GGW Entry- End of Summer Thoughts

Twenty Four Choices and Three Extras

The ‘Army’ of Black-Eyed Susan

The End of Summer means something different to just about everyone. And imaging it is probably not universal worldwide because some of what is blooming in my garden is not likely found other places around the world. The colors are not yet the rusts, oranges, deep reds and yellows of Fall. Those colors in the garden have been blooming for a while like the Susans above. The mums have not even made buds, I have been checking daily.

Daily Early Girl tomato harvest from my garden, and the pink heirlooms are just starting to ripen.

The vegetables and fruit have been producing all summer, but no late summer pumpkins in this garden. The blooms are not yet in the stages of decay to look like deep-fried remnants of themselves, which here, occurs much later. Many Spring flowers are making a second show. It is a seasonal time not yet making up its mind in which direction to head.

This is the end of summer in Niagara Falls. Well, we are a week away, but who is counting. Our Monarch maybe, since there is travel ahead.

The Lake, Early Storm Brewing Morning

The sun is lower in the sky, the lighting is richer, the wind is brisk, the clouds fill, and the rains are falling. The skies are just more interesting and reflect off the lake with glass-like shine. The raindrops below reflect a tiny photograph in each one. The end of summer speaks to reflection and to contemplation.

The above image says more about the end of summer because of the plant on which the Monarch is feeding. But below, you will see the Monarchs on Cleome taken the same day in my garden, but without a reference to the season. Cleome will bloom from spring through fall.

The morning light breaking through the trees is a bit more ephemeral and a lot more difficult to capture, having an odd combination of color and clarity. The shadowing reads blue and the blue lake reads green with vegetative reflection.  It is almost like the fog of light is more clearly visible reflected in, and sparkling off, the water. I love those little sparkles, especially the ones in the cloudy sky image. Many would consider them distracting though. I think they have an artistic quality.

The leaves have barely started to show color, but the plants are not the least bit weary. Oh, and this is Grasshopper Heaven, BTW, for those of you that saw that post.

This is more a result of our hot, dry summer, but late summer has breathed in new life. The layering of the landscape is more evident as the tawny, textural tones start to emerge.

Late Summer Hosta Doused in Rain

My garden does not really change that much during the growing season, as color is constant. Sure the iris and peonies are green and the Hosta and Caryopteris are blooming, but it is just a changing of the guard in the garden. Color appears in just a different location, and in combination with light and rain, does magic to the plants.

The Light Hit Just Right (click to enlarge), Rain-Soaked Hosta

The seasons really transition when the fall leaves start to change. Then it is magnificent here in the North. Until then, the summer weather persists into Fall, then abruptly turns.

Picture Postcard Image

The end of summer has but a few indicators of what is to become. One is the harsh winds’ arrival. Not a pretty picture, but one that shows the power over a field. And if you look closely at the small trees and brush,  you can really see the wind whipping. It almost blew me over. There is a wind tunnel effect here as it whirls, flattens and pushes all that is standing erect.

Another indicator is the tattered and rusting leaves. But out of the shadows comes the bright color that is hiding.

The Blue is a Pop of Color in a Wild Landscape

The grapes and berries ripen, but right along side flowers that graced the fields and gardens in Spring. The Sage, Delphinium and foxglove reappear for an encore, throwing off a sense of seasonal time.

Geese Coming in for a Swim (more on them later)

I enjoy reading what others experience around the globe because it is quite different. The geese, in the image above, are coming from further north and then leaving soon for places unknown. They will show up again in other blogger’s photos. Same with the Monarch, off it will go, but just not yet.

Early Morning Before a Day of Carefree Flying

Even those in the throes of garden decline have a completely different perspective of this time of year. Here it is a little like a new beginning, leading to a quick final show.

Bright Color Barely Seen

In the image above, there are bits of bright color that one can barely see. I did not see the reds and greens until it was a photograph. The grass head was a lot less ordinary to me as a result. Also, its horizontally drooping angle out over the lake was not like its soldier straight counterparts along the shore. Just a touch of distinction.

Plants start to burst with seed, casting new generations to the wind. The late summer wildflowers engulf both the inside and out of old, rusty farm machinery standing in the fields.

Late Summer

Here is that same piece of equipment in late Spring. But it is still adorned with yellow and white. Just a changing of the guard.

Late Spring

The grasses are what fall is most known for, but look at these two images, one from late summer, and the other from late spring.  I bet you would have guessed them as being reversed, just by the change of lighting. The late summer image is shot much tighter in late morning, but it is the same marshy drainage area. The late spring image is shot in the afternoon. And wow, what a different feel from the one in bright light to the one in the sliver of light through the grasses.

