Gardens Eye Journal-December 2015


“Most people, early in November, take last looks at their gardens, and are then prepared to ignore them until the spring.  I am quite sure that a garden doesn’t like to be ignored like this…Especially since a garden knows how gay and delightful it can be, even in the very frozen heart of the winter, if you only give it a chance.”  ~Beverley Nichols



I have long admired my garden in late fall and winter when it is barren and brown….it begins in November when I cut it back and clean up a bit.  It’s colors change from green, to red, orange and yellow until all is brown by winter.

Then the snow covers it all with a quilt of white.  The torn and broken plants have a new look as the soft white fluff cocoons everything.  A softness there as my garden and I are ready for slumber.DSCN0380

And while I slumber, away from garden chores, my garden is always in my thoughts….dreams of new plants, of new designs, of new veggies and cut flowers.

With this prolonged autumn warm weather and no snow, except for about a dusting, the garden continues to grow and show off and play.  

As I show you some of the highlights and best views from November in the garden, I am linking in with Helen@The Patient Gardener’s Weblog for her End of Month View.





sky collage

This past month was another record-setting month…..a record warm November.  The fifth warmest with an average of 46 degrees, 5.4 degrees above normal.

The first five days of November were the warmest on record. The average high temperature for those 5 days was a record-setting 69 degrees. 

We even tied the warmest day with 75 degrees mid month, and 66 degrees the day after our Thanksgiving, which is 22 degrees above normal. 

Additionally we were very dry in November.  Barely an inch of rain here when we normally have at least a few inches as well as about 10 inches of snow.  We had barely a half an inch.  It hasn’t been this dry since April 2010.

With several light frosts, one heavy frost and one dusting of snow, the garden was still growing as you will see.  And as usual,  the sunrises were spectacular all month with some fog also not usual here in November.




Garden Views

nov snow Collage

Here is the typical November on the left.  Several inches of snow for our first snowfall usually mid-month.  Last year 8 inches, this year barely a trace.




back garden nov

Now here is are back gardens, from the beginning to the end of November this year.  Still lots of green, growing plants, great color and flowers the first warm week of November (left).  We did some cutting back of the garden, and digging out the many volunteer plants taking over.  Top right shows the mid-month garden all finished and ready for winter.  Bottom right is the late November garden with a dusting of snow.





We had many days when the sun broke out against the dark steely skies in the background over the lake.  The rain missed us most days.





This is the front garden in the early morning golden sunlight as I look out from the front door.  I left many plants to overwinter here.  Still lots of green very late in November.

You can see, lower right in the picture above, the petunia still blooming the third week in November.






petunias nov

I am still in awe of the petunia.  As November marched along, you can see the foliage yellowed more, but the flowers just kept going.  This was one of my indicators that this was a most unusual month.  We finally pulled it just before the end of November.





Hardy cyclamen bloomed all month in between the trees out back and behind the gazebo.





And this native, Pearly Everlasting or Anaphalis margaritacea, bloomed beautifully, in The White Garden, without being zapped early by snow and cold.





Foliage was still a star in the fall garden, all throughout November.  In the the top of the post, you can see Zebra grass browning and glowing in the golden morning light.  The silhouette is of Arundo donax or Giant Reed grass in the blazing sunrise.


st john wort collage

This my amazing St. John’s Wort or Hypericum prolificum with very late November color.




clethra collage

Clethra alnifolia also gave me loads of color throughout the month as it slowly changed.





wintergreen collage

The native Winterberry or Ilex verticillata had loads of berries this year.





And the Swamp Rose or Rosa palustris is covered in rose hips….birds will eat these and the winterberries during winter.





I love Epimedium in fall.  It gives me three seasons of beauty, but fall shows this amazing copper color.





To be honest I am unsure what plant this is although I think it may be a Brunnera.  Regardless, you can see one of the frosts vividly displayed on its leaves.




Veg Garden

veg garden novUsually there is nothing to show in the veg garden except for the mulched beds and maybe a bit of growth for garlic, although that happens later during winter.  But here is the garlic (center) planted in late October already growing quickly because of the great weather.

