Garden Glimpses -The Week in Dozens


Royal Gem Crabapple

Momentary glance one way and another for a tour around the back gardens. This week I will have glimpses of the garden in a daily dozen of images. Many plants are blooming, from lilacs to groundcovers. Perennials that are blooming are mostly in the front yard which you will see later.


Bloodgood Japanese Maple

We have been having loads of sunshine, making taking photos a bit challenging in such a tiny space.

It really eliminates the best times of day, early morning and late afternoon, because most of the garden is in deep shade to benefit from the soft light.


Red Spire Pear

No pictures of birds today, yet many are visiting. See the Christmas tree from last post?


Below, the image was shot in the flat light of a cloudy day on Wednesday of the tiny back garden. For scale, the grass is only three feet wide, so you can just imagine how small this garden is in reality. There is a lot packed into a very small space.


What you see in the pots is Romaine and leaf lettuce along with Bok Choy and short rooted, heirloom carrots from seed. All vegetables are pot grown this year. The tomatoes and peppers are in pots out of camera range. In May, 2011 most vegetables were in the garden and a few in pots. The backyard looked like this…


Much neater, no? The spring cleanup was done by the landscape workers that I use on job sites. Big difference in neatness. But, I did not mulch in 2013 yet… and was away most of the month in 2012 (post from May 2012), like I will be this month. The grass is greener because Spring 2011 was a very wet Spring with little sun.



I have Myosotis and Muscari paired all over the garden. They make nice partners. I also have Muscari with the pink creeping Phlox in the raised bed with the Royal Gem crabapple tree. This tree will stay very small at about only 6-8 feet tall and wide.  The two groundcover plants combine well for color and both are just coming into bloom with the crabapple. All three make a nice combo.


Afternoon light in the garden.

Things green are just starting to “spring” forth. One more week and the ground will be covered in vegetation. I will be away for my favorite time in the garden, when the Allium and iris bloom. I missed it last year too.


Check out my post Bad Borers to see what can happen to your Royal Gem crabapple tree (above) with an unidentified borer. You can see that the crabapple blooms with both lilacs. They also make pretty partners.

I have been watering the garden since we have had NO rain until Thursday this week. There would be little growth or bloom had I not watered. Water is THE reason the blooms were pushed. We have had temperatures in the eighties and this has affected most bulb bloom. Flowers last about a day, then drop.


As a typical change of weather in western NY, we will be approaching freezing temperatures this weekend. It is why the vegetables are in pots. The cold hardy will remain outside, but the tender peppers and tomatoes will stay warmer in the garage. It generally takes carrots three weeks to show growth, so they are still but seeds in the soil.


About Garden Walk Garden Talk

I love to photograph, paint, draw, design, garden, travel the world, and pass on a few tips and ideas that I learned through experience as a Master Gardener and architect. I am highly trained in my field and enjoy my work each and every day. I garden in Niagara Falls, NY in zone 6-B. Find me at:
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69 Responses to Garden Glimpses -The Week in Dozens

  1. Ray Luke says:

    Hi – a beautiful garden. How long has it been established? I’m looking forward to the coming week of posts.

  2. yourothermotherhere says:

    A postage stamp Garden of Eden and all the more miraculous because of it.

  3. Reblogged this on and commented:

  4. Fabulous garden and fabulous photos. I love the idea of shooting from an upstairs window. What a great view!

  5. Love your tree and phlox on the stone stacked wall as the central focal point. Your courtyard look is so inviting and wonderful!!! Happy spring!

  6. b-a-g says:

    It’s filled out since the last photo. I love watching gardens fill out. Is the flowering bush at the back a lilac? – it must have a beautiful scent.

    • Two lilacs, one a ‘Miss Kim’ and the other a French Lilac, ‘President Lincoln’. Both have a beautiful scent. I design gardens to have fragrance throughout the three blooming seasons. I guess winter too since the conifers and holly smell pretty good.

  7. Stefania says:

    lovely photos! congrats!!

  8. HolleyGarden says:

    I just love the overall photos, and your design. The lilac and the phlox blooming purple together make a stunning pair.

    • I have been trying to show the garden less because each time I show it it rarely changes much from year to year. That is why I have done a complete makeover four times since living here. But I hope to move at some point and will leave this garden as is for the duration. I keep looking at it and thinking what I would take with me.

  9. lucindalines says:

    Beautiful back yard, we are still waiting for the trees to bud here in the Dakotas.