September 14

June 3

Our temperatures change appreciably and abruptly as plants cope with wet springs, dry summers, usually wet falls and dramatically beautiful snow storms to keep them warm in winter and ready for next spring.

My Cooperative Dragonfly

I find the insects moving much slower now and not in a big hurry. The early morning, cool air makes them sluggish.

Another Amicable Fellow

Butterfly in the Morning Light

The butterfly above was feeding at eight in the morning at home. The one below was taken at the farm around 1 PM .

Monarch at the Farm

What says the end of summer to me is the boat pulled up on shore amongst the reeds and tall grasses. A shot taking in the enjoyment of the day and capturing the tranquility that sets in at the end of summer. Nobody is in a hurry or even around, and a peace seems to have graced the landscape.

Scene that Screams Late Summer with Twin Young Trees Glowing Orange, Barely Catching the Light at the Edge of the Shadows

Peace in muted tones or joviality in vibrant color, the end of summer has it all. It means something different to just about everyone. What it represents to me is taking in the whole landscape, sensing another season about to begin. It is not an individual flower or closeup of a critter, and shown by my grasses from two seasons, it is not so much that either. It is about all of it in the place it occurs. It is about the feeling and sense of place that speaks to the change.


My choice for the Gardening Gone Wild Picture This contest will be the rain-soaked Hosta because I think the image framed as such makes you see it differently, and that was a request for the contest. And I like the soft morning lighting as well. The colors of late summer have yet to arrive, but fall is on the way full of vibrancy and zest. Now that is a time for color here in Western New York.

Next week, don’t forget about Word for Wednesday, September 21. The word of the day in pictures is Illumination. With three meanings to the word, creativity is wide open, so join in the fun. And on September 23, We will have the Month in Tens 2 – 30 Days of September post a bit later to accommodate Word for Wednesday.

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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78 Responses to GGW Entry- End of Summer Thoughts

  1. One says:

    Love your photos. My favorites are the dragonflies and tomatoes.

    I’ve been thinking about Late Summer lately but haven’t found anything as nice…What do I know about Late Summer anyway? 🙂

    • You know a lot about Summer, just not an end. You have never ending summer don’t you? Enter some of the fruit you have growing. I bet the winner is fruit (grapes and wine) or veggies (fresh or canned) like in the magazine Organic Growing. The magazine has a contest too, and the ten finalists are shown.

      Many insects like bees and butterflies made the final along with a flower shot similar to your post on Illumination. That contest is not for the end of summer, but if it is any indication of what might be a finalist here, it could be bugs, macro blooms or veggies. I wanted to pick the lake shot, but thought that would not even get talked about. I tried to pick one worth a mention. It was the direction of seeing an object differently that made my decision for me. Most all my shots are seen for what they are.

      • One says:

        Thank you for the ideas. I’ll find something soon. Meanwhile your caption is being posted today. It didn’t cross my mind that the frog had been stepped on and I really like your imagination. 🙂 Btw, my notebook is acting up and I am having trouble visiting.

  2. Greg says:

    Nice story. Always enjoy the farm photos. I would love to have some or your tomatoes.

  3. Dee says:

    Your images in this late summer post are amazing. They make my heart sing. Gosh, the squash is so lovely. I can see why you were inspired. And, the picture postcard is splendid. I wish I were there. We got rain too yesterday. Thank God. I was starting to really worry.~~Dee

  4. Les says:

    Somehow, you have even managed to make a fly attractive.

  5. A simply stunning array of photography. My favorite is the monarch on arching solidago. With work like this, are you on Flickr.?

    • No, I never felt like Flickr was my thing. Too many pros there. I liked the Monarch at the farm too. They were more active there than at home. At home they are on the garden plants all night. I just have to get out there early enough to catch them.

  6. dona says:

    A lot of wonderful photos to choose from!
    Great late summer to you, Donna.

  7. Carolyn♥ says:

    Love your GGW choice! Beautiful! Your words, “changing of the guard” speaks to me. I often say that in relation to the changes in my garden, the blooms that fade away and the new ones that take their place. I’ve never entered a photo contest…but this theme “Late Summer Thoughts” sounds inviting….

    • I also relate the changing of the seasons to a symphony. It is so like that here from the first movement to the finale. You should enter the contest. You always have stunning photos and you live in such a picturesque place.

  8. Alistair says:

    Ah, I was pondering over your Black eyed Susan which is the name given to Thunbergia in the UK. Your pictures are just gorgeous. Summer has just drawn to an end here also, garden is still looking quite good at the moment and even the temperatures in the day time are matching those of our bleak Summer.

  9. Laurrie says:

    Melancholy and subdued, your photos catch me unprepared, as I am not ready for the end of summer yet. I especially like the picture postcard scene in front of the water.