The other pictures are from the Pea/Bean bed.  Peas growing again from pods that dropped (left), and radishes blooming that may have been planted in early spring or fall that never germinated (top right).  Bottom right is cilantro that was cut and left from early fall.  It is putting on a lot of growth. 





nov critters

And finally a few of the critters from November.  In the background is one of the throngs of European starlings that were here very late in November feeding and moving south.  Woodpeckers returned to the garden more especially once we put up the the suet feeders.  That’s a Red-bellied Woodpecker.  I believe the little bird is a female juvenile House Finch.  

But the strangest sight has been the frogs.  We have heard peepers since October right through November….not many but they are still there.  And the green frog, pictured here, is one of several that was still hanging in the pond and Pond Garden right up until the end of November.  They have not hibernated yet even with a few mornings and nights where the pond froze over.


You can see more new visitors to the garden in fall, and some late visitors, in my Wildlife Lessons post from last Thursday at my new blog, Living from Happiness.  Please stop by and see what other critter surprises there were!

I am sharing all our critters with Saturday’s Critters hosted by Eileen@Viewing nature with Eileen that happens every Saturday.




These are the amazing highlights of my garden in November.  What was a favorite highlight in your November garden?



Join In The Seasonal Celebration:

As I feel winter’s call, I am celebrating this new season coming soon, I hope you will join me. I welcome those Down Under who will be celebrating the coming of summer to join in too.  

All you have to do is write a post between now and December 20th telling me how you are or will be celebrating the new season.  Then leave a comment on the kick-off post with your link so I can include your link in my summary post on December 21st.  

I do hope you will consider joining in the Seasonal Celebrations meme as we celebrate the new season arriving soon to your corner of the world.

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.

If you missed my interview with Beth, on my other blog, pop on over….I had a delightful time visiting with her.



In A Vase On Monday 




I know, I know these flowers should not be blooming in December….actually the Pelargonium was brought indoors in October and it has grown and bloomed profusely since then.



dec roses

The roses were little buds I saved and brought in before the last heavy frost.  I wasn’t sure they would bloom, but they finally did.  These are the same unnamed roses I used in a vase last week.  I decided to float these flowers in a crystal bowl with the same ferns I used last week.





And these are the same lavender sprigs I used in a vase last week.  They still looked great.



I am joining in with a few memes this week as I prepare these vases:  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:  

Monday, I will be bringing you some of the first winter views in my garden.

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. 

72 Replies to “Gardens Eye Journal-December 2015”

  1. Good morning, what a beautiful post. So many pretty sky captures and your lovely plants. We had a mild November, I will not complain. I love the warmer temps. Your vases arrangements are gorgeous.
    Happy Monday, have a great new week!

  2. interesting to see how varied your November is from the norm. Your roses and Pelargonium make a romantic arrangement for December. Very beautiful Donna.

  3. Maybe I didn’t have to migrate after all Donna! So pretty. I wonder if my garlic is growing? I usually don’t plant until after the first frost and then I mulch it over good with leaves. Have to have my garlic! I actually shipped my harvest down here so I could enjoy it. I hope it is a well behaved mild winter for you and your beautiful garden! Flowers and peepers!!!

    1. And frogs…..Thanks Kathy for the good wishes, but I doubt we will be as mild as you! 🙂 But mild in the 40s will do for me. I also planted mine late in October after the first mild frost and mulched them so I bet yours are growing away too!

  4. We have very different definitions of “warm,” Donna! However, I’ve heard that the Northeast may be in for a warmer winter, at least by comparison to last year. Temperatures here are on a see-saw. We saw cooler temperatures for a couple of weeks but the last several days have been warm and we’re expecting a high of 80F today. Needless to say, the plants are confused here too. I’m glad to see that you’re still able to find flowers around – even with our temperatures, I don’t have any Pelargonium blooms at the moment!

