With a few weeks left of summer, the gardens are changing so much! Wait until you see how my zone 6a garden NJ is changing for fall.

It feels like summer just flew by, am I right?

Labor Day weekend has come and gone.

The kids are back in school.

And my gardens are showing signs that fall is coming.

Wait until you see how much it’s changing since last month!

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Welcome to My Zone 6a Garden NJ

It was so hot and humid in August, I did not work in the gardens all that much.

Not only was it super hot, but it was rainy and very buggy out.

So it was not easy to work much outside.

zinnia in my zone 6a Garden NJ

Then all of a sudden, the weather chilled.

There is a crisp in the air.

And with the arrival of fall, it’s time to get back in the garden, clean out fading summer blooms and plant fall flowers.

How my garden nj is changing for fall

How the Front Yard Gardens are Changing to Fall

Although it still looks like summer in the gardens, the blooms are really changing.

The echinacea and bee balm are totally done.

I like to leave the dried flower heads for the birds until I get tired of looking at them.

It’s about that time now, so I’ll be cutting them all back this week to neaten up the beds.

how to save money at the garden nursery

Looking back at what I planted in spring, I’m really happy I found these yellow and orange dahlias.

I usually gravitate to pinks, but the nursery didn’t have any, so I went with this pretty yellow and orange variety.

Aren’t they beautiful?

Not only were they perfect for spring and summer, but they kept the color going throughout the changing seasons.

And it’s also one of my favorite money-saving strategies for the garden!

For more budget-gardening tips, CLICK HERE.

garden nj in fall with dahlias

The tall phlox still looks beautiful, but is showing signs of powdery mildew on foliage.

And the zinnias I grew from seed are still blooming.

They are starting to suffer from powdery mildew too though, which typically occurs this time of year as the nights are cool and the days are warm.

Not all are in terrible shape, but a few need to be cut back to clean up the borders.

front yard cottage garden NJ

With the decline of some flowers, other blooms are continuing to flourish.

My rudebekia and Summerific Hibisucus are still going strong.

Seriously, if you haven’t planted Summerific Hibiscus yet, you want these varieties in your garden.

Otherwise known as rose mallow, these blooms are like 8-10″ round and make a total statement in the garden.

They are not very deer resistant though so make sure you protect them with these strategies.

hardy hibiscus flower

I had a problem with something chewing the leaves this year on this variety this year.

Although I treated them for slugs with THIS all summer long, it still had an issue.

Which is unfortunate, because the foliage is just as pretty as the flowers!

I need to research what ate those leaves. If you have experience with something other than slugs eating your rose mallow, please let me know in the comments below.

summerific hibiscus evening rose in garden nj
Summerific Hibiscus, ‘Evening Rose’

One of my favorite absolute favorites is this one, ‘Evening Rose’.

Whatever was chewing my plants, did not attack this variety like the other one above.

garden nj with zinnias

One of my favorite zinnias that I started from seed indoors was this ‘Queen Lime Orange.

Isn’t it gorgeous?

Most of them still seem to be doing pretty well.

And the color looks great while the garden transitions to fall.

garden nj in fall

As you may already know, Sedum ‘Autumn Joy’ is one of my favorite perennials.

And they are starting to put on their beautiful show.

The chartreuse flower heads are starting to bloom and flower with this pretty shade of pink.

But wait until the season progresses!

sedum autumn joy in garden nj

To me it is a four-season plant that does SO MUCH in the garden.

It’s super easy to propagate and very easy to care for.

You can learn more about them in the video below.

YouTube video

I have this perennial in almost every one of my garden borders because I divide them yearly.

The mother plant was here when my husband and I first moved in over 23 years ago.

Isn’t that amazing?

sedum autumn joy garden nj

How My Woodland Garden in NJ is Changing to Fall

The side yard woodland garden is pretty easy-care.

It’s full of ferns, hostas and cranesbill that have completely taken over the bed.

Which make it so much easier to care for because weeds don’t see the light of day here.

Notice how the cranesbill’s foliage is starting to turn.

Midsummer Garden Tour

Also in this bed are Joe Pye Weed and an oak leaf hydrangea.

Joe Pye is almost done blooming for the season.

It was covered in butterflies for a while!

There were lots of monarchs and swallowtails this summer.

The oak leaf hydrangea just finished blooming but the real show begins as the foliage turns to a crimson red and deep burgundy in fall.

Oak Leaf Hydrangea

My hydrangea paniculata planted on the front corner of the house next to the woodland garden is blooming quite beautifully right now.

