mode 🙂

    1. I do name my gardens Linda by structure or type of plants or location….it’s a mix. I am excited to see how quickly the garden is melting and growing. I end up starting many seeds early except for tomatoes and squashes…they don’t need as much time to grow bigger. I am trying to get an even bigger jump start now that the garden season is getting shorter and shorter. Here’s to getting started in the garden…once mine dries out. 🙂

  4. Happy spring, Donna! It is great to see green in your garden, though I always enjoy seeing your snow! All your collages are interesting, but the color superimposed on the black and white is wonderfully effective!

    1. Indeed it is a happy spring Deb! That collage was fun to make too…right now my gardens are wet and especially the back garden is under water in many spots….and it is going to rain on and off for at least a week. But I am not complaining!

    1. Yes Alison soon it will be melted and dry enough to get started…and I am enjoying watching new growth and blooms popping up daily.

  5. Your March garden looks cold and snowy so I’m glad April is bringing some green and warmer temperatures.
    Thank you for linking to Mosaic Monday Donna.

  6. Our two end of the country couldn’t be more different, Donna! I expect you rue the long winter but I envy all that rain and snow you’ve received – you don’t have to measure every drop you spend watering and your garden will catch up in no time! I was surprised to see that your cut branches produced roots so quickly – the vase was an interesting visual.

    1. I do grow weary of winter Kris come February and especially March…but yes it is worth it to have all the moisture for the garden. It is rare we have a drought…right now I am flooded and rain is expected on and off for a week. The branches seemed ready to grow more and produce roots quickly now with the increased light.

  7. I can feel the excitement in your garden. Great things to come 🙂 Thanks for sharing Donna, and for linking with Today’s Flowers. All the photos were super!

  8. Pretty images, I love your summer mosaics. Lovely colors.. I think we may be done with the snow. I am sure you gardens will look beautiful soon… The sunrises are gorgeous, a lovely start to you day..And I love all the critters. Have a happy week ahead!

    1. Oh that would be great to have the snow finished Eileen…it was great to see so many critters coming out of their winter hibernation. Enjoy this week!

  9. I am so glad you feel confident that winter is behind you now, Donna. Good to look through all the images in your post – I especially loved the contrasting pictures of the Arch Garden. The stems in your vase are gorgeous and how obliging they were to be flowering for you in time for Monday! Thanks for sharing. Will you use the rooted ones?

    1. Cathy we definitely have turned the corner and early bulbs are already blooming some….I was so excited that the cuttings bloomed right on schedule too. I plan to use the rooted branches as I really need to spread the red twig and forsythia bushes.

  10. Love the photo of the Pilleated Woodpecker. I wish we could see them around here. The deer, however, I am happy to do without.

    1. We thought there were maybe 4 or 5 deer behind our property but now we are seeing many more perhaps 8 or 9…yikes.

  11. How nice that green grass is back and flowers are starting to bloom outside after your long winter — we had a terrible one last year, so I deeply sympathize with how hard it is to wait for spring when it arrives late. Your pansy and viola plants will be lovely soon — and your seed starting area is so organized! Warm wishes for many flowers in April. -Beth

    1. You know what is sad Beth is we had a bad winter last year too although not quite as cold as this year’s. I can’t wait to start planting my seedlings soon.

  12. You must be relieved to be on the other side of winter at long last. Happy Spring. Your seed preparations are impressive and your vase of forsythia is perfect for the season.

  13. Yes, we have a lot of muck and a lot of deer torn up areas..but there is some green so I am happy… Your Mama squirrel probably needs the fat for her babies… Mine will go to great lengths to get suet….. I love that you are growing things indoors…Michelle

    1. Could be she was a mama squirrel with some babes as I saw a young squirrel recently…assessing vole damage now and oh boy is it muddy and mucky.

  14. the garden’s slowly waking up after its winter rest. Very exciting. I love the way you’ve used collages, very imaginative and interesting.

  15. I think March was very similar here and our spring is very delayed. I have yet to start any seeds at all. I was most impressed with how organized you pots etc. are. I wish I was as well organized! I am hoping that the reappearance of the deer and the change in their coats is a sure sign that the seasons have shifted. Yesterday I noticed a robin in the yard for the first time. Surely warmer weather is here at long last.

    1. We definitely have shifted here as the temps are between 40s and 60s during the day and bulbs are blooming quickly. I would bet you have turned a corner too Jennifer.

  16. While I don’t enjoy gardening, I do love pretty flowers…I want someone else to do all the work. 🙂

  17. Hi Donna,

    You may only just be thawing, but I can bet you’ll soon quickly catch up as the temperatures rise! It’s just a shame it’s taken so long for the warm to arrive and you now get the chance to enjoy being outside again.

    1. Absolutely Liz, the early bulbs are up and some are blooming with others not far behind. It was disappointing we did have to wait so long…now we have to wait a bit longer for the garden to dry out so I can get in there for a final clean up and start to do projects.

    1. I couldn’t believe how much was growing as the snow melted…and how some bulbs popped up with blooms as soon as the snow melted….amazing although very wet for a while.

