A Garden Respite On The Solstice


“Each person deserves a day away in which no problems are confronted, no solutions searched for.”  ~Maya Angelou




Recently I discovered I was tired….tired of blogging, tired of writing, tired of gardening.  And at the same time I realized I wasn’t taking time for me…a respite.  Even when I worked in an office, I made sure I rested.  But now with no 9-5 job, I can find myself working 7 days a week….not taking enough time for rest.

So I am back to taking one day a week to rest and do nothing….nothing but what I want that gives me peaceDSCN4526 and solace.  Maybe it is just wandering and watching nature and the garden.  Maybe it is reading or watching a favorite old movie.  Nothing big, but time to relax and just be.  I have found taking one regular day a week is so important (you can read my poem to Rest here).

I am already so behind, with reading blogs, I may never catch up….but know I will be visiting when I can.  I decided I needed to look back at all the chores I was thinking of doing for summer and fall.  List them again, and then see what is reasonable in between WEEDING!!  The pictures here are of many of the irises that grew in my garden mid to late spring.  I don’t know their names now except the top picture.  That is Bearded Iris ‘Batik’…one of my favorites!




water iris

All the chores we had on our To Do List for spring did not happen, but most did.  We fixed the pond, and 2 veg beds.  We added the new 3-tiered fruit bed, and got the seedlings planted that I started from seed.  But we did not get to the patches of ornamental grass in the lawn, and we didn’t dig out the last ornamental grass in the front garden.  We will save some of this for Fall.





With the Summer Solstice today, ushering in Summer, what better time to look ahead in the garden!  Most of what we didn’t get to, will be our target for Summer.  With Summer heat and humidity, we will have to go slow.  Early morning gardens chores before the full brunt of summer’s heat wilts us.  Here are some of the targeted garden chores for Summer that I think are very doable:

  • Extend the side gardens back out as the lawn has grown back into them
  • Dividing and planting some irises that are huge or not blooming….late summer after it begins to cool.
  • Clear plants for bog garden area where we will be creating a gully next year.
  • Still loads of weeding and edging must be done especially in the front and side gardens, and targeted areas in the back gardens as I don’t think we will get to it all.  Some of the weeding may have to wait until Fall.
  • I am ADDING to the list-pulling out some Obedient plant in areas to control it.
  • And continuing to weed, harvest and care for the veg beds is a given!




yellow iris

Fall is another story.  I think we will start these chores in September giving us 2-3 months of work in cooler weather.

  • Clearing some of the plant debris, weeding more beds.
  • Clear veg beds and putting a layer of compost and leaf mulch on all.
  • Planting garlic, and maybe planting some of the plants I have been holding in pots.
  • Of course we still need to add landscape fabric and screening to the last 2 veg beds.  Hoping we can do both.
  • Front gardens need plants moved and divided.
  • If I have time I may do some more moving of plants in the Side Garden.





There are still a few big jobs that will have to wait until next Spring and Fall.  But I love having organized plans for the garden.  I find we get more done….here are a few for next year already.

  • The bog garden needs to be fixed, and the new rain garden dug there and lined with stone.
  • The rain garden near the gazebo needs to be dug out a bit and lined with stones and the area near the fence cleared of Obedient plant that is taking over….or maybe we will just move some plants out of their way.
  • I decided to wait to see how daffs bloom next year before I divide any.
  • I am holding on the new cutting bed…instead I may use the portable bed for flowers next year.
  • And the White Garden needs to be top dressed with compost, and redesigned.





So maybe not a very exciting post, but it will keep me focused.  Of course it is just an outline.  I will prioritize these garden chores, and what we get done, we get done.  After all, it is summer and what better time to make sure we get some wonderful rest and play time outside.





And with gardeners, any time outside in the garden is play!  The Iris pictured in this post stand for:  Your Friendship Means So Much to Me; Faith; Hope; Wisdom and My Compliments.  What an all around fabulous plant, don’t you think?




siberian iris



So what garden chores are you focusing on this summer?  Or are you focusing on some garden respite instead?  Maybe a bit of both!





