Garden Photo of the Day

Late Summer Highlights

By Kim Charles


Summer’s End in Harrisburg, PA

"It’s nearing the end of summer in my Zone 6b garden. Despite only 1 rain in the past 4 weeks, and a potential record breaking summer for heat, the garden has held up pretty well. Last week I had 36 people from Australia touring my garden. They are spending 3 weeks in the mid-Atlantic, and wanted to tour some private gardens, in addition to the major public ones. I was one of 5 gardens locally that were chosen. I had an awesome time with this very avid group of gardeners. My garden is under 1/2 acre, and in a suburban development. My garden includes 131 conifers and 12 Japanese maples, in addition to numerous perennials. I have shared photos in the past, but never of the late summer garden. I chose more overview pictures, rather than focusing on individual plants. I hope you enjoy."

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  1. frankgreenhalgh 09/22/2016

    Hello there (name?) - Greetings from Oz. Boy that mob of gardeners from Bundaberg (?), Queensland, Australia was spoilt rotten by you guys! They enjoyed your lovely garden which is full of colour, texture, layering, structure and drop dead roadside appeal. And subsequently visited Kevin Kelly's wonderful garden down the road (5th garden on the tour) where they were treated to Tim Tams before the chocolate coated biscuits/cookies melted in the heat and humidity. Talk about exceptional hospitality!

    The only respectable thing to do now is to host a reciprocal tour of Aussie gardens starting with those in Melbourne (awarded the world's most liveable city prize) and country Victoria (the garden State of Aussie land). Us Aussies will do all the organising down under. OK I can hear you wondering about the length of the plane trip (Michaele), but with all you GPOD'ers being such good friends, the yapping about gardens will make the time evaporate. Just putting it out there! Any barriers to the traffic for such a tour at this end, are guaranteed to be of interest. Cheers, Frank

    1. user-7007498 09/22/2016

      Hey, Frank It is my garden. My name and photo descriptions were left off the post. Some day I will make the trek to Australia.

    2. User avater
      meander_michaele 09/22/2016

      Let's see, Frank, if I wanted to show a comparable critter picture from my part of TN, it would include raccoons, skunks and opossums. Yours looks much more interesting.
      And, sigh, I admit this with ruefulness but you were right to peg me as a reluctant air traveler.

  2. user-3565112 09/22/2016

    Good morning Kevin, August was brutal but your gardens are flourishing and appear PNW worthy. Your garden structure with color coordinated plants looks like a doll house. You & Tim set a mean pace for an old male gardener to emulate. Good work & good luck, Joe

    1. frankgreenhalgh 09/22/2016

      Joe - are you sure this is Kev's garden?

      1. user-3565112 09/22/2016

        I am sure it is because who else had 36 Aussies tretting (Baltimore word ) thru their gardens and dropping tim tam crumbs on the paimernt (another Baltimore). Good luck, Frank

        1. frankgreenhalgh 09/22/2016

          It doesn't look right Joe - unless there is a bloody kangaroo loose in my top paddock again!!!! The Aussies visited 5 nearby properties on the one day.

          Hang on - I'm starting to doubt my judgement now (that garden light and stone retaining wall is in previous posts by Kev) - that kangaroo has caused a road block in my mind!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

        2. User avater
          Tim_Zone_Denial_Vojt 09/22/2016

          I think you meant to write "Balmer word", Joe!

          1. user-3565112 09/22/2016

            You're right Tim but I didn't think anyone would recognize Balmereze. We had a dialect within a dialect in the area I was from. Did I end that in a preposition? Just another example of an incomplete inner city education up with I am condemned to put. Good luck Tim, Joe

          2. User avater
            Tim_Zone_Denial_Vojt 09/22/2016

            My wife and I lived in Baltimore for two years for graduate school back in the 80's. We had a terrible time finding landmarks. Druid Hill Park was Droodle Park; Bellaire Road was Blair road; I had no idea what DelMarVa meant until recently, but was really confused when told to write 'Dale Marva' on a check at one point! At least the Balmer Pharmacy was actually named the Balmer Pharmacy....

          3. user-3565112 09/22/2016

            Tim, You were there during the Inner Harbor transition. I grew up in south Balmer in the neighborhood bordering the harbor 100 yds west of the Domino sugar sign. As I said earlier we had dialects within dialects & burned English teachers out quickly. The area has been gentrified now, renamed Federal Hill but my sisters still live there. It was nice talking with you today, Joe

    2. user-7007498 09/22/2016

      Good job, Joe. This is my garden, but my name, as well as my plant descriptions, were left off the post. These things happen.

  3. user-7007498 09/22/2016

    Yes, this is my garden. It looks like my name was left off the post. I had descriptions of each photo, which also did not make it to the post?

    The cover photo is in the front garden, in front of my garage, featuring Hydrangea serrata 'Preziosa' on the left and Hydrangea paniculata 'White Diamonds' on the right (midway).

    The second photo is half of my sidewalk planting. The medium grass on the left is Miscanthus sinensis 'Little Kitten', which is a wonderful grass and has awesome seed heads.

    The third photo is of Cyperus papyrus 'King Tut'

    The fourth photo is my east garden looking toward the street. There is a Cryptomeria japonica 'Sekkan Sugi' and Zelkova serrata to the right.

    The container in the 5th photo is on my shaded back patio, featuring Cyperus papyrus 'Little Tut' with the Caladium.

    The sixth photo is a shady spot in the south west corner, due to a large Chamaecyparis pisifera 'Vintage Gold'

    The seventh photo is on the east side of the shed with full sun/partial shade. It features Lagerstroemia indica 'Pink Velour', Cryptomeria japonica 'Nana Globosa', Itea Virginica 'Little Henry'.

    The eighth photo is the shed garden. The shed sits at the end of my driveway and is visible from the street.

    See additional photos below. They are also of my front yard gardens. The first of the extras is an annual garden I redesign every year.

    1. terieLR 09/22/2016

      How wonderful to see your superb gardens again! I especially love the garden house and all the conifers that add so much interest. Congratulations on being chosen for the Austrailan tour. Well deserved! The overview pictures are perfect. If you have time maybe you could caption them by number for us today. I understand that frustration Kevin... I sent two days of captioned pictures with my last post. (Only one day posted and no captions) Hopefully they work out the kinks.

      1. user-7007498 09/22/2016

        Thanks Terie for the kind words. Check back, as I added descriptions to my initial reply. I also hope we can get all the kinks worked out at GPOD. I love this blog and the interactions with all the terrific gardeners.

    2. user-7008255 09/26/2016

      Your gardening is very structured and an enjoyment to have seen here Kevin. When you showed the King Tut plant I had to sign up so I could ask this question to you! I just purchased the King Tut this summer (early) and found the stalks bend and crease very easily and was curious if you have this problem as well? Once each stalk creases, the upper bud soon dies off.

      1. user-7007498 09/26/2016

        Hi. I have been using both 'King Tut' and 'Little Tut' for a few years. Cyperus is a fast growing plant. The species grows 8-10 feet high, but we have been fortunate to have 2 dwarf forms ('King Tut' grows 3-4 feet and 'Little Tut' grows about 2 feet).

        Because the seed heads of 'King Tut' can get fairly large, the weight can bend the stalks. If that happens, I usually cut it off at the base. By the end of the summer, I usually have 8-10 stalks growing from the base of the plant.

        I will fertilize this plant once (when I plant it) with a long acting fertilizer like Osmacote. I do Not fertilize it again, and will not use a quick fertilizer like Miracle-Gro, as the plant will grow faster and weaker. Make sure it is growing in a moist/wet environment and in full sun to part shade.

        I will often use a bamboo stake and tie the largest stalk to it, and then wrap and tie Jute around the plant about 8-12 inches off the ground. This keeps the plant growing in a vase shape, but decreases the chance of bending.

        This is not a problem with 'Little Tut'

        I hope this helps.

        1. user-7008255 09/26/2016

          Thank you. I also have bamboo staked in the center, and use standard string around the center, but bending still occurs to all outside spikes. So, this brings a question to mind now as to whether the plant just isn't mature enough yet. I water with Miracle Grow, but no other chemicals are applied in my gardens. I live in the country and it does get pretty windy when the wind does blow, but we didn't seem to have much wind this summer at all.

  4. User avater
    meander_michaele 09/22/2016

    Ha, Kevin, I just came back from some sleuthing by looking at previous gpod sharings of yours and came to the same conclusion as you...teeheee, yes, it is your garden! The giveway for me was the stretch of wall material in picture #4. Things look absolutely first rate and, as Joe observed, totally PNW higher praise can be given! Your garden shed and its surrounding plantings are outstanding. The fullness of the coleus and
    fuchsia (?) in the window boxes are wow! You did us all proud as a representative of American home gardening to the Aussie visitors.

    1. user-7007498 09/22/2016

      Hi, Michaele. Thanks for the praise. The window boxes on the shed are made up of coleus, 'Diamond Frost' euphorbia and Dragon wing begonia. The garden tour was so much fun.

      1. User avater
        meander_michaele 09/22/2016

        Thanks for the identification of the dragon wing begonia...what a glorious tumble of floriferous-ness...ha, yes, that is a made up word but I'm going to stick with it. I like to torment spellcheck on occasion. Were you on an every day (twice a day) watering schedule and what did you do for fertilizing? Obviously, you did everything right!

        1. user-7007498 09/22/2016

          I generally only try to water new plants, containers, or individual plants in trouble, as I don't have an inground watering system. Due to the garden tour, I started watering areas under the trees every 3-4 days, and the main garden once per week (starting 4 weeks before the tour). Only the annuals and containers get a diluted fertilizer about once per week. I use leaf compost exclusively to the main garden and periodically soil test to verify my progress.

          1. User avater
            meander_michaele 09/22/2016

            Obviously, being disciplined, conscientious and somewhat scientific (soil testing) really pays off.

  5. user-7007498 09/22/2016

    Hi, Diane. Thanks for the comments. My name and descriptions were left off the post. Yes, that is my garden shed. The colors and style match my house. The shed sits at the back of the driveway, and is quite visible from each the street, so I really like to "dress it up". The Colocasia to the right of the shed sits in front of my gold garden, where all the plants have golden foliage. The Colocasia looks great in front of the golden plants, but this year it grew so well, it now hides most of what is behind it, including a beautiful Hydrangea quercifolia 'Little Honey'.

  6. alicefleurkens 09/22/2016

    Kevin . It is a great garden. Love your black elephant ears. Caladium and hostas that look so nice for the end of summer. Frank. You where actually on this garden tour? You really must be possessed.

  7. user-7007498 09/22/2016

  8. alicefleurkens 09/22/2016

    I was not done writing and the thing posted. Also love your shed. Also everything else I may add

    1. user-7007498 09/22/2016

      Alice, Thanks for the kind words. I really love how the shed turned out. Gardens extend all around it, and I have a lot of fun with it.

      No, Frank was not on the tour. But I would love to meet him someday.

  9. user-7007498 09/22/2016

    Additional photos below. The annual garden is in the front of my house. I redesign it every year.

    1. terieLR 09/22/2016

      WoWzers! So much to love!!!

  10. User avater
    Tim_Zone_Denial_Vojt 09/22/2016

    Well, Kevin, I really wanted to tease you with some banter about how mediocre your garden is, but am too impressed to do so. Wow.
    Your plant choices and selective watering regimen really paid off to get your garden in tip-top shape for the tour and end of summer. Your street-side plantings are simply amazing and lush. And shed? really? I assumed that was the side door to your house or garage. That's quite impressive and amazing color choices on the annuals there.
    I'm crazy about the bluestone path lined with hydrangeas and sedum. I think I grow my large sedum far too richly, as they always flop out. Do you tie yours up or is that area really lean?
    You really challenge me, with your fabulous evergreen garden structure and your dedication to actually test your soil.
    I need to mend my lazy ways!

    1. user-7007498 09/22/2016

      Tim, I really appreciate your comments because I love your garden as well, and you also challenge me with you terrific plant palette.

      I confess that I do have to assist many sedums. The purple one in the first photo has a ring in the center which half the plant grows through. I then run a string around the outer 80% just before blooming and loosely tie it allowing the outer plant to flop.