    1. It seems it is relative to our climates what is warm. 🙂 Warm will be temps in the 40s and 50s here as it has been so far….instead of 20s, 30s and even colder. We might even get a 60 here and there….we are enjoying the lack of snow as long as it rains…the garden will do fine.

  5. It was nice to see so many plants blooming longer this year and that plain green leaf could be the brunnera species – I have it tucked in a shady corner at the front.
    One plant that surprised me was my lavender and here you have a few wants in a tall vase.

    1. That’s what I thought Brunnera. Yes lavender was a surprise this year and just seeing so much greenery and new early spring growth coming now.

  6. A gorgeous selections of photos, as always – and your two vases could so easily be products of the summer with those blooms and the sunshine streaming in!

    1. Thanks so much Cathy…I am feeling so blessed that my garden has provided so much in flowers and fruit this year….soon though it will be dried materials and I love foraging for those!

  7. Hi Donna,

    Lovely to see your garden and lucky you missing the snow so far.
    Is an odd year that’s for certain! We’re still having temperatures of 12oc which is unheard of for november never mind December. Most days i regret having a cardigan on under my coat as i go to work; it is just too warm.

    1. What a wonderful treat there too to have warm December days Liz. It is now a guessing game to see when the snow might fly in earnest this year.

  8. What an amazing November you have had, such a contrast from last year. Today we have witch hazels, hellebores, Spring primroses and roses all blooming together!

  9. So much to love here, but that photo with the silhouettes of leaf shapes in the foreground of a sunset sky is really a stunner.

    1. One of my favorite times is just before sunrise or sunset and going out in the garden to wander and catch these stunning sights.

  10. I noticed new growth on a hardy geranium today — in December! As I drive around the countryside doing errands and Christmas shopping, I’ve been admiring the intense reds of winterberry.

  11. There is so much beauty in your garden – thanks for the highlights. We’re enjoying the ‘warmer’ temps. too. It would be nice to have a milder winter this year, esp. after the last two!

  12. Donna you have so much still happening in your garden, pleased for you that the snow has been delayed as you have had some bad winters, like you I think about the garden when I can’t get out there and work in it, Frances

  13. Good morning. I enjoyed my visit here this morning. I must look for winterberry to plant here. I wonder if it grows here in the northern part of Colorado. I looked to see where you live, but couldn’t find your bio. Your garden does have a bit more interest in November than ours does. Today we have wind, a cold front moving through and perhaps bringing bad weather with it.

  14. Beautiful photos Donna..I am beginning to worry that the cold weather will take the wildlife by surprise and they won’t be hibernating.. I hope we ease into it… Michelle

    1. I thought about that, but the long range forecast has us easing in I think….at least I will be hopeful it does. The deer here seemed to have fared poorly from the harsh winter and a dozen is down to one this summer, and rarely seen.

  15. I like your comparative last year/this year photos–it’s interesting that the weather patterns are different. And your berry photos–there’s nothing like a beautiful plant full of berries, just ripe for the eating–by wildlife.

    1. Thanks Tina…it has been markedly different…records breaking all over it seems….aren’t those berries wonderful. I am trying to grow more berry producing shrubs, but they are taking a long time to grow.

  16. Great photos Donna! We have heavy rains here–over two inches yesterday, but the weather is warm. I just read in the NYT this morning that the weather folks are predicting it to reach 60 degrees next week in New York City…and just two weeks before winter is officially here! It would be wonderful, except that I don’t think that it is. I think it is global warming. Hard to find a balance in my feelings. I wonder if others feel this deep contradiction: the beauty of flowers in December with concern for the snow pack in the mountains.

    1. Very warm weekend is predicted here too ….but our weather is staying in the 40s during the day and 30s to 20s at night….the snow is an issue, but we had about 3-4 inches of rain over the weekend so that will help. That equates to about 3-4 feet of snow…for now I will take the rain….I have no doubt if we don’t have snow we will have rain and north of us they are still getting snow….the warm trends are a sad sign though, I agree.

