Golden Rule in the Garden

“It is not how much we do, but how much love we put in the doing. It is not how much we give, but how much love is put in the giving.”
~Mother Theresa



I love this quote from Mother Theresa.  It seems to beautifully state how I feel about my garden and gardening. And it parallels how I choose to live my life.  As a child I was always taught to treat others the way I want to be treated, and to do no harm….’The Golden Rule’.  And this ‘Golden Rule’ has transferred through my work, to my life and into my garden.  I always describe it as, Giving back to nature as we take


And here is how I try to give back in my garden, as I take flowers, fruit, pictures, inspiration and the joy flower and fauna bring me daily…..


I plant native plants like this Swamp Milkweed.  It does great in wet areas.  Native plants bloom and grow easily and are nectar for butterflies, bees and other pollinators.  Not to mention a host plant for critters like monarch butterflies.  That’s the benefit of native plants.  They are food and home for so many critters, besides providing flowers, berries and foliage for the gardener in some of the most difficult growing conditions.



And I add lots of annual flowers in pots as they are also essential for my garden and critters.  They provide pollen and nectar throughout the summer as perennials flower and fade.  And they are especially important for my veg garden.  Many flowers, like these sunflowers, will draw harmful insects away from crops, and draw beneficial insects to the crops to help with pollination.  And then later as they turn to seed, they provide food for birds.  Now I call that a bonus flower!



And this, this is the benefit of all my hard work as I give back to my garden, and work to do no harm.  This year we had more butterflies than we can ever remember.  Swallowtails, like this one were frequent visitors along with monarchs, red admirals, fritillaries and white admirals.  Not to mention daily visits from monarchs all summer and well into mid October.  The biggest surprise was the Painted Ladies by the hundreds for weeks and weeks.  A benefit from all the asters that bloomed this year.



Do you garden for wildlife?  How do you like to give back to your garden or nature?



Golden Vases


It seems my container flowers had a great extended bloom this season and as I harvested them, they provided lots of golden, glowing , fall color for a few vases.


These small sunflowers, I love to grow for vases, were the only ones that grew, except for one volunteer that showed up in late September.  The cool weather and critters took care of any other sunflowers I tried to start.



And the few marigolds I grew from seed, that the rabbits didn’t eat, put on a beautiful display.  Although because the stems and plants were shorter than usual, when I cut them at the end of the season, I floated them in a bowl.



A few Tithonia surprised me in the cutting bed and made a nice harvest vase with a few marigolds.  And yes, we actually got a few pumpkins, small and large, and a handful of Delicata squash.  Makes a great harvest display, don’t you think?


I am joining [email protected]Rambling in the Garden for her wonderful In A Vase on Monday meme. The pictures shared here were created with my iPod Touch camera and two free apps, Pixlr and Prisma

I am posting poetry, almost weekly on Sundays, on my other blog, Living From Happiness.  And you can read an new interview I did for the wonderful poetry community, Poets United.  You can also read my latest poem here.


All original content is copyrighted and the sole property of Donna Donabella @ Gardens Eye View, 2010-2017.  Any reprints or use of content or photos is by permission only.

34 Replies to “Golden Rule in the Garden”

  1. Such a thoughtful post, as always, with a wonderful quote to start with. I am glad you have had such a good year for butterflies – the swarms of painted ladies sound wonderful! Such bright yellow and orange blooms to share with us too – thank you Donna.

  2. I love your painterly photographs more with every post, Donna. Some of what I give to wildlife in my garden is intentional, like the birdseed and plants to host butterflies, but much is unintentional – like the persimmons and guavas and pumpkins consumed by the squirrels!

    1. How I am so pleased you are enjoying the pictures Kris. And look at all you do for wildlife. I know they appreciate it even those darn squirrels with the pumpkin. They are exasperating.

  3. They do make a great display. I only have a few squashes but they have all decorated the house for a few weeks. Your bright orange and yellow flowers are brilliant for this time of year too.
    I’m glad to hear that you have had lots of butterflies. I think we have had more but it is purely based on my memories. I love to see my garden buzzing and know that I’ve provided these food supplies and habitat.

    1. I agree it is a great feeling to know we are providing food for wildlife…so happy you enjoyed the bright flowers in my vases Alison!

  4. Sadly, sometimes love isn’t enough and plants/people fail to survive and thrive.
    It is the only way I can live with myself though. And, at the end of the day, I am the only person I HAVE to live with.
    I plant for the birds. I plant for the bugs. I plant for my own and other’s concept of beauty. And the garden generously provides me with beauty, with solace with healing.

    1. ‘And the garden generously provides me with beauty, with solace with healing.’ What a beautiful sentiment Soosie…thank you for sharing it!

  5. We live in an apartment now. We always had compost heaps when we had houses. Now a worm farm does the job. A planter on the patio has zinnias planted for the monarchs to have a bit of nectar for their trip to their winter home to the south of us. And we recycle. And drive a hybrid. Electricity comes from wind energy. Do what I can.

  6. Especially like the vase with the pumpkins. Your images are interesting Donna. You seem to have found an inspiration in the photo effects. Nice.

    1. Thanks Susie….I know my images are not for everyone but I do enjoy creating them. Those little pumpkins are always a joy to grow and use for decorations, when I can wrestle a few away from the squirrels who try to get them first!

  7. Beautiful sentiment on gardening for wildlife. I was just reflecting today on how I focus more on writing about wildlife than the plants and should I call myself a gardener or just a habitat creator.

  8. Beautiful vases, flowers, and butterflies! And I really like your garden trug that you’ve featured several times on your blog. What a wonderful and beautiful basket. Where did you find that one? Gardening for wildlife–yes! The only wildlife I don’t garden for now is rabbits. LOL. Donna, it’s too bad you missed Robin Wall Kimmerer’s presentation at GWA. Your sentiments remind me of some of her themes. Have you read, “Braiding Sweetgrass” yet? You will really enjoy it when you do. 🙂

    1. I am halfway through the book Beth and it so resonates with me. I feel many posts and poems being inspired. The garden trug is an antique I picked up at an antique show. Old and handmade one of a kind like folk art. I adore it.

  9. I love the way you are playing with your photos Donna! They are truly becoming little works of art! And the golden vases are splendid. Particularly those dear little pumpkins … I get more and more focused on wildlife in the garden with time. Now – unlike the past – I think the bees and hoverflies and butterflies give me as much pleasure as the flowers. The asters do seem to be their favourite food, so I have A LOT now. And I mourned some of our ivy being cut back this year because the bees take such pleasure in it early on.

  10. Yes, I garden for wildlife, but I don’t get anything like the number of butterflies you get. I suppose you are in a more rural area?

    1. Yes it is a more rural suburb and near a lake which helps. But this is the first year I am finally seeing this number of butterflies because my neighbors on either side do not spray chemicals, and I have a wild area behind me plus my meadow. I think it all has set up this habitat.

  11. Love the golden blooms, lacking this year in my garden…nevertheless the butterflies are also enjoying the last of the nectar rich blooms.

  12. Yes, I love to share my vegetable garden with wildlife, but prefer it when the deer and racoons keep to the surrounding fields! Birds, butterflies, bees, frogs and snakes are all welcome and I grow plenty of annual flowers amongst my vegetables, as well as allowing ‘weeds’ such as Queen Anne’s Lace and dandelions to flower. I always leave some broccoli flowers as a late source of pollen for bees.

    1. Wow Jane you give back so much with your garden….I also prefer that wildlife does not partake in too much of my veg garden….so much for critters in both our gardens. Thanks for sharing Jane!

  13. It’s wonderful to give back Donna. We take so much from the earth and take her for granted. I love living in areas where nature is still coveted. I am confident the birds are enjoying the seeds and plants of berries I left behind up North. I am currently watching a Carolina Wren check out the suet cage I just put out here in Florida. I was sad to see my Milkweed died here but the other plants I planted are doing well: beauty berry and muhly grass (although it is white and not pink but I picked up some pink yesterday). The ginger I planted obviously bloomed prolifically over the summer judging by the faded blooms left behind. I’m certain hummingbirds, bees and butterflies enjoyed. I haven’t done much here yet but it doesn’t take too much to invite nature in! Such an amazing world we live in!

    1. Oh Kathy I couldn’t agree more….it sounds wonderful how you have created a habitat there….and yes we can create one simply where we are…we just have to start with something small.

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