GARDENING GODDESS: Signs of autumn in the garden


Washington Gardener Magazine ( asked our readers to tell us when they know it is autumn in their gardens. Here is what a few of them said:

“I knew it is autumn in my garden when the air is getting cooler, leaves are falling, tomato and pepper plants are winding down, brassicas and peas are beginning their journey into winter, and the garlic cloves are beckoning to be planted!”
~ Roshani Kothari , WDC

“I knew it is autumn in my garden when I see the leaves slowly turn to red on my crimson maple.”
~ Joyce Crider, Landisville,PA

“I knew it is autumn in my garden when certain plants whisper in my ear….it’s my time now. The Sedum starts showing color, my roses start forming vivid orange hips, leaves start crunching under foot and the sweet autumn clematis fragrance fills the air in the crispness of the early morning. The hydrangea blooms that were once white as snow are now bronze, the azalea buds are more visible as the lighting of the day and the rudbeckia are in their full glory – a golden swath of color ushering the cooler temps. I listen and watch as the garden tells me that early autumn is here.  It’s time for pumpkin patch’s and fall getaway’s for sure!!”
~ Teri Speight, District Heights, MD


Photo and lead photo by Kathy Jentz.

“I know it’s autumn in my garden when the gold finches are constantly hanging out enjoying the remains of the purple coneflower.”
~ Patty Hankins, Bethesda MD

“I knew it was autumn in my garden when the crape myrtle stopped blooming.”
~ Mavis Burdett, Silver Spring, MD

“Flowering plants seem to put on a last burst of growth as they feel winter coming on.”
~ Sherry Marshall, Silver Spring, MD

“I know it is autumn in the garden when I see the the denuded leaves of bolting parsley plants.  Looking a little further, I will find the caterpillars of black swallowtail butterflies munching away in preparation to overwinter in the pupa form.”
~ Marjorie Smith, Fairfax, VA


Photo by Bill Brown.

“I know it is autumn in my garden when my hostas yellow and wilt.”
~ Madeline Caliendo, Takoma, WDC

“I know it is autumn in my garden when the colors of the flowers become more vibrant.”
~ Mary Finelli, Silver Spring, MD

“I know it is autumn in my garden when:

  • the pink leaves of my tri-colored beech (but not the green eaves) mute their colors and are edged with rusty crinkles
  • the butterflies depart (not that I had all that many this year)
  • blooms on asters begin to predominate the garden blooms
  • I’m pulling up the bulk of my summer squash plants and focusing more on the kale and chard winter crops
  • I begin to see the “bones” of my garden again since vines aren’t covering up the ground
  • my neighbor’s oak tree drops acorns
  • I begin to spending more time hauling leaves than grasses to my compost piles.”

~ Annie Shaw, Greenbelt MD


Photo by Bill Brown.

“I know it is autumn when I hear the squirrels munching on the berries of the dogwood tree outside my back door.”
~ Kathy May, Kensington, MD

How do YOU know it is autumn in your garden?

About the Author

Kathy Jentz
Kathy Jentz is editor of Washington Gardener magazine and is a long-time DC area gardening enthusiast. Washington Gardener is all about gardening where you live. She can be reached at @WDCgardener on Twitter and welcomes your local DMV gardening questions.