In A Vase On Monday 



Even as Summer begins, there were a few irises still blooming.  One that is pink….I love pink irises.  So I had to put it in a vase, and make it the star.




iris baptisia vase

I added to it a few Iris sibirica ‘Butter and Sugar’ and some yellow Baptisia that seeded itself from my bi-colored Baptisia, Baptisia x variicolor ‘Twilite’ Prairieblues.  Lots of grass has grown in the beds, getting tall and going to seed, so I added some of the seed heads as well.  I also wanted to add a pink dianthus as well as foliage from a native clematis not yet in bloom, Clematis virginiana.  




ca poppy (1)

I found these California poppies blooming in my cutting garden.  I cut a bit of thyme for a recipe, and as it was flowering, I thought it would look great in a vase too.  And a couple sprigs of lavender that were a casualty from my weeding, and voilà, a wonderful summery vase!  So a bit of the end of spring blooms with some beginning summer plants for a couple of Solstice vases.


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, and Today’s Flowers hosted by Denise@An English Girl Rambles 2016.



Next up on the blog:  

Monday, I will be posting about another wonderful native plant in my garden.

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

All original content is copyrighted and the sole property of Donna Donabella @ Gardens Eye View, 2010-2016.  Any reprints or use of content or photos is by permission only. 


  1. Susan says:

    Wow-those poppies are a real splash–love them!

    I make chore lists too, but gardening for me is really just about enjoyment, so sometimes those “chores” don’t get done. I have to be in the mood to do big projects so I use a list as a guide for those days. The rest of the time is all about the joy of being out there. Sure hope you never quit blogging completely-I really enjoy your beautiful posts.

    • Donna says:

      Thanks so much Susan you made my day! I don’t think I can ever stop blogging. I am with you with chores. I have a list, but if they don’t get done, oh well!

  2. Cathy Thompson says:

    I have long ‘to do’ lists as well, but when I am exhausted … well, they just exhaust me more. My ‘respite’ involves following my nose, rather than a list, from time to time. So, yesterday, my nose took me outside for two hours of glorious sunshine and very idle deadheading. It was a treat. What glorious irises you grow – when I look at them I realise how much more there is! And your vase is so very pretty. Pink irises are special and it is bizarre that you’ve posted your beautiful combination on a day when I’ve finally accepted that I DO, after all, like pink and yellow together. You’ve proved the point! Finally,I feel like I am always thinking this these days … but how I wish I could grow Californian poppies. So lovely to enjoy yours and I hope you really get into your Solstice respite!

    • Donna says:

      I’m with you…follow your nose in the garden….many times it is working in the veg garden instead of weeding…or just rambling. Glad you enjoyed the pink and yellow…I love them together! My poppies are annuals I plant from seed, but many now are reseeding themselves especially in the wall garden! I bet you could grow them!

  3. Marian St.Clair says:

    I love irises too, but ours are long gone. Thanks for sharing yours along with a dose of good sense. Light weeding and heavy watering are my program for the summer. There’s time enough for change in fall and winter.

  4. Jeanette says:

    Your flowers are beautiful! You mentioned dividing iris that aren’t blooming. I divided mine two years ago but haven’t seen any blossoms yet. How long do you have to wait until you get flowers again?

    • Donna says:

      I have read it can be tricky to get them regrowing so it may take a while Jeanette. I will let you know what I find out as I read about and divide mine…and we shall see if they grow once transplanted. I know my original irises took 3-5 years to grow and really grow into a nice clump.

  5. Alexa T says:

    You have so many beautiful flowers in garden and that means lots of work; I like iris blossoms so much and I must say that till now, I never seen before a pink one. For sure is a star in your collection. About being tired, what can I say. Last year I had a difficult period of time, so I checked about it and I discover some issues related to anemia and stress hormone, cortisol. So, you’re right that we must take care of our health, to find a balance. All the best, greetings and a good week to you!

    • Donna says:

      Thanks Alexa…I am working on the health issues so taking it slow is important….and yes that pink iris is the star!

