A Stuck Foot In The Wall Garden


“A garden should be in a constant state of fluid change, expansion, experiment, adventure, above all it should be an inquisitive, loving, but self-critical journey on the part of its owner.”  ~H.E. Bates



Each autumn, as I clear away the brush and weeds, and clean out so many volunteers, I see my garden in a new light.  The current state is analyzed, and gratitude is spoken for all it has given me… many little surprises hiding under the overgrowth.  

And I see all too clearly what must be done to allow for the garden to keep growing.  Gardens expanded, plants moved, new plants added….and I begin to take notes, and make plans for spring chores.  Those that are essential and doable before other work can commence.

DSCN9873Going into my garden anytime of year gives me this critical eye.  Planting my foot and taking a good long time viewing it from the soil level to the top of the trees and bushes.  Looking at it all.  I call this process Stuck Foot which came to me from Lucy@Loose and Leafy with her idea of a Stuck Foot meme which happens around the 21st of every other month.

This month we are headed to The Wall Garden.  When we moved here, the garage side of the property had a steep grade from the garage down to the property line.  So I had our brilliant mason construct a wall that would ease the grade.  And I wanted the wall to be curvy and on multiple levels.  

I also wanted to bury the downspouts into the wall garden by French draining them….it is a type of rain garden.  The water goes from the downspout into a perforated hose into a hole filled with gravel and covered by soil.  Then it is dispersed out into the garden.

And with this added moisture in the soil, I had to carefully choose plants.  Of course in the beginning, I was not careful and plonked in anything….like mint, monarda (not good choices especially in a moist spot), and the Oakleaf hydrangea pictured here which has grown quite large.  I also constructed a small garden outside the wall where it curves in….and that is where we are headed today.





To get to The Wall Garden, you can enter from the front or back garden.  For this post, we’ll leave the house by the front door…..





…..and go down the sidewalk, past the Sidewalk Garden, across the driveway and…..





…..here we are at the top of The Wall Garden.  I decided to wait to clear this garden so you are seeing it in all its fall decline.





As we come around to the Wall Garden’s curve you can see the bright yellow leaves at the bottom of the Wall Garden.  That’s where we are sticking our foot…in the small garden in front of the curve right up against the wall.




lt side wall

Facing the bottom of the Wall Garden, we see my little Witch Hazel or Hamamelis.  This was supposed to be native H. virginiana, but it turns out it is not.  Still it is lovely in its autumnal coat of yellow leaves.  You can see a close-up view of this tree at the top of the post.  At its base is Pulmonaria and daylily.  To the right is a native Swamp Rose, clematis ‘Belle of Woking’ and a species Oakleaf hydrangea.





If we look beyond the Oakleaf hydrangea, to the top of the Wall Garden garden, we see the seedheads of Monarda didyma, grasses and Heliopsis.




upper far wall collage

And there are still flowers blooming, at the top in mid-November…red Knockout roses, remnants of Allium (lots in this garden), an unnamed aster now called Symphyotrichum and Lonicera sempervirens ‘John Clayton’.




left side wall collage

Shifting my gaze further to the right, there is Turtlehead or Chelone lyonii ‘Hot Lips’, Phlox paniculata and Echinacea at my feet in front of the wall.  In the Wall Garden, are some peony (bottom right) and more views of Oakleaf hydrangea (top right-it’s a big bush).




far side of wall

In this same area is mint, lavender and hardy geranium.




mushroom collage

Directly at my feet is lots of oregano, fungi and some bearded iris now gone until spring.




baptisia collage

Making the full circle, and back up in the Wall Garden, to the left of the Witch Hazel is this fast growing native Baptisia.  Behind it is some more Monarda didyma, Heliopolis, astilbe and Phlox paniculata .  I love the seedheads of Baptisia in fall.




deer garden collage

Stretching my view beyond the Baptisia, is the Deer-Resistant Garden, on the other side of the gate across from the bottom of the Wall Garden.  More lavender, hardy geranium, dwarf monarda, Echinacea, daylily and another Knockout rose, called Rainbow, are growing there. 

We cleaned up this garden and the Wall Garden a few days later and here is how the Wall Garden looks now….




wall garden cleaned

Even with cutting so much back, it still looks messy and overgrown especially in the setting golden light.


This garden has been a plonking ground for so long, it needs some changes and a better design plan.  I am not sure what I want to do here, but cleaning out the many volunteers and overgrown plants is the first step.


With my profile of this garden, I will be linking in with Christina@Creating my own garden of the Hesperides for her Garden Bloggers Foliage Day on the 22nd.


Have you ever stuck your foot in your garden or any space and looked closely to see what is there?  Give it a try.   



In A Vase On Monday 



I was amazed, when I was cutting back some of the garden at the beginning of November, that there was lavender still growing along the driveway.  I decided it had to go into a vase.  And I knew which vase too.  My delicate little Belleek vase.   I checked the weather to make sure there was no frost predicted as I waited to pick the lavender for this week.  And luckily the weather has continued warm and the lavender is growing like it is summer even with chilly, frosty nights.



rose vase nov collage

And as I was examining the Wall Garden, in this Stuck Foot post, I noticed Knock Out roses budding and blooming.  So I added both Red and Rainbow Knockouts.  I also found a few Knautia macedonica still blooming in the back gardens with a bit of Lemon Balm growing here and there….making a wonderfully scented vase.


I wonder if there will be flowers still blooming next week?  With this November weather, you never know.


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.



Join In The Seasonal Celebration:

As I feel winter’s tickle, it tells me it is time to celebrate the coming season. I know winter is not everyone’s favorite season, but I hope you will still join in. I welcome those Down Under who will be celebrating the coming of summer to join in too.  

The Winter Seasonal Celebration kick-off post is coming on November 30th.  

And as always, I will be collaborating with Beth@Plant Postings and her Lessons Learned meme at this same time.  What lessons have you learned this past season of autumn here in the Northern Hemisphere and spring in the Southern Hemisphere.  Write a separate post or combine your Lessons with your Celebrations for one post.



Next up on the blog:  

Monday, I will have another native plant profile…do join me.

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. 

89 Replies to “A Stuck Foot In The Wall Garden”

  1. HI Donna, The before and after shots of the walled garden really interesting to see. I do that cleanup and decision making usually spring and autumn. I love that seed pod too. Stuck Foot good idea. The pink and purple colour combo in the vase is my favourite, I think.

  2. I love the image of the Monarda didyma, such a dreamy shot. Your vase is charming, I also have some roses flowering which I didn’t pick this morning but I am tempted to pick them, just not for a vase on Monday.

    1. That is a favorite image of mine too Christina! I love the last roses of autumn…they linger and bring in the sweet scent of seasons past!

  3. Amazing that you still have flowers growing Donna, and I am so grateful that you are sharing them with Today’s Flowers. Thank you very much. Your garden is beautiful in all seasons.

  4. I like the fall color of the Hamamelis, I still have not found one for the right size and price, and a place to put it where it would not be in a mown area. The pink flowers in your lovely patterned vase look still summery, and the blue purples of the lavender give them such a nice contrast, it’s hard to believe you had some frosts. I like your heart and other mosaics, they are so pretty, Donna.

  5. I have been weeding out my gardens with a heavy hand Donna – brutal. Oh, I am now pining for my lost Witch Hazel and Oakleaf Hydrangea. I will not plant another Oakleaf – this is the fringe of its hardiness and I couldn’t bear another loss. I am running out of room to plant things, but perhaps a patch of Witch Hazel at the lake! You kept naming and naming plants in the wall garden and I was like “wow, there’s a lot of plants in there!” I guess that’s where your decision making comes in. It is a lovely spot and I am so fond of wall gardens. I’m sure you’ll bring the best of its beauty with that “gardener’s eye!”

    1. I have been heavy handed as well in my garden as I clean and clear out so many volunteers. There are loads of flowers in this large walled garden, and I didn’t even mention the spring flowers…YIKES! So I am trimming and moving and making room for more of a designed garden and not the jumble it has become. One thing I am hoping to do is move a few roses there. It is free draining even though it is moist, part sunny and warm…I think the roses might like it there.

  6. I think one reason you have a jumble is you chose plants that would do well there, so not many of them died! When a plant dies, it makes the decision for us. Have you read Refresh Your Garden with Color, Texture, and Form by Rebecca Sweet? That might help you rethink this garden’s design.

    1. I have read parts of the book but not all yet Kathy…yes too many plants that like to fill in…need to cull the area with a heavy hand.

  7. I wondered if you would have roses – pink ones always look lovely with lavender and I have developed a soft spot for knautia and scabious so think your vase is lovely. Hopefully I will have some of my own to put in a vase next year! Most interesting to see another part of your garden too

  8. although it is a lot of work I do find it better to be clearing over grown plants and volunteers than weeds, it is interesting seeing a closer view of an area of your garden Donna, the foliage colours and seedheads all look lovely, your first and second photos of the light behind the leaves are beautiful, Frances

  9. You have done well to find such pristine flowers Donna at this time of year and lavender – who would have thought there would be fresh lavender in November? I will keep my fingers crossed that your flowers last a bit longer!

  10. Julie has taken the words out of my mouth:) Here lavender was well and truly done and dusted a good while ago. I’ve never seen baptisa seed heads before Donna. They are a most intriguing shape and colour.

  11. I thought your wall garden looked so pretty even before you cut it back–such gorgeous foliage everywhere! I’m amazed at all that you still have blooming. We’ve had a couple of nights of killing frost, so not much of anything left here. Another beautiful arrangement!

  12. How nice to have flowers in November. Taking a good look at the garden in various seasons is a great idea. I’m eyeing mine these days, too, planning what I’d like to do come spring. Love the pink roses and the mosaic you created.

  13. Your roses are still looking really good Donna! Nice to find a few little remnants of summer here and there. I think I have the same Knautia – a lovely pinky red. Hope it spreads next year!

