Monday, August 31, 2020

This Month in the Garden, Big News, and GIVEAWAYS!

August in my gardens saw the bright colors of summer mellowing to more autumnal hues. Between the rain storms, I spent hours tying up plants, deadheading, removing spent annuals, and planting fall flowers. I decided to leave the chore of dividing perennials to the spring, because I have been busy with an exciting project: I made an impressive (I think) website to launch the expansion of my garden-coaching business. I would love you to check it out and enter for some great prizes that I describe below. I am illustrating this special posting with photographs that I took at Bryant Park in Stroudsburg, PA earlier this month, beginning with a view of their gazebo above.  Bryant Park is a charming, neighborhood pocket garden that I believe is Monroe County's best kept secret. Enjoy the tour, then check out my giveaways. 

Approaching the park you see a young 'Pinky Winky' peeping over the fence

There are some beautiful trees in the park including this native fringe tree (Chionanthus virginicus)

Some of the lovely plantings in Bryant Park

This is a true community garden with its free library

A few personal favorites of mine at the park

The park is manned entirely by neighborhood volunteers. A couple of years ago, I worked with Ellen, the main volunteer, to design a pollinator garden for the park. Unfortunately, the money for plants and supplies was not forthcoming and that particular garden was never installed. The activity did reinforce my desire, however, to spend more time advising home gardeners on the best plants to use and how to install them, on using environmentally friendly practices, and on solving their specific garden problems.  I love visiting all types of gardens, walking with the gardener, and helping them achieve their dreams. What is nice about this activity is that it can be accomplished even during the pandemic: just two people, out-of-doors, socially distanced, and wearing masks. In case you are wondering why I would launch my website near the end of the gardening season, I do believe that fall is a great time to plant. It is the best time to assess and make plans. 

 A few pictures of my gardens at the end of this month:

I planted tall black-eyed Susan (Rudbeckia maxima) each side of the arbor into the Kitchen Garden
The foxgloves are enjoying a late rebloom
Turtlehead (Chelone 'Bright Eyes') is blooming - a sure sign that autumn is near

 Now for the big reveal: Go to to view my new website. Take a look at the various pages. (I've included a page of 'My Gardens' where you can look at some pictures of the gardens here at Astolat Farm. I plan on adding more photos.) Then leave a comment about the website -- on my blog or on Facebook; your name will be placed in a drawing for some fabulous prizes:

I am giving away a copy of the book Chanticleer: A Pleasure Garden by Adrian Higgins. The photographs are by Rob Cardillo who took the pictures of my gardens for Country Gardens Magazine.

For a local gardener I am awarding a $25 gift certificate to Chestnuthill Nursery in Brodheadsville.

To another winner I will give a copy of Country Gardens Magazine: Summer 2020. This edition contains the article about my gardens.

I am sorry that I can only extend this offer to U.S.A residents. 


Ellen relaxes in the gazebo after a hard day's work at Bryant Garden

The eye-catching hell strip, filled with colorful zinnias, planted by Bryant Garden volunteers

I am linking with Sarah's meme 'Through the Garden Gate' -- check it out; it is lovely.

I hope you enjoyed the photographic tour. I look forward to reading your comments about my website. 

Stay safe and healthy,

Pamela x

Tuesday, August 18, 2020

The Cottage Garden in Mid-August


Today, my gardens haven't recovered completely from tropical storm Isaias that roared through at the beginning of the month, dumping more than five inches of rain in a very short time. I spent several days cutting out plants that were destroyed and tying up those that were flattened. I took most of the pictures in this posting the following week, intending to participate in Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day on the 15th, but I'm late to the party again. Plenty of messy, tangled color remains in each garden as you can see. The long herbaceous border has red beebalm, bright-pink phlox and yellow yarrow; the garden that I call Abundance has orange daylilies and pink Joe Pye weed; and the Serenity garden has a few purple hosta flowers and bountiful pink and white hydrangeas. The kitchen garden is ablaze with zinnias still, although many were destroyed in the storm. 

Wide shots of some of the gardens at Astolat Farm


Among the bright colors, there are some more delicate hues:


Clockwise from top left: rose enjoying a late bloom, surprise lily (Lycoris squamigera), cleome, spiderwort (tradescantia) that has bloomed all summer, hosta, great blue lobelia


I have had a disappointing amount of produce from the Kitchen Garden this year that started with groundhog damage to peas, beans, and broccoli. I will give a full account in a future posting. Today, I have redbeets, parsnips, Swiss chard, and zucchini. Every bed has zinnias and/or marigolds. You can't eat them, but they brighten my day with their cheery, colorful faces. It's time to can the beets and sow a late crop of lettuce and spinach.Where did the summer go?

Zinnias rule in the Kitchen Garden

Tying up the storm-battered zinnias was an all-day job

 Some orange and yellow blooms: 

Clockwise from top left: Chinese lantern (Physalis alkekengi), St. John's Wort (Hypericum perforatum ), sunflower bowed down by the storm, and an unexpected blooming of columbine (Aquilegia canadensis)

One of my garden successes this year is the window boxes on the tractor shed. 


A 'double take' of window boxes filled with Supertunia® and purple fountain grass. Note the fallen leaves from the nearby walnut trees. It feels very autumn-like today.


The pots in the Stone Garden are pretty with begonia and caladium. One of my favorite containers this year, located by the potting shed, has white Supertunia® and a red grass that I think is called 'Fireworks'.

The Stone Garden

I love this red grass

The hydrangeas are changing color: Pinky Winky from white to pink and Limelight from green to white

There are signs that fall is approaching: 


Viburnum trilobum with masses of red fruit
Our farmer harvested the oats leaving a golden stubble


As I write this, I hear the sound of tinkling bells through the open window. The goats wear bells with our hope that the sound will deter black bears. They are reminding me that it is time for their morning feed.

Doodles and Billy say 'Good morning'


Do you feel that the summer season is flying past? I thought that with the pandemic I would have time on my hands and the days would drag, but that is not so. I hope, dear gardening friends that, whatever season it is in your part of the world, you are staying safe and in good health. This year is like no other. I thank God for my garden and the solace it brings, even when battered by storms.


Pamela x


Drumstick allium changes its appearance daily
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I love reading your comments. I hope you leave one so I’ll know you visited! I look forward to visiting your blog in return.