  6. Christina says:

    It is always sad when we get behind with the garden and it becomes a chore and not a pleasure. I list of jobs is only worth doing if it is achievable otherwise it is just stressful and demoralising. I just love that pink Iris; I thought I had bought one that was similar but it didn’t flower this year. Take care of your health and just do what is possible.

    • Donna says:

      Absolutely Christina….I have trimmed my list just so it is not stressful. And I make sure that it is not a ‘have to’ but a ‘want to’! Hope your pink iris blooms next year!

  7. Eileen says:

    Hello, your flowers are always so beautiful. I love all the irises and the pretty poppies. Taking a day off is important, relaxing, reading, doing whatever makes you feel happy is a good thing. Happy Monday, enjoy your new week ahead!

  8. Cathy says:

    Sometimes we can put off our ‘respite’ for just too long Donna… Thank you for your vases today – the pink iris is so refreshing after the dark velvety coloured ones and your second, almost incidental vase, is a real little gem. Thanks for sharing and enjoy any well deserved respite you get!

    • Donna says:

      I have been guilty of putting off my respite for many years…now I am catching up! Sometimes those little incidental vases are the best!! Thanks Cathy….

  9. Andrea says:

    You have lots of iris colors, very lovely. Do you know that i have only seen the blue yet? hahaha. By the way are they not so leafy in your country? They are such very leafy here, that the flowers are not so showy at all.

    • Donna says:

      My iris have blades that grow below the flowers…they do not leaf at least the summer irises don’t, but they have bold foliage.

  10. Kathy Sturr of the Violet Fern says:

    Oh Donna, when I looked at your to do list for this year earlier – I thought, NO WAY! It was a long list and a lot of hard work. No wonder you are tired! I am still working on my garden to do list from last year, and that’s okay. I feel like a spinning top but that’s okay, too – just these next couple of years do I have to keep this pace. I thought, oh no, having that lake property on top of everything else is going to be so difficult, but you know what? It is saving me! It motivates me to get stuff done so I can spend one day and one night there – maybe not resting – but is sure feels like rest because it is so secluded and quiet. I am so glad you are taking some time for yourself – it is very important. Recharge yourself. Gardening is such a labor of love but also so rewarding. I love all your Iris! I have been adding Iris to the Woodland Edge and I think I will add some more over time. I just know you will get through your list – maybe not all of it this year but you will get through it, and then you’ll add to it ha ha! Happy solstice – a very special one with the full moon. I spent some time in my graden this morning but now it’s off to work. At least I staked my tomatoes! And of course, another beautiful bouquet!

    • Donna says:

      Oh rest can be working in your lake property….so go with it. My list is a hold over from many years and it will get done. What is funny is many things fall of the list and others take precedence as my mind changes! Have fun at the lake and in your garden my friend!

  11. eliza waters says:

    I need to take a page from your book. I’ve been running 7 days a week and find it so hard just to sit and enjoy the garden. So much still left to do, I need to learn how to just let it go!
    All your iris are so lovely and the yellow baptisia is such a lovely shade. When I saw your ‘Butter and Sugar’ Siberian iris, I realized I once had a patch, but it must have been overrun and died out. It’s hard to keep up with everything in the garden. 🙁 Things have to be tough to survive!

    • Donna says:

      Yes my plants have to be tough to survive here as they are often neglected….I hope you find some time to rest Eliza!

  12. joanna says:

    It is so easy to let yourself get bogged down by gardening chores – a never ending battle to keep things in check. But like you are finding out : it isn’t worth worrying about undone tasks.
    For health reasons I opted out of trying to get things just so and branched out into matrix gardening. Very restful and surprisingly interesting.

    Your irises are delicious and the first one is such a little miracle.

    I wrote my solstice poem this morning in just a couple of minutes – born of pain if I’m truthful – but it rather pleased me. It is tagged onto the end of my vase post. I know you have visited already, but I would love your thoughts on my lines. Where will I find yours?

  13. Susie says:

    Beautiful vases, lovely irises. I smiled at your resolve to contain the Obedient plant. Was just shaking my head at mine this morning. Do take time for yourself. Your garden will be ok while you rejuvenate.