  10. I can see why you’d choose the hosta, but my personal favorite is the second to last image, the water looks so placid, and the warm colors hint at fall’s return.

  11. Ginny says:

    I love the photo of the morning light coming through the trees and I agree that it is so hard to capture.
    Great choice for the GGW contest!

  12. Masha says:

    These are all such wonderful pictures. If they were mine I certainly wouldn’t know which one to enter :). Good luck, I hope you win.

  13. Beautiful Donna! Just Beautiful! I like how you referred to your plant blooms as “the changing of the guards” very clever and well put!

  14. Malinda says:

    How did you ever narrow down to a final choice? Your pictures are always so crisp and beautiful. My favs are the tomaotes (lucky girl), the second monarch picture, the close up the grass and bokeh, the dragonfly, the……

    • I have a feeling that produce is going to win the competition. I almost grabbed different colored pumpkins at the farm and made a vignette out of them setting up a shot in perfect lighting up against the barn wood, then I thought, why go through the work. I might do it for fun if I have some time. My entry is submitted so no changing there.

  15. Christina says:

    Your description of late summer is lovely, I wish it were happening here, but it still feels like high summer, especially from mid-morning to late afternoon. True early morning and evening the light is different and the temperatures are not so high. Your images of all the insects are amazing, I love the butterflies but the dragonflies show such incredible detail. Yo add to your list of up-coming meme, may I add mine – 22nd September Foliage in the garden, hope you see what you have in your garden. Christina

  16. NHGarden says:

    Fascinating post! I found the Sept/June comparison grass photos striking. Excellent!

  17. Every single one of your photos are outstanding! You are such a talented photographer and writer! Your choice for the contest is superb! I love the water droplets and the fly on the hosta. Such a great capture and composition. Best of luck! I hope you still have a few more summer days to enjoy!

  18. Donna says:

    Donna beautiful thoughts of late summer. The pictures are once again stunning. I must say the picture postcard image was also stunning but your choice is magnificent. I love the soft lighting as it shows the change of seasons….much luck I am hoping for you since I believe you are long overdue to win one of these GGW contests!!

    • I liked the lighting in the lake shots, but there was not ‘the seeing something different’ in those shots. Watch that this is the kind of image that wins. The instructions did not list scenes, but I can not imagine others not submitting them. Like I said, they say so much more seasonally.

  19. christine says:

    I definitely think your choice of Rain-Soaked Hosta is the best one – although I like the mood of the photo with the grapes – it “speaks” to me of late summer.

    • The grapes really do say fall and I would not be surprised if grapes on the vine is the winning photo by another blogger. Or grapes draped around a bottle of wine like in an advertising layout. It tells a story and that helps sell a product and an image. I was in advertising a long time ago, maybe I will do that next in my Niagara Falls Garden Magazine. It is always fun doing mock ads.

  20. Cathy says:

    Amazing photographs… I second the question… how do you narrow down the choices of what to include!!! Your pix are amazing. My favorites though, are the dragonflies. Unbelievable images!

    • Thank you. The dragonflies in this post were so cooperative compared the ones in the previous post on them. That day was almost 90° and there were about 100 that were on the move. The ones here were very few at less than five, but they did not move fast or erratic. I got to use a macro lens, not a telephoto.

      • Cathy says:

        Hubby has offered to get me a macro but whenever we’ve looked at them, I’ve been put off by the price. I do see one in my future (my birthday is in a few months and he keeps mentioning it.) Despite its limitations, the telephoto has been a boon for me — with it, I have seen things I’ve never seen before. Where we go canoeing, the dragonflies are spectacular… I’ve never had the correct lens with me, however, when we’ve been there! (You’d think I’d plan better LOL.) Oh, you SO inspire me!!!

  21. Cathy says:

    Donna, I scrolled back and read several other posts, but couldn’t comment on anything that was more than a couple of weeks old. I went back to the fabulous post you did on the dragonflies. OMG, they are breathtaking! Just wanted you to know that!

  22. Andrea says:

    I wont say more for the pics because you already know how much i like your photos, but i really like the single closed flower with dewdrops and the grasses. I also smiled at your conversation with One because we both have endless summers! Although in my case our summer during our dry season toasts our annuals and grasses, and sometimes even vulnerable trees.

    • You had me looking back because I could not remember one with dewdrops. I think you mean the hosta and it had just finished a hard rain and the sun just started to shine in the early morning. The thought of you too because you live where the sun almost always shines. Change of seasons must be very minimal.

  23. b-a-g says:

    Donna – I agree with your choice for the contest, but my favourite photo is the picture postcard. It reminds me of reading the Adventures of Tom Sawyer & Huckleberry Finn.