  17. It is marvelous that you still have some roses to show off in December, Donna! Your garden looks so different from the usual, but maybe the plants are missing their snow blanket. I like your pretty woodpecker, I rarely see mine, though one did visit a suet feeder once.

    1. It has been a special fall…the plants are definitely missing the snow more than me…although I don’t mind snow that much.

  18. I was going to write how much I love the first photo, but on second thoughts I love all the photos. The inhabitants of our gardens are going to have to modify their usual behaviour in order to adapt to these dramatic seasonal changes. I guess that includes us!

    1. Oh how lovely of you to say so Sue about the photos….yes, we are all going to have to adapt as the climate is showing itself to be much warmer these days more and more. And on the flip side, the storms are getting more dangerous and extreme with climate change…

  19. The light in your garden is so beautiful Donna. How lovely that this year the snow is waiting a little longer to give you an extra month of pleasure.

    1. It is a real treat to have this time to wander and not be covered for months with snow like last year. The forecast is for a warm Dec and January so we shall see. Thankfully we are getting more rain now in December.

  20. What a very elegant white vase, Donna. Love it!
    Our weather is similar yours, the same brown garden and bare branches. Your cyclamen are such sweet!

  21. I am glad you could enjoy such a mild and flowery November, and could find such pretty flowers and ferns for a vase too! Our November was also mild, but there are no roses left now, after some snow and frosts. A lovely thoughtful post again Donna! 🙂

  22. the clean up is actually quite enjoyable – pulling out the annuals with thanks for their show (though your petunia is not ready to go!) and cutting back the shrubs to avoid wind rock – not to mention raking all the leaves.
    I lliked seeing how you have cleared much back to the skeleton of your garden so you can see what to ‘hang’ on it next year. The sunrises add to nakedness (are you an early bird I wonder?)
    Still a lot happening with this unseasonal warmth here too – in the South-West, frog spawn recorded last week as well as people being homeless due to severe flooding in Northern parts

    1. I am an early riser Laura…have been my whole life. I do enjoy looking at the bones of the garden and how it will grow and how I will change it some….it is a garden dream state I love to be in all winter….I was sorry to hear about such damaging storms there but hopefully they will be lessening soon….the severity of storms has been evident here too and worsens every year….I think the climate is trying to tell us something.

  23. Our weather is comparable to yours. Our snow only lasted a few days, today it’s in the 50s. I think I’d like to plant some of that Pearly Everlasting. I read somewhere that it’s a host for several butterflies.

  24. Hi Donna,
    What a beautiful post and lovely pictures. How do you create those pictures? What software do you use? Also, I’m joining in your seasonal celebration. I’ve already written up the post and linked to you. Do I need to do anything else? Thanks.

    1. Excellent….Just give me the link once you post your entry on your blog. As to your picture question….I use to process some pictures and for the collages.

  25. Hello, I wanted to stop back and say thank you for linking up your post and sweet birds. We are having a warm December too, I am loving this weather.
    Have a happy weekend!

  26. Your petunia is amazing, Donna. We haven’t had a dusting of snow even, but some hard frosts, so no blooms here. I worked in the garden all day yesterday, it was so mild and pleasant. A very unusual December. A beautiful posting as always. P. x

    1. I have wanted to work in the garden but the nights have been cold so I have just been admiring, dreaming and observing. So glad you enjoyed the post Pam!

  27. This has been a strange year in how long plants have remained in bloom. I keep thinking to cut them back, yet the birds are still enjoying what is left. Usually, all is gone or covered in snow by now. I did toss the petunias though, but likely they would have been similar to those you have showed.

    1. I agree…the birds continue to enjoy the seeds….and I left up much more than I usually do. Although the meadow keeps them fed for much of winter it seems.

  28. What a lovely detailed post! It’s been a weirdly warm December here in New England, but my newly planted seeds aren’t complaining! I think it’s confusing some of the dormant flowers though!

    1. Thanks Angie. I like to do these posts to keep my garden journal fresh in my mind. Our mornings have been cold with frost many times, but I wonder if any flowers will show up early this year. I guess it will depend on February.

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