Garden Journal-As Summer Wanes

“Whilst August yet wears her golden crown,
Ripening fields lush- bright with promise;
Summer waxes long, then wanes, quietly passing
Her fading green glory on to riotous Autumn.”
–  Michelle L. Thieme, August’s Crown 

I knew we were headed for a cool down 2 weeks ago when I saw many hawks back in the trees along the NYS Thruway as I drove to work.  And we have had a day here or there of cooler weather, but last week we saw many more days of cool weather thus far.  The clouds are beginning to look different; lower, grayer.  These are the clouds I expect to see in Fall and Winter.  It is interesting to observe the subtle shift in the seasons as the sun drifts back toward the Equator.

I am just now getting to the yard maintenance I had hoped would be done in spring and summer, but it is OK since I can assess the gardens and decide what I can work on now and what I will put off until next spring.  Doing more careful planning is paying off.

Here’s what is happening in my garden as we move to September…..

Some leaves are turning color and falling, but I suspect it is more from the drought than cooler nights since we have not really had many cool nights yet.  Fall in central NY state is gorgeous most years.  I love following the fall color from the higher altitudes to where I am just above sea level.  You can enjoy it for even longer if you follow the fall foliage reports and make trips to see the colors.

The veg garden is still working hard.  I have a few cherry tomato plants that are churning out tomatoes and my volunteer plants are doing great (bottom right).  Fall garden is planted with peas, radishes, lettuces, arugula. It is growing but has been struggling under the continued heat of late.  Perhaps with the cool down we may see stronger veggies putting out fall fruit.  The center insert is a sweet potato.  Coming along nicely but not quite ready to harvest.  Want them a bit bigger.  These are not the orange flesh variety.  Not as fond of those.  These have the yellow flesh.  The left bottom insert is another variety of eggplant, ‘Rosa Bianca’.  There are 2 on the vine.



And my  Hatch green chile plants (top left).  Growing out of control even in the pots in the front yard.  Top right is ‘Yellow C Pepper’ in the same grow bag.  The bottom left was what the green chiles looked like at the start of summer.  Barely growing and in trouble.  We made the soil a bit more acidic and added manure fertilizer, and this is what they look like bottom right.  It is like a miracle.  I had written them off as a failure and was almost ready to pull them. The lesson:  Never, say never.  We will grow these again from seed next year.

I hope to grow all my veggies from seed next year.  To do so will mean I need to expand my seed growing capacity.  So we plan to build a seed growing station in the basement.  Shelves with heat mats and grow lights.  I hope to grow herbs and greens all winter and then turn to the veggies and flowers I want to grow for next spring.



 To accommodate all the veggies I want to grow, I decided that I needed another raised bed.  So I bought a small 4×4 bed to match the others, and we will be putting it in this area.  I will move some plants around to make room.  Not much here anyway except weeds.  I especially need more room for tomatoes, peppers, eggplant and other veggies that crave full sun.   The bed will be located bottom right.



We have begun the amendment of the left side of the yard where the horsetail grows.  You can read my post outlining why we are doing this.  We also need to amend this area for the berry bushes, and to replant the strawberry patch that was mostly choked out by weeds and grass.  This was the strawberry patch.  Hardly a plant left and mostly raspberries that moved here.  They are setting fruit so once they are done I will move them to the other side of the large veg bed.



Can’t wait for the yummy berries although sparse this year.


With all the rain, the phlox is really putting on a show.  Many other flowers are surging again and I can’t wait to see what happens after Irene departs Sunday.  Winds gusting to 35 mph and a couple of inches of needed rain.  Cool temps in the low 60s.  Certainly feels like Autumn to me.



The pollinators have been so busy lately laden down and covered in pollen trying to get as much as possible. (Flying bees are hard to capture with my point and click camera) Hummers have been seen on tomato flowers and marigolds making sure they get to every possible bit of nectar.  More juvenile robins were out in Irene Sunday filling up for their long trek South.  They are leaving today.  I thought I spied Prudence and siblings.  I wished her well.



The first aster has finally bloomed.  I can’t wait to see all the beautiful color of the asters in the garden and meadow.  It is bittersweet to see the asters.  I know Autumn and longer nights are not far off.



Sedum turning color




“When summer gathers up her robes of glory, and like a dream of beauty glides away.”
–  Sarah Helen Power Whitman








Special Note: All flowers pictured here are from my garden.  Flaunt your flowers at Tootsie Time this Friday where she hosts Fertilizer Friday.  I’ll be flaunting mine.  Also linking in with Beth at Plant Postings for her Garden Lessons Learned- end of summer meme.

Monthly (usually around the 10th) I guest blog at Walkabout Chronicles.  Stop by to read my post!

Book Update-For those that have asked, my 2 poems are being published in the book, The Moment I Knew in early September.  Publication is delayed due to a minor glitch with publication.  I will keep you posted. You can see the announcement in my blog post.  Information about sale of the book is forthcoming.




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  1. Catharine Howard says:

    Your seed sowing plans sound interesting and I will follow you to see how it goes. My problem 2 years running has been to bring plants on indoors and then find they grow too big too fast and can’t go outside until frost danger is past.

    • Donna says:

      Catharine how wonderful to have you visiting the garden. I will keep you posted about the seed growing. I had the same problem with plants growing too big, too fast. Some I can put out under a row cover, but others have to wait. I will try to stagger my seed starting this year. Should be fun…

  2. Alistair says:

    Hello Donna, Your veggies and everything else is still looking great in your garden. I know what you mean regarding the Asters, I always felt exactly the same way. I was hoping that you were well and safe after Irene.

    • Donna says:

      Thank you Alistair. Irene was downgraded to a Tropical Storm when she hit us early Sunday morning around 4 am. We were not expecting her as far west as I am, but she came anyway and left behind over an inch of rain and some strong winds. We were lucky. Just East and South of us they have substantial flooding.