    • Donna says:

      Thanks Susie…my poor garden has been neglected so long that I wonder what it might look like if left to grow on its own…one big weedy meadow but pretty.

  14. Amelia Grant says:

    A vase of lovely soothing pastels for your respite. I have tendencies in the same direction.

  15. Cathy says:

    They are both really beautiful vases Donna. The pink iris is wonderful and the Californian poppy is shouting summer! I know how you feel about getting everything done, so a good idea to take a day off every week just for yourself. I will be taking some time off soon when it gets hot as well.

  16. Diana Studer says:

    We have a few corners still to plant.
    And I try to prune and chip every few weeks when the paths elbow us aside.
    We have had some winter weather and I need to cut back chunks of carob tree.
    Then I WILL need respite!!

  17. debsgarden says:

    I love all the beautiful irises! Since I am retired, my life is busy on all fronts, and as I age, my body NEEDS a day of rest. Enjoy your days of rest! I had a very hectic spring, and I just finished the last of pruning – so no more projects for summer – just occasional weeding and watering. It really is too hot and humid to do anything else. By fall I will be ready to dive in again with a list too long to accomplish!

    • Donna says:

      Oh my yes your summer must be a time of rest with your heat…I plan to work early mornings in summer for an hr or 2…getting too hot here again with 90s.

  18. Kris P says:

    I enjoyed seeing your beautiful Irises both in your garden and in your vase. That pink Iris is exquisite! I’m trying to learn to pace myself too – I think it’s harder during the longer days of late spring and summer than it is earlier in the year (although fall is a particularly intense period here). I’ve been gung-ho to get started on my project for our front slope but the current heat has me shelving that idea, at least for a while.

  19. Karin/Southern Meadows says:

    Are we on the same train? You echoed how I am feeling. It has been go go go and so much work to do in the garden. Never seems to be any down time. We are still working on clearing invasive plants (a never ending job) on our new property addition, preparing a new meadow to be seeded in fall, adding on to the kitchen garden (project hangover from spring). The list never ends. Anyway, I think I should take your advise and take a schedule time to rest and regain energy. Your irises are lovely!

    • Donna says:

      Oh I think of you often as I try to clear my gardens of invasive weeds that have taken over since I let the garden go. And yes Karin you must give yourself some break time….

  20. rickii says:

    I had to laugh when I got to the part of just moving things out of the way of the marauding Obedient plant. We spend so much time babying things that don’t want to grow…why not give a clear path to the one that really performs?

    • Donna says:

      I know it is a pipe dream….but we hack it back quite hard every year or so to keep it at bay just a bit! I plan to move the bushes in its path out of the way and let the obedient way in the late summer wind with hummers and pollinators loving it.

  21. Beth says:

    Donna, All your irises are lovely! But I completely understand how exhausting it can be to maintain large gardens like ours — sometimes I feel like I never want to grow another flower again, but if I take a day or two away, I find a better perspective. You’re very smart to make yourself do this every week. Don’t work too hard — if some of those tasks don’t get done, there’s always next spring, when you’ll be excited and enthusiastic to be outside again after the long winter. Take care, -Beth

  22. Jedidja says:

    I love the iris. And what you are writing about it. (Your Friendship Means So Much to Me; Faith; Hope; Wisdom and My Compliments). That;s really nice and interesting.

    In Summer, we try to keep the lice away from the roses. We provide enough water for the snowball plants in our garden (see blog) and we pick overblown roses. We fight against the ants;-) And above all we enjoy the lavender.

  23. Nadezda says:

    I love reading your posts, Donna and love your collages. Especially this one with irises near the pond. I liked your white vase , everything is elegant.

  24. bettyl-NZ says:

    Your flowers are just wonderful to see!!

    As for catching up on blogs, don’t feel you have to push yourself–that will take all the fun out of blogging! I don’t keep track of who returns comments on my blog because I blog for me, not for comments 🙂

    • Donna says:

      I don’t keep track either Betty….and I just need to not worry about those who do. Thanks for your reminder and kind words!

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