    • You do have quite the scary weather in the Dakotas. I know people fear Buffalo weather and it really is nothing compared to other places I have been. Buffalo just got a reputation from the Blizzard of 77. I was not here, but I saw images and it was pretty bad.

  10. Your garden is looking stunning. Freezing temperatures indeed: we just had a thick SNOW flurry here north of Toronto–part way through cutting the lawn.

    • We had snow flurries too sometime in the last few weeks, but it was brief. Now it is just snowing pear petals. It has to be frustrating to start a garden project and then get hit with snow. I have taken so many photos of poor blooming plants covered in snow. The last two years, we have gotten very little snow. Usually Toronto has our weather, but you must be much farther North.

      • I am just far enough north of Toronto that we are a little behind in Spring and our growing season is maybe a week to ten days shorter. Out driving around yesterday I noticed the snow actually settled on roofs, shrubs and some areas of garden in a couple of neighbouring towns. It alternated between sporadic snow and hail all day long. Ridiculous.

  11. Pat says:

    Your tiny garden is lovely!

  12. Oh, I love this beautiful garden. Small but magical!

  13. alesiablogs says:

    Your garden is exquisite. I know you work hard to keep it that. Alesia

  14. Phil Lanoue says:

    Beautiful views of nature’s wonders!

  15. I’m so happy I got to see an overview of your back garden. It is a wonderful space! It seems secluded. lush but orderly. I love your crabapples and lilacs. I have a young common lilac, still only about 4′ tall, but it will bloom in the next few days. Also a ‘Donald Wyman’ crab with pink buds and white flowers which is probably at its peak right now.

    • I did not realize that I have taken so many photos and they never make the blog. My next post of the front yard has photos from Fall to contrast, and I did not post them before. I guess I am just getting passé on my garden a bit. It is one reason why I stopped GBBD. Too much of the same I thought. The post after has more backyard with the photos from Fall. It really is an explosion.

  16. Patty says:

    I am amazed at what some edging and pruning can do. I imagine it is especially necessary in such a small space. I am glad you decided to include your own garden in a post today.

    • Me too. I really should get the guys to do the work for me. My health is not what it should be and it makes doing yard work very tiring. But with so many perennials, I always worry they will weed them out. They are not very savvy on anything but the trees and shrubs that they grow. On job sites I have to make sure they don’t mulch over the iris. Many are lost that way.

  17. I really adore seeing your garden and spring is certainly full of color….In many respects you are ahead of me…frost tonight they say. Lots of blooming still to come!

  18. Your garden is looking beautiful as always.

  19. Tom Clarke says:

    Excellent photos and a tremendous sense of design. From your other posts, I see you also have an understanding of God as the Creator of the garden which positions you as the arranger. While I do not know you, I believe He is captivated by your part saying, in essence, “Good choice, Donna, I delight in how you placed those there and then presented it all together.”
    Tom Clarke
    Caretaker, Gethsemane Prayer Garden, Syracuse, NY

  20. christy says:

    Hi Donna…your garden is just wonderful! Your Miss Kim Lilac is so long has it been in that spot? Mine are about seven years old and are still only about four feet tall….I know they are slow growers but jeeze! I really like where you put the table and looks so comfy and secluded. I love all the color and contrasts!

    • It has been in the garden since 1986. I moved it a few times and chopped it to the ground. It has followed each redesign I have done in the garden. Few plants have done that, most move on to new homes.

  21. catmint says:

    hi donna, although your garden is small and has lots of different plants in it, it still doesn’t have too many that would make it look piecemeal. I love the fact you have planted enough plants of the same kind to have large-ish drifts. I have forget me nots and grape hyacinth too – a divine combo, divinely captured in the photo. (My only complaint about your photography is that it can be a challenge to find relevant superlatives to describe it)

    • I do plant in numbers in all gardens I design. It works much better on huge properties with deep beds, but also in small gardens. As an example, pincushion flower is repeated in the front and daylily is grouped in the back (by the birdbath). Shrubs are generously used to tie all the perennial hodgepodge together. In large estates gardens, the shrubs form the backdrop to the long beds. I also use mini shrubs in rock gardens to add order. It is like painting with plants. 😀 on your last statement.

  22. pearl says:

    Very beautiful! I’m amazed at how much you can get in a small space if it’s designed expertly.

    • Wait for the front yard! There is so much more, but right now the plants are tiny. I show Fall when they explode too. Part of the reason I have many plants is that when I design other properties, I bring a lot of what gets dug up (they would be trashed otherwise) home with me. I pot them up and if I can not place them elsewhere, I stick them in my garden. My Pee Gee Hydrangea is one such plant. Also working with a nursery/tree and shrub farm, I had not paid for plants in a really long time. Those I do, I get wholesale anyway. So you can see how easily it is to get too many plants when they are readily accessible.

  23. Debra says:

    This is such a lovely space! Spaces within spaces. I agree with Tom Clarke: it looks like a sacred place — a hortus conclusus — the enclosed garden. The evergreens look to be about the same size. Do you trim them to keep them within bounds or are they just really slow growing? …. and the lilacs (sigh)

    • I only trim the lily bed boxwood. The one across from them I let grow naturally. I do this because the boxwood’s tiny flowers attract and feed early bees. I should do a post on that because many think boxwood is a useless plant to nature. It is not and provides cover to many animals. I have a photo from last year of a 18″ long garter snake that lives in them. This year I found a baby garter snake 6″ long in them. I only include slow growing and smaller varieties of plants in my garden out of necessity. The lilacs are an exception. Miss Kim should remain small, but is a large plant here.

  24. Sue says:

    Thanks for posting these wide angle shots of your garden and links to previous years for comparison-especially the bird’s eye views. I love to linger in small well designed gardens and just admire the details. Will be looking forward to future installments.

  25. janechese says:

    Awesome shots! I would love to visit with friends in those cosy corners of the gardens- liked all especially the shot of the red flowers with purple background. Are those the Royal Gem blossoms with the lilacs in the background? Thanks for sharing this

    • Yes, both shots, one of flowers and one of buds is Royal Gem. It is cute little tree but not one I would recommend. It gets borers easily and the red/green in the leaves is dull. I only got this one because that is what my friend brought me. Can’t argue free with planting. Candymint and Camelot are prettier trees, they spread a bit. Royal Gem stays rounded.

  26. Sharon says:

    Donna! I have found a kindred spirit! I just loved these photos especially!
    We lived in Russia, where my interest was sparked about gardening. Russians are phenomenal gardeners and really know how to utilize tiny fenced in areas that really produce and are beautiful!
    Our little son died while there, and when we came back to the States, I found so much healing in creating a garden all around our house mixed with fruit trees, flowering bushes, vines and vegetables. I had garden paths that wound through a tunnel of fruit trees!
    Even when flowers were done, it was a colorful foliage paradise!
    I had a little fountain ‘pond’ with 17 cent gold-fish in it. (Really it was not much more than a large bucket of water with Asiatic plants around it, but what an addition! It drew dragonflies, humming birds would fly threw the little fountain, and birds perch on the edge for a drink!)
    Like you have said, you learn simply by doing and reading. I did not have much money to work with, but learned how to propagate…and steal my neighbor’s dug up plants off the side of the road. I had a gorgeous honey suckle and lots golden eunonomys this way! …Did you know you can break a branch from a red-twigged dogwood and just stick it in a shady damp area in your yard and in one year you will have a beautiful bush?
    All of this an 8-year period created my own personal resort. It was very difficult to move away this past winter!
    Thank you for sharing your LOVELY garden! I could smell the honey-scented crab-apple blossom! You are such a sparkly person and it shows in your blogs and in your garden!

    • Sharon, you NEED a link! I would love to see your garden, it sounds lovely. Thank you for your story and very kind words too. Gardens are a process that take time and loving care and it sound like you had both.

  27. debsgarden says:

    I enjoyed the views of your beautiful garden! It does look much larger than it is. The light is so bright here that on a sunny day I can only photograph early or late in the day, but I am still amazed at how perfect lighting can transform a ho-hum scene into something magical!

  28. Brian Comeau says:

    You have a beautiful place Donna!

  29. Gorgeous garden you have here, thank you for sharing with us!

  30. A.M.B. says:

    The crab apple and the lilacs look gorgeous together! Our lilacs are mostly done now. Last year, they bloomed on my daughter’s birthday–April 14th–and this year, they bloomed about 2-3 weeks later.

    Your backyard looks lovely!

  31. Jennifer says:

    Your back garden is small, but very, very pretty Donna.

  32. Fossillady says:

    It’s so great to see your backyard garden in all its glory of green and spring blooms. Yes the grab apple is a beautiful showy tree and those borers better stay away!

  33. Fergiemoto says:

    Beautiful garden and beautiful images!

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