      Others I cut once or twice in the spring/early summer.
      Others I have tightly planted and use "neighbors" to hold it up.

      I can't stress enough the need to periodically soil test. I have a Betula nigra that was beginning to develop early chlorosis a few years back. It turned out to be a manganese deficiency, which I would have never guessed.

      1. User avater
        Tim_Zone_Denial_Vojt 09/22/2016

        Do you test the soil yourself or send samples somewhere?
        If you test, any recommendations on kits?

        1. user-7007498 09/22/2016

          Penn State provides Agricultural Analytical Services for homeowners and farmers. We have county by county extension services, where we can pick up the soil testing kits. The lab does a basic panel for $9, but additional tests can be ordered if there is a particular concern. I usually do the basic test on 2 garden areas each year, rotating to different sites annually so over time I am monitoring the entire garden.

          You may have a similar service in Ohio, but I am sure you could use the Penn State service if none exists in your state.

          1. User avater
            Tim_Zone_Denial_Vojt 09/22/2016

            Awesome. I work at Ohio State and I'me sure out extension service offers something similar.

  11. User avater
    treasuresmom 09/22/2016

    Kevin, gorgeous garden. Do you have any shots of pic 2 made in the winter?

    1. user-7007498 09/22/2016

      Thanks. I looked, and realize I don't have any photos of that view in the winter. Will fix that this year.

  12. sheila_schultz 09/22/2016

    Hey Kevin... I'm about to scoot out he door for a short trip but I had to let you know that your gardens and yard as a whole continues to be almost beyond words! It is inch by inch, petal by petal perfect in design and overall feel. I love it!

    1. user-7007498 09/22/2016

      Thanks, Sheila. I hope you also checked out the additional photos I added.

  13. annek 09/22/2016

    What a lush, diverse, complex, gorgeous garden and yard. I wanted to try to fake an Aussie accent (hmmm, how to do that in writing) so that I could suggest I was a bit late on the Aussie tour and would be by in the next couple of weeks to see it first hand. Ha! Truly, your garden shows the hand of a loving, creative gardener who knows his art. Beautiful!

    1. user-7007498 09/22/2016

      Thanks, Annek. I appreciate your kind words. Wouldn't it be great if we all could visit the gardens of the other posters. I was able to visit the garden of Rhonda earlier this year, and she is visiting my garden in a couple of weeks.

      1. annek 09/22/2016

        It would be grand to do a Gpod tour....what a lot of travel!

  14. VikkiVA 09/22/2016

    Hang on while I deal with gorgeous overload! I can't pick out one thing that I love better than another. Don't be surprised if I show up on your door step requesting a tour. Thank you so much for the additional pictures as one could never see enough of the beauty you have created. Vikki in VA (part of that DelMarVa Balmerism) Hee, hee.

    1. User avater
    2. user-7007498 09/22/2016

      Hi, Vikki. Glad you enjoyed the photos. All GPOD posters are welcome, so stop by if you are ever in the area.

      You live in a great part of Virginia. Love the area.

  15. NCYarden 09/22/2016

    Kevin! Didn't need a headline to clue me in that this was your garden. Man, everything looks spectacular, but I suppose that is to be expected with all your efforts in preparation for such a big tour. I wish my late Summer garden looked even half as good as yours... I just need Fall at this point. The shed I suspected was just another side of the house - that is some display...feeling some pressure to up-do mine now...thanks, buddy. You've done an amazing job with your garden there.
    I am really looking forward to hopefully seeing it over the holidays. I know a good half will be put to rest, but that conifer collection!

    1. user-7007498 09/22/2016

      Thanks, David. Appreciate your kind words. The shed garden is fun, because I treat it like a little house, and garden around all 4 sides.
      The tour forced me to remain ever so diligent through the hot days of August. I am looking forward to meeting you and Christine later this year.

  16. User avater
    LindaonWhidbey 09/22/2016

    Wow, Kevin, this is like treat week on GPOD with both your garden and Tim's back to back. I'll bet you're happy to have the tour behind you ( even though it must have been fun) so that now you can just enjoy working and playing in the yard without that added stress. Everything looks perfect. I especially love the shed venue with the Colocasia. Is that 'Black Coral'? Also, is your 'Sekkan Sugi' on the right in photo 4? I have a couple of them but they're in full sun so are bright yellow/gold. Yours looks much healthier.
    Thanks for giving us a walk through this morning.