  14. Thank you for another very interesting post, Donna! The “Stuck Foot process” sounds very reasonable and useful – I liked very much also your previous post about it. Your wall garden is beautiful and I just googled “French drain” for more information.
    Your vase is beautiful, as always. It must be lovely to have flowers in November! We had some as well, but now the snow keeps falling. 🙂

  15. I love the way your white vase just shines in the low light…and then the blooms. The pink roses with accents and then the scented leaves are so very pretty in it. Thanks for sharing.

  16. It’s amazing to see that you still have things blooming in the garden. It has been mild this November. Yesterday was delightful, but today is a different story – brrr! I doubt we will get higher than the 30s.

  17. donna, I am surprised to see you have so many plants hanging on to blooms. We haven’t had any frost as yet, still plenty green and the grasses are looking quite good. I have a spot where I am considering an oakleaf hydrangea.

    1. I do love the leaves on the oakleaf…they give 3 seasons of color here….and oh the flowers persist and delight….but really only a handful here and there.

  18. I always love to see your garden tours! The “stuck foot” concept is not anything I’ve tried, but it is a great idea. It’s funny, I do something similar but for a psychological reason: I call it the “STOP exercise.” Just stop moving, and look and feel and see. Can you believe the flowers we have this November? The mild Indian summer is still giving me a few (very few) roses, but enough for a small bouquet. Your gardens are very full, but they are lovely. I think you are one of the most intentional gardeners I know. Everything is loved-:)

  19. Hello, pretty tour of your garden. It is nice to have some plants still blooming. Your images and vase arrangement are lovely. Have a happy week!

  20. You’ve some fine autumn colour, Donna, would be a pity to clear all so soon. What are the trees left and right of your front door? As for French draining…I’ve never heard of it before. Why French? Sounds like a clever idea.

    1. I have to clear before the snow flies Annnette and I won’t clear anything that has good fall color. The trees in front are a dwarf willow. They grow like crazy and I have to cut them back at least twice a season…spring and summer. Not sure where the name French drain comes from, but it is a form of drainage where the run off is put back into the ground.

  21. Donna, your garden is amazing…I can only imagine how many hours you must spend attending to it throughout the year…and your mosaics are just stunning!

  22. I love the seed head photo…the perspective and blurred effect is really striking. I love the dedication you have to your garden and the earth and the way she gives back with wisdom…little gifts every day. Wonderful post, Donna! 🙂

  23. Your garden is incredible at all seasons it seems. And I am so in love with the ‘stuck foot’ exercise, even though i’m not a garden blogger and lately not even too much of a nature blogger. (But the latter at least will be back soon ;>) Thanks for sharing the beauty — your yard and flowers are wonders of nature!

  24. I was surprised when I got home yesterday to still see quite a few flowers in bloom. Right now at 8 am it is 62° in the Falls. Nice to see you still have color too.

  25. Your garden is gorgeous in autumn. I’m fairly new to your blog, so I’m looking forward to seeing your garden in spring and summer next year. I love the curve in the path. We have a very moist garden with hardly anything in it. It’s only small but I can totally design it to my taste. Mind you, I’m new to gardening, so here’s an adventure! 🙂 Getting inspiration from your beautiful garden! Wishing you a beautiful day, xx

  26. Glad to see that you are still here. I have been out of blogging for a while but hope to return soon. Happy Fall!

  27. You are more ambitious than I am cleaning out your side garden. I have a side garden that also needs to be cleaned out, and while I have good intentions each year of doing that it always gets moved to the bottom of the list and never gets done. Maybe next year. . .
    I’m patiently waiting for my Baptisia to flower. It’s been transplanted a few times and it has never flowered. It’s still growing ok though.
    Your vase arrangement looks lovely. It’s nice to still see a little color in the garden this time of year.

    1. I have a garden that is at the bottom of the list too Sue. I clean and clear most of the garden each year in autumn and spring as the volunteers are ambitious. That is odd your baptisia isn’t flowering although it may be because you transplanted it. I will be doing the same with a couple of mine so I will brace myself and will be patience if they don’t flower.

  28. The golden leaves of the witch hazel are lovely. The fall foliage of my native witch hazel is not nearly so colorful. I planted Baptisia two years ago, and the seedpods were a wonderful surprise to me. I only have a single planet, but I hope some of those seeds will sprout. As always, your vase is gorgeous; it looks like spring!

    1. Oh Deb give it a few years and my oh my will you have sprouts. Mine had over 2 dozen we had to dig out as they were taking over.

  29. In the Northeast we were fortunate to have many plants blooming so late in the fall, weren’t we? But I heard it was the warmest November on record. Your little witch hazel is thriving; mine was eaten to the ground by deer. Today it feels like winter and we have snow flurries. Happy Thanksgiving. P. x

    1. Isn’t it funny how our deer have different taste….a few flurries and the coldest day yet, but we will warm up for Turkey Day!

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