  3. Donna says:

    Your garden looks so fresh going into September. The veggies are going strong. My peppers and tomatoes are doing pretty good too, now that the weather is a bit more obliging. When the end of August rolls around, the beds fend for themselves here, I guess that is why mine are a bit worn, but the the cooler weather will help. Did you get any of the rain from the storm? We did not. I have had asters for months now, I am surprised yours are just starting to bloom. Last year they were later, but this year they started in July.

    • Donna says:

      It is so unusual how we are so close and our gardens behave so differently. Asters are blooming usually around this time for me. We had over an inch of rain from the storm and 6.25 inches in August. The winds were whipping all day to about 35 mph. My beds look even more lush with all the weeds that are staying the greenest…can’t wait for a bit of a cool down…

    • Donna says:

      That was one of a handful that the critters didn’t get. I just love sunflowers as they open, mature and fill out…Glad you enjoyed it…

  4. Holley says:

    I started a lot of veggies from seed last year, but didn’t do the hardening off well. A lesson learned, and hopefully next year I’ll be better at it. So nice to hear about your plans. I noticed today my sedum has a touch of pink, too. I guess fall really is just around the corner.

    • Donna says:

      Holley I am still learning about hardening off. I barely do it and maybe that is why the peppers were so stressed. We shall see how it goes. I love the learning experience even if I fail because I am still learning and moving forward…hope your summer continues to be a wonderful time in the garden…

  5. Karin/Southern Meadows says:

    Cooler temperatures sound glorious right now. It is still so HOT and dry in Georgia. Your vegetables are still going strong…and your plans for next year sound great! That sunflower is stunning!

    • Donna says:

      Thx Karin. Glad a few sunflowers made it this year. I feel for you still in the drought. I love the cool down here as summer wanes…

  6. commonweeder says:

    Donna – Your photos are just beautiful, as is the garden. I enjoy your periodic journals. They are a good record, and a good way for me to learn my way about your gardens. We had Irene blow through here – actually swim her way through, but there was no damage on our hill, although great damage in our general area.

    • Donna says:

      Pat so glad to hear you were spared any damage. Very bad in parts of upstate NY too. I am so glad you enjoy the garden journals and your visits to the gardens here…You know you are welcome any time!!

  7. Amy/Go Away, I'm Gardening! says:

    Donna, looks like you have had a very successful growing season! I love the sunflower photo and all your veggies.
    The other day I had hatch green chili ice cream….go figure, only in Texas. Actually, it was pretty good with a little chocolate on top. 🙂

    • Donna says:

      Thx Janet. I love learning in my garden…I will keep everyone posted on the seed growing…of course it means my husband will get this project started and finished..right now he is in the planning stage…he seems as excited as I am…

  8. PlantPostings says:

    Donna, your Sunflower photo is stunning! One of the consolations of late summer/early fall. I’m picturing a fabulous arrangement of Sunflowers, Grasses, and Pumpkins! I hope you’ll link to the “Garden Lessons Learned” meme now live on my blog. Happy September!

    • Donna says:

      Thx Beth…I linked in…what a perfect meme and thx for letting me know..been behind reading blogs lately…the few sunflowers that bloomed will remain on the plant for the bees and birds…critters go the rest of the seeds…I think I may start them from seed indoors this spring…

    • Donna says:

      Glad you enjoyed the garden Darla…cooling temps will soon be here and we can all enjoy them…except for me cooler temps mean there is a lot of white stuff around the corner from there…

  9. Karen says:

    You have a gorgeous garden, very plain to see you love what you’re doing and are very knowledgeable. The photo of the sunflower is just amazing!

    • Donna says:

      Karen thx for that kind comment. I consider myself self-taught and still learning, but I do love what I am doing…the few sunflowers that made it past the critters have been beautiful…

  10. Grace says:

    Hi Donna. That last photo of the Sedum looks exactly like one I took a few days ago. Isn’t it amazing how plants that are hundreds of miles away from each other still have the same internal time clock? My Asters have also just started blooming. I’m so glad there are plants that wait until later to strut their stuff. How boring it would be if everything happened in May and June. Great post. I’m getting so psyched about the book! Can’t wait to read your poems!

    • Donna says:

      Grace how wonderful that our gardens seem in synch so many miles away…I do love when late plants flower even the grasses…beautiful color for months and months…the suspense with the book is so exciting…I saw we both wrote about grief…looking forward to your entry…such talent and wonderful inspiring stories from some incredible women…

  11. Tootsie says:

    gorgeous photos!!! I love what you have done for your gardens!!!
    I thank you so much for linking in this week. It is an honor to host Friday’s Flaunt and meet new friends and visit the regulars (who are like old friends) who share. I am always excited to tour each post and see the different flowers/ projects and garden art that everyone flaunts. It is a pleasure to tour and see all the gorgeous blooms…and I appreciate each and every link and comment! I hope you will link in again soon!
    ¸.•´¸.•*¨) ¸.•*¨)
    (¸.•´ (¸.•´ .•´ ¸¸.•¨¯`•.

  12. Jean says:

    It was fun to see what is happening in your garden as summer wanes. I have sedum beginning to bloom in my Gettysburg garden, but the air still feels tropical here — lots of warmish rain from Lee and dew points in the 70s. I yearn for those first cool, dry nights when temps go down into the low 50s. While all my neighbors shut up their houses in response to cold, I will open all my windows and revel in the feel of fall in the air.

    • Donna says:

      We had a little over an inch from Irene and then a tropical warm up. Labor Day saw a cooling off into the low 50s at night and you can bet my window was open at night and will be all week….I do love the cooler fall air too…so glad Jean you enjoyed visiting!

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