I really love the arching branches on this one.

Not to mention, it’s super easy to care for.

I cut it back hard in early spring and then let it do its thing.

For more information on how to care for different hydrangea varieties, CLICK HERE.

Woodland Garden in NJ in Late Summer

But you can see just how much the garden is dying back from this angle too.

The moonbeam coreopsis is almost done blooming as the foliage is turning a silvery gray.

All are signs that it’s almost closing time here in my zone 6a NJ garden.

zinnias in my garden nj

How the Well Garden is Transitioning to Fall

While I’m overall happy with this garden, it needs a little work this fall.

A few plants are a little overgrown and I stuffed a bunch of zinnias in here that I had little room for elsewhere.

I need to widen the side of the bed that holds my zebra grass.

But it still looks really beautiful!

garden nj in fall

The callicarpa aka beautyberry is starting to get their purple berries.

This ornamental shrub is one of my absolute favorites and is a must-have for the fall garden.

It grows about 4-6′ tall and wide.

And the foliage color is just as beautiful as the berries in fall.

phlox and limelight hydrangea flowers

My limelight hydrangea and tall phlox are still blooming like crazy too!

I really love this combination.

garden nj in fall with zinnias

And going back to the zinnias I planted in here, I’m glad I stuffed them in.

Since I wasn’t sure how they’d grow, I didn’t plant many other spring annuals here.

So they’ve really kept this garden looking colorful all summer long!

Not to mention the many flower arrangements I had all over my house from the number of zinnia plants I grew from seed this year.

I will plant them again in here next year but now that I’ve seen how they grow, I’ll plant them a bit differently in the border.

garden nj in late summer

And finally, my David Austin Roses did really well in this garden all season long.

I don’t have a lot of blooms at the moment because they are in a lull, but the plants are filling in nicely and look really healthy.

I planted them in spring 2020 and I can’t wait to see what they do next year.

garden NJ in fall

How the Backyard Gardens are Changing to Fall

While the foliage on my hostas are still going strong, the colors are definitely changing in the backyard gardens.

In this section of my border, the butterfly bush is almost done blooming and the Joe Pye Weed blooms are starting to fade.

The pollinators are still loving them though, so my garden is still keeping them pretty happy.

garden nj shade garden

My endless summer hydrangeas have changed so much!

Do you remember how blue they were a few weeks ago?

CLICK HERE to see.

endless summer hydrangea in garden nj

I’ve been cutting them all summer long to make arrangements on my outdoor dining table and kept the blooms from wilting using THIS method.

Now that the flowers are in this vintage phase, it’s a great time to cut them to dry indoors for decorating or DIY projects.

HERE is the easiest way to dry a hydrangea.

garden nj in the backyard in late summer

The Vegetable Garden

The vegetable and herb garden has been producing like crazy this year.

I really loved my new raised garden beds and highly recommend them if you are in the market.

My plants grew really well in them all season long and aside from all the rain we had, I like that they water the roots from the bottom with the self-watering system.

freezing tomatoes

And because the harvest was so great, I made lots of great dishes using fresh veggies and herbs from the garden.

Here’s a few of my favorites from this summer

My basil, tomatoes, and cucumbers probably had the best year.

And I grew more tomatoes than we could actually consume.

To preserve the harvest, I froze them so we can use them in dishes year-round.

CLICK HERE to learn how to freeze tomatoes.

Herb garden in NJ late summer

The Cut Flower Garden

My favorite part of the gardens this year has been the cutting garden.

It still looks so beautiful!

But some of the flowers are dying back and the fall flowers are starting to take over.

Cut flower Garden nj in late summer

My ornamental grass has its beautiful fronds now.

And sedum autumn joy adds so much color and texture to the border.

My cosmos, sunflowers, and zinnias have seen better days.

I already started pulling a few out.

cut flower garden in nj in late summer

About half of the zinnias still look pretty good, but some of the others are suffering from powdery mildew.

The weather hasn’t been ideal for them here now that we are moving into fall.

So I’ll be pulling the ones that are not looking so hot later this week.

I’m hoping to get a few more cuts from the ones that are still looking beautiful.


My summer vibes collection planter from Lowes and Costa Farms is still looking amazing.

How gorgeous is that Celosia?

To see the cut flower garden in action, watch the video below.

I chat all about the changes happening right now and give you an in-depth tour of all the plants.

Including the dahlias.

Ah, