Gardens Eye Journal-December 2014

DSCN6814For the gardener, the fall fills with suspense.  When will Jack Frost arrive with his growth-stopping performance?  When will nature drop its final curtain?  When should we begin preparing the earth for its cold slumber?  ~Judith Couchman



I don’t think anything could surprise me in my garden after this year.  The crazy weather systems continued into fall although on a much happier note.  And I am so grateful for my fall garden.  Although November was cooler than normal and wet (which is not unusual), the killing frost held off.  We had one or two warm days, above normal, and I was able to finish my garden chores.

And with the warm weather, I enjoyed continuous blooms from my roses and a few other flowers that bloomed their hearts out; borage, Japanese anemones, lavender, anise hyssop, yellow scabiosa, gaillardia and knautia.  The crazy weather also brought out a few creeping phlox blooms.

Because the frost held off, I was able to enjoy the fall foliage from shrubs and other plants (like this clematis above) longer than usual.  For this monthly look back of my November garden (another long post so be forewarned), I am joining Helen@The Patient Gardener’s Weblog for her End of Month View, and Judith@Lavender Cottage who hosts Mosaic Monday.





 nov skyNovember was a colorful month, both in the garden and in the sky.  The top sunrise was more the norm this past month.  And I was lucky to see the full moon rise early through the trees that are now bare.  The bottom picture is of our wonderful sunrise after our first snow storm and freeze.  The golden sky was peeking through the trees, as seen from the front windows, more to the south which is unusual.  We had about 8 inches and maybe 10-12 so far in November most of it melting quickly.




Garden Views

As I follow my gardens, I am joining in with Xericstyle who hosts The Wide Shot meme the first of every month.  For this review, I am highlighting my back gardens, but first here is what my front garden looked like the day the first snow came.




Heavy, wet snow clinging to everything even the pumpkins.



Now let’s look out back to the many different gardens that are there.  Again, I am just showing you the bones.  You will notice with the foliage changes, that I took these pictures throughout November.


DSCN6530This is the right side of the garden.  On the left of the picture is part of the Pond Garden that borders the patio.  The pile of rocks is actually the waterfall for the pond.  This is a vole haven where they make a mess usually as they love to nest in the waterfall rocks.  I have tried shrubs, perennials and even herbs, but it is hit and miss as this area is also covered with the dreaded horsetail weed.  

Along the fence I have been replanting with shrubs:  hydrangea, weigelia, summersweet and a new mock orange.  Various perennials grow here, but again are swallowed by horsetail.  I am rethinking this area a bit but it is the least of my worries except for some edging and weeding.



Here are two shrubs in this garden area that were stars in the November garden this year…..



The hydrangeas throughout the gardens have been shining in the sunlight.




summersweet nov I love the native Summersweet or Clethra shrub in fall as the bush turns a gorgeous gold.





Here are the rest of the fence gardens.  The garden shown in the pictures above is just to the lower right of the pond, and out of the picture.  

As you move up the right side of the fence you reach the veg beds.  Here we will be doing some work to keep the area more weed free, move perennials that are too close to the beds, and addressing the voles who freely dig in the veg beds.  





Borage grew wild in the veg garden this year and I never planted one seed.




snowy rose

Knockout roses also grow along the veg beds, but a little too close for comfort.  This is a picture of one of them blooming one day and then frozen and snow-covered the next.




But let’s keep moving along the right side of the fence and past the veg beds….


rt raingarden

Here is the Left Corner Garden.  There are several bushes here and too much Obedient plant.  I have winterberry, coralberry and hydrangea growing here although they are hard to see.  I need to control the Obedient plant better and allow the bushes to grow, or move the bushes.  

The insert is showing the Rain Garden on this side.  I plan to dig it out again and line it with stones to give it better definition and stop the erosion. 




white garden

As we move along the back of the fence and to the left of the gazebo, we see the White Garden.  Behind the gazebo I planted lots of small shade lovers like hosta, epimedium and ferns.  Next is a close up of the wild White Garden before we cut it back, and last is the same garden after we pruned and weeded.  A few bushes here too like viburnum, red-twig dogwood and Clethra.  And yes it is called the White Garden because all the flowers here are white.





Epimediums turn beautiful colors too in the Gazebo Garden.  I also have some growing in the Center Garden.




lt back cornerThis is the back left corner garden or the Bog Garden/Hosta Garden.  In the top picture you can see the corner is uncut.  It gets very wet and was the last garden we cut down along the fence.  There is another rain garden here that needs to be redone.  Lots of native Joe Pye, asters, rudbeckia and goldenrod grow here and we pulled many as they cover over the viburnum, bayberry and hydrangea trying to grow here as well as a few roses.

As you can see by the tree stumps, three white ash trees grew here which is why I planted lots of hosta originally.  One tree died on its own and we cut the other 2 down as we have Emerald Ash Borers in the area.  So with all the sunlight, I am rethinking that area now.  And I need to work on the drainage in the Bog Garden. 





Here we are at the other end of the left fence looking back at the garden we just saw above.  The garden along this side has been overrun with goldenrod, echinacea, Obedient, weeds and a bellflower ground cover.  There are a couple of red-twig dogwoods, St. John’s wort, lilacs, lots of daylilies, iris and a few roses.  It needs a redo to give it more definition.

The bit of garden on the right side of the picture is the Arch Garden which you can see more of below.





Native St. John’s Wort is stunning this November in the Left Fence Garden.




arch garden

Bottom right is the Arch Garden looking toward the gate with a few hydrangea, fairy roses, echinacea, climbing rose and peony.  Along the left fence you can see across to the Arch Garden.  Top left we are facing the arch garden from the gate.  On the left of the picture is the Arch Garden, and on the right of the picture is part of the Patio Garden.   You can see more of the patio garden top right.  

I like this side of the patio although a few bushes and grasses are growing into each other.   Weigela, viburnum, New Jersey Tea, Northern Sea Oats, and miscanthus grass grow on this side of the patio.





I have a small Beautyberry bush that is in the Arch Garden, but it needs a sunnier location so it has a chance to grow larger.




DSCN6589This is my small Shade Garden.  It is up against the North side of the house near the gate on the left side of the garden.  But there is nothing there you say?  In spring and summer you can see wildflowers, hostas and ferns.  And when it is all cut down it looks pretty bare.  You can see the lone Japanese anemone still blooming in mid-November.  We keep it cut in winter as the voles love to hide under the spent foliage and make a mess.





You can see this is the left back garden before we cut it down, but I am using this picture to show you this corner of the Patio Garden up to the rock.  Baptisia takes up a lot of this garden with many seedlings I need to move.  Loads of iris here too with a hydrangea, echinacea and daylilies.





This is the native viburnum bush that grows on the end of the patio above.  Every year it dazzles me with its colorful display.





And if we move to the center of the garden, we can look towards the patio and Pond Garden.  Iris, echinacea, aster, knautia, sedum and this wonderful Giant Reed Grass grow around this side of the pond.  On the other side of the tall grass is the pond.





And here is the Center Garden before we weeded it.  You can see more of it in my Stuck Foot post.  





 nov frozen pond

The pond was resting in autumn turning lovely colors, silent serene and reflective.  Then with the Polar Vortex mid month, it took on its winter look, covered in ice and snow, opaque and still beautiful. 




Tree Following

tree-logoFor December and through winter, I will give you a glimpse of the silver maple I am following here in my End of The Month Reviews.  You can also get a glimpse of my tree if you check out my Stuck Foot post from a couple of weeks ago.

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


And as promised from my last Tree Following post, I am showing you the snow-covered branches of my maple with its red flower buds during the mid-November snow storm. 







nov crittersSome birds made a reappearance in November.  Our red-tail hawk is sticking around.  First spotted this summer, it has hunted right around the wild area and is found in our trees from time to time.  We saw 3 crows harass, and then chase it so there must have been a nest or young ones nearby.  Robins made a comeback, and visited the garden.  Many live here year round.  

The sparrows, especially the house sparrows, came back and tried to take all the bird houses now for next spring.  We decided that was not going to happen and closed the houses.  They will reopen in spring for all to have a chance at them.  Chickadees were spotted waited to use the suet feeder.  I have a special suet feeder for small birds, but they rarely visit it.

Woodpeckers are daily visitors now, and will be in the garden right through spring.  And yes a bluebird was scouting out the garden.  We do have less birds this year because we clear cut so much of the garden.

The baby deer are growing but still not big enough to jump the fence.  I found them outside the fence very early the morning of the first snow and momma was inside the fence looking for food.  It was beautiful to watch the family and I will have their story and our new squirrel’s story in coming months.  You can see the squirrel enjoying the sunflower seedheads.



In A Vase On Monday 

As November ends, I am visiting family is sunny, warm Arizona.  And of course my thoughts went to what I could find in my sister’s garden to make a couple of vases while I was visiting…. especially for my 82-year-old mother who is in a rehab facility as she recovers from a serious spinal fracture, and my 92-year-old Aunt who raised my mom.

I am joining in with a few memes this week as I prepare a couple of 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.

This month I am also linking in with Floral Fridays, the monthly photography project.  Trishie@Under Lock And Key  decides on the theme and this month it is  “flowers as gifts” (who did you give the gift to and why). You can link in to see the blogs participating on 12/5.  To take part, email Trishie for next month’s theme. 



FotorCreatedMom AZ vaseThis first vase was for my mom.  I thought she would love to have some flowers as she recovers.  My sister grows lots of different colors of lantana; fuchsia and yellow for this vase.   And then we added some purple grass, gray foliage from a Mexican Bird of Paradise bush and yellow-green foliage from a miniature bottle-brush shrub.  My pictures are not that great as the light here is either harsh mid-day or mostly shady.  And yes my mom loved this hand-made vase that now brightens up her room.




AM AZ vase

This vase was for my Aunt, and it graced our Thanksgiving table which was outside as the temp was in the low 80s.  She took it home with her along with yummy leftovers.  Again I used lantana; the red-colored one the hummingbirds love.  I added some foliage from an Acacia tree, berries from a bush and the yellow-green foliage from the same bush.  I also included lots of rosemary from the bushes my sister has growing in her garden.


So there you have my vases…the flowers I gave as gifts to the two special ladies in my life that I have not seen for a couple years now.  I know they loved the flowers as much as I loved putting them together.



It is that time of the year where I celebrate the upcoming new season.  I hope you will consider joining me.  


Just write a post between now and December 21st.   Leave a link with your comment on the kick-off post of Seasonal Celebrations-Winter Wonders. I will include your link in my summary post on December 22nd.  


I am collaborating with Beth@Plant Postings and her Lessons Learned meme at this same time.  What lessons have you learned this past season of summer here in the North and winter in the South.  Write a separate post or combine your lessons with your celebrations in one post. 



Next up on the blog:  Wednesday I will have another Wildlife Wednesday post.  And next Monday brings another Garden Book Review.sharethelove

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, 2010-2014.  Any reprints or use of content or photos is by permission only.