    1. user-7007498 09/22/2016

      Thank you so much for the praise, Linda. I felt extra pressure when I saw Tim's garden post yesterday. Hope you so the additional photos I posted as well.
      The tour was exciting, but a bit of a letdown now. I knew about it for about a year, so I had reworked part of the garden to optimize the look in September. It was nice to have a goal during the really hot days of the summer.
      You are right on both cultivars. The cryptomeria is on the east side of the house and gets afternoon shade. Seems to really like it there. I have had to thin it out twice, which seemed to invigorate it with better light and airflow.

  17. clculp1961 09/22/2016

    Beautiful and breathtaking. Nice splashes of colour. If you have any extra perennial seeds, please send, I live in SC along the coast in Beaufort.

  18. user-4691082 09/22/2016

    As soon as it said Harrisburg and Aussies, I knew it was your garden! Everything looks fabulous and John and I are looking forward to our visit. Just can't wait to see it in person. My garden just looks tired!

    1. user-7007498 09/22/2016

      Looking forward to seeing you and John soon. Hopefully we will start having fall-like weather soon. Hope you enjoyed the pictures.

  19. User avater
    treasuresmom 09/22/2016

    Could someone check and see if they can pull up the post "From Barren Farmland to a Slice of Paradise" that was posted on Sept 12? It seems to have been deleted.

    1. User avater
      Tim_Zone_Denial_Vojt 09/22/2016

      i don't see it on the main blog web page, and when I search for it, I find an entry but the link is a dead end and says I don't have access.

  20. wGardens 09/22/2016

    Absolutely SUPERB! I am so appreciative of all the information also. So interesting and informative. I would have LOVED to be on that tour as well. What a special treat. Love your combinations and all your lovely specimens. Your featured container is of perfection!! Your neighbors are so fortunate. As are we!

    1. user-7007498 09/22/2016

      Glad you enjoyed the photos, and thanks for the kind comments. It's been a wonderful summer in the garden, and looking forward to the fall. Thanks again, Margaret.

  21. GrannyCC 09/22/2016

    Absolutely stunning and amazing!! What a lot of wonderful work you have done.

    1. user-7007498 09/23/2016

      Thanks Catherine.

  22. grannieannie1 09/22/2016

    Super Job, Kevin, as everyone in the universe has already stated. I especially appreciated how you've paired various color shades together plus textures and leaf shapes which makes the garden interesting from many angles. Your neighbors must be delighted to have your garden to view on their street. Great of you to put all the work in prior to hosting a group, too. I have yet to bite that rather large bullet.

    1. user-7007498 09/23/2016

      Thanks so much for the praise. As I have grown in my gardening abilities, I have focused so much on texture and layering. My neighbors love it, and I get a significant amount of people stop by to chat. Really adds to the gardening experience.

      I have now hosted tours over the past 3 years. While it increases the work to get the garden "tour ready", it is so much fun to share stories with other gardeners, which is why I also love GPOD.

  23. perenniallycrazy 09/23/2016

    Way to go Kevin! Your garden never ceases to amaze me.

    1. user-7007498 09/23/2016

      Cherry, it is really funny, because I was just sitting here reading over the posts, and literally just noticed that you hadn't responded, and then your post popped up. Thanks. I hope you saw the extra photos I uploaded as well. Have a great evening.

  24. schatzi 09/23/2016

    Sorry to be so late to the party. My computer did not want to get up this morning and I had a meeting to go to, so left it to my wonderful husband to get it working again, which he did. Kevin, your garden is fantastic! I second all the comments the rest of the group has made about its wonderfulness! Love the conifers and lush, healthy exuberance of it all. Thanks for sharing - glad the tour went well. I'm sure we all would have loved to be there.

    1. user-7007498 09/23/2016

      Better late than never, Shirley. Thanks for the comments. The tour being held so late in the season helped me stay motivated during the very hot and dry days of August.

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