  24. Joy says:

    Donna girl your pictures are stunning and most of them are not only post card worthy but art print worthy ! I have had no luck with insects this year but I have caught great shots of that type of fly last year and it was amazing for detail too !
    Yes Autumn is in the Morning air for sure and slight colouring is happening .. I better be ready when the “full monty” starts ? haha .. Purslane and Diamond Frost euphorbia are my favourite annuals ! they are gorgeous so I keep taking pictures of them ? LOL

    • Flies are so common in my garden, but not usually on the hosta. I actually like shooting their photo because they are more wary than most other insects and very quick to fly away. We had frost in our area last night, but my cleomes are still fine. All my annuals take the cool weather pretty well. I really did like your planting. It was a good photo and a good combination of textures and color.

  25. Karen says:

    Every picture is wonderful; I went through them all very slowly, savoring them. So hard to pick a favorite, but the lake and little cabin photos are so peaceful and serene. Fall is definitely here, and though I’m a bit sad, I don’t know how we could keep up with the work for a full year. It is nice to live where there are four separate and distinct seasons.

    I could imagine staying overnight in the little cabin by the lake and having a small bonfire to warm up with. Great photographs, Donna, as always.

    • I like have the change of season too and always look forward to fall and winter. I like the rest from the garden, but always find such interesting things to photograph in winter. The little cabin is retired for the season I think. There is no fireplace or heat. Plus no foundation or insulated floor. They use it for summer only.

  26. Barbie says:

    What peace and tranquility in your garden. I LOVE the sunflowers! The red barn & the yellow faces of the sunflowers – wow!

  27. HolleyGarden says:

    Love that pic of the ray’s sun shining through the trees. It’s amazing how the light changes in the fall. And how much less of it there is every day. Your hosta pic is beautiful. Love the tiny raindroplets on it.

  28. Shyrlene says:

    Donna – your macro shots are incredible (and VERY “Flickr-worthy”), perfect award-winners for some stiff competition. I find myself going back to the lake shots though. They capture an innocence of days gone by or the magic of a secret place most have never found? Lovely!

    • I so like the lake photos. I said I was going to the farm because it says the end of summer better than my garden does. I have many late bloomers for fall, but the garden itself still reads summer with all the color. But the directions seem to want an image that makes you view it differently and all my farm photos really are what you see is what you get. My next post on Illumination has macro images that have that make you look twice kind of happening.

  29. Donna another beautiful post, Frances

  30. Kala says:

    Beautifully framed image of the monarch.

  31. Layanee says:

    Just beautiful. Love the capture of morning light.

  32. Lona says:

    Such gorgeous shots. I love the Spring to Autumn comparisons. Good luck in the contest.

  33. All of these are excellent photos for this season…most are serene. It must have been difficult for you to make a choice, but your choice is perfect! Good luck!

    • Thank you and it really is serene at the farm. You walk out of the dark woods to the brightly lit lake area. It is a wonderful place to roam around. Most people would be looking at the nursery trees, but me, I like all the wild areas best.

  34. Hanni says:

    Can you come and take photos of my garden? 🙂 they are all stunning – I love the one especially of your tomatoes! Thanks for sharing them all.

  35. GirlSprout says:

    Wow, I echo everyone else’s comments. How do you choose with so many breathtaking photos? I love the tomatoes and how they contrast with the basket they’re in and the bench. Good luck with the contest!

    • I won that basket this year. What a nice prize from my garden club. I walk around my tiny garden basket in hand filling it up with sweet and hot peppers and tomatoes. That is all that is left now, beans and peas bit the dust in the high heat. Oh, I forgot, I do have chives growing too. The farm has all kinds of produce. I almost picked some for a photo shoot. The vines were all brown and crispy, but the veggies looked good. I should have shot the corn tassels. I have to remember that for next week.

  36. Jennifer says:

    Such poignant thoughts on the passing summer season and beautiful pictures to go with them. The shot of the monarch on the purple phlox is a standout for me. The colors are just exquisite.

  37. tina says:

    Coming here is always such a feast for the eyes with your great photo captures of your area of New York. In this post you sound so melancholy and sometimes that is how I feel when the seasons change, but change they do and it is a good thing. Change is so wonderful in a garden.

  38. 7aces/Darla says:

    You photos are beautiful and I enjoyed your summary of them.

  39. Malinda says:

    I don’t know how you ever chose! I love the crisp colors of the hosta and visitor, as well as the framing of the photo. The close up shots reveal so much of what we tend to miss in our hurried days.

  40. Viewing your beautiful photos is so relaxing, just like taking a real “garden walk.”

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