  18. Oh it must be so reassuring to see your garden reappearing from that snow blanket Donna. Spring seems to have arrived late here – it’s been a long cool winter but we did not have much in the way of snow at all. You have new snowdrops!!! 🙂 What were you tempted by?

    1. Oh I am glad spring has arrived for you too Anna…I bought a few snowdrops (just the everyday ones) as Carolyn sells them and I have loved other plants I bought from her. I really want some of the more unusual snowdrops, but with the voles who dig up and destroy bulbs here, I can’t justify the expense. So I admire them from afar.

  19. I liked seeing the progression through March in your garden and also flowers you can look forward too. Great shots of the deer, squirrels and birds. I like to follow trees too as they change and grow.

    1. I do enjoy keeping track of the garden and critters and am so glad you enjoyed my sharing them…and I agree Carver…trees are fascinating to observe.

  20. Lots of great shots – really enjoyed the mosaics. Nice to see everything coming alive and blooming again after such a harsh Winter.

  21. I’m amazed to see snow so late in the year, but then again, I rarely see snow. It must give you a good feeling to be near the end of the cold and onto the growing season. I’m sure you’re grateful that you can start plants indoors–hope for new growth!

    1. It is an amazing feeling Tina….still some lingering piles in those corners where the sun doesn’t shine enough…now for some warmer weather and all will be gone and I will be out planting seeds.

  22. That is a long post Donna. Sometimes i just look at the photos, sorry for not reading. I love the sunrise shots look so serene, but your cold seems so long. If only you can funnel the cold on the way here, as we are already having 33-35C at daytime, and our annuals are already approaching their deaths. I guess this is the counterpart of your winter, not the summer.

    1. Yes my journal posts are long as I look back at the month…but I am glad you enjoyed the story the pictures told. I would be happy to send some cold and snow your way! 😉

  23. I bet you are ready for spring! Hope you can get in it this weekend. At least you have a good space to work inside. I laughed when you said you didn’t realize how many pots and seed starting kits you had. I thought the same thing as I was repotting seedlings. (Hello, my name is Brenda and I’m a pot hoarder) 🙂

  24. I am so ready for spring Brenda and getting into the garden once it dries out a bit. You had me laughing. I was thinking boy I am such a hoarder of gardening things. Sounds like the inkling of an idea for an upcoming post. From one pot hoarder to another thanks! 😀

  25. My, you certainly have had a long winter, Donna! It’s felt like spring here for a couple of weeks now, and Sunday was one of the most beautiful Easters I can remember. But it looks like you have a jump start on the growing season with all those healthy seedlings indoors!

    1. It was a long winter Rose and Easter was cold and snowy here. Now the winds are shifting and we are getting more warmer days mixed with cold ones still.

  26. thank you for taking us into the corners of your world. I find it fascinating how your changes in season are so dramatic. We don’t have anything like that hear. Have a happy week, enjoy your gardening, and thank you for stopping by my blog this week.

    1. Glad you liked the showing of the seasonal shift here…it is quite dramatic especially from winter to spring….have a wonderful week Jill!

  27. I see grass Donna, grass! You must be overjoyed! I loved watching the “snow melt” in this post. I spent yesterday afternoon in the garden! Today, it is a bit chilly but I got my rain barrel out of the shed and hooked up for the expected rain. I brought all my “tender” perennials up from the cellar and placed them outside. There aren’t any freezing temperatures in the forecast so I’m going to put out my hummingbird feeders, too – just sighted in Scranton PA so with this upcoming warm weather I want to be ready! Hey, you could probably plant that red twig Dogwood in your Arch garden. I didn’t cut any forsythia because I gave it a good clipping last fall. I did cut some spice currant but it just seems to be leafing out in the vase and not flowering – still nice to see those springy little leaves, though. I am cleaning potting trays today and seed starting a few things – organized the greenhouse yesterday. So exciting! I hope you have a fabulous warm weekend in the garden.

    1. I have about 90% of the snow melted but with the rain it is very soupy out there so no garden work yet. That is exciting that you got out and in the greenhouse Kathy. We are having intermittent snow with rain when it gets cold enough so I can’t put any plants out yet. I am happy to hear the hummers are moving fast so we will get our feeders out too. The garden is shifting fast here. I hope to plant those red twigs in the white garden along the fence. I have one that grows there and does well and need some other shrubs as well further along the fence where the white garden is. I have loads of seedlings in the meadow too that could be moved to other areas. It is such a great shrub.

  28. sorry to read you had such cold dreadful weather in March Donna, I hope from now on it gets better, your arch garden sounds a nice little area and I do like the missy B&W summer photo, it gives a dream like quality to it,
    I will be interested to see your little tree grow though I had to smile at 5 feet being little, here if a tree reaches 5 foot it is doing well,
    love your beautiful sunrise photos, your house and garden are the opposite of mine as the front of my house faces north and so back south,
    intrigued by your indoor sowing station with lights, mine only goes as far as the windowsill growing, Frances

    1. We have more warm days than cold for now and I think that we will have mostly warm for at least another week after today.. Although we can never be sure here Frances. My little tree is but a stick and hard to even see somedays but I can understand it being large in comparison in some climates. This tree will get upwards of 80 or more feet some day.

      I tried my windowsills for seed growing years ago, but they just were too cold and gray so I had to resort to a growing station with lights and heat mats…it has served me well so far and thankfully!

  29. It is interesting to see how your garden changes with the seasons, Donna. I am impressed by your indoor gardening!

    Happily, I have not seen and voles or snakes (knock wood!)in my garden. although they are common in my area. I usually have many deer visitors but every shrub in my back garden is surrounded by chicken wire to its top, and I think the lack of food has made the deer look elsewhere. What I do have many of this spring is rabbits! The rabbits have been very active but so far have just eaten the grass as it grows in.

    The front of my house faces north, and does not get much sun, but I planted iris bulbs and some rhizome roots and I hope some will grow by June/July. It’s something to look forward to!

    1. We are seeing many more deer here Pat because they are unchecked. But the rabbits are rare as there are too many predators….birds of prey and fox. I adore iris and can’t enough so I hope they bloom for you and bring you much joy!

  30. Donna, so glad to see you have Spring arriving after such a long cold Winter. Thinking about your arch garden brought to mind that our Aberdeen garden had no plans, it just evolved over the years.

    1. I like when things can evolve Alistair…of course as a gardener our gardens are always evolving aren’t they.

  31. I have felt that patience testing this year as well. Your indoor garden shots are extraordinary! I would really like to expand my indoor grow area next year to include some of the veggies you listed! It won’t be long now friend…you have so much beauty to look forward to!!!! Nicole xoxo

  32. Donna, please share you secret for getting the forsythia to root. I’m sure it’s quite easy, but I must be doing something wrong. Either the wrong time, wrong size branch or wrong exposure. Most likely, all of the above!

    1. Oh Karen I wish I knew the secret….I simply placed it in nice clean water in a semi-sunny spot and it as well as the other 2 other types of branches rooted and bloomed. I actually just dug the forsythia out of the snow a couple of weeks ago, and cut a couple of one foot branches. And then placed them right in the water.

  33. Donna, every time I read how you describe your garden – what’s new there, what condition it is at the moment, what you plans are – I feel inspired and motivated to get to my own garden and work there to make it a better and nicer place. Thank you for this encouragement to get down to it. 🙂

    1. Oh my that is one of the nicest things to say dear Petra….now if I could get the rain to stop, I could get out in my garden finally!

  34. It’s nice to see that bare ground showing in your garden. I have been away and am hoping to see a significant increase in snow-free garden area when I get home.

    1. Oh I hope your snow is gone soon Jean…just a bit is left but so much rain has really caused so much flooding, I am not going to get in the garden for weeks if we don’t have some dry weather soon.

  35. Horrid March weather, but I love reading how you made the best of it anyway. The snowdrops are so sweet and I think I’ve already told you how much I miss (in both senses of the word) all sweet early spring flowers. This time of year I have to remind myself that my toes were warm all winter (and I didn’t suffer from the rheumatiz’) …. a tradeoff like so much of life.

    Your basement garden is really a work of genius. I have to add that the Arch Garden looks like pretty much my whole yard did when I actually had a house and garden. I loved it, but nothing was ever planned; it all just grew like Topsy!

    1. At some point, I know I will be doing less gardening as I age and travel more. And I do love the Topsy look, although I still struggle to control it a bit more. Mostly due to age and the work it will take. Enjoy those warm toes. Mine are still inside waiting still for our warm weather.

  36. I smiled when I saw a picture of your Linden tree! Linden trees are very popular and loved in Russia. The smell of their blooms are absolutely wonderful, and Linden honey is the best!

    1. I love hearing these stories Tatyana, and I will look upon my little tree quite differently now….it has a special cousin.

  37. Hi Donna, you have been a very busy woman! Wow! You have so much going on! I cannot wait to see your garden in all of its glory. Those pictures from above are great. I just recently decided that I need to get a forsythia shrub. They are all in bloom now over here. (I didn’t realise how quickly the cutting would root!). Happy Spring! dana

    1. I was surprised as well Dana. I hope to pot up the rootings and then in the fall plant them out. Happy Spring to you too!

  38. A lovely post with great photos. I’ m so glad to see your snow going at last. I look forward to following the progress of your Linden tree.

    1. Thanks Chloris. It is gone at last…Saturday the last bits melted. I will have a introduction post to my Linden tree next month.

  39. You should visit Carolyn’s business someday. Her garden is very beautiful and you can see where your new plant has come. You have been busy and i bet you are anxious for all those plants to be planted. Finally it looks like Spring may have pushed winter aside.

    1. I do hope to visit Carolyn one of these days sooner rather than later. I am so anxious to get going, and hope to get to lots this week especially planting the first veggies out. And all my pansies and violas which are already blooming indoors under the lights. Definitely spring is here…lots growing quickly, and all the snow finally melted on Saturday. Lots of water still, but I can get started on some things.

  40. I am so glad for you that your never-ending winter is over and you are able to get out into your much loved garden. I loved the pictures of the squirrels; they are so much fun to watch.

    1. Thanks so much Florence for your wonderful supportive words…the squirrels are quite funny and certainly lifted my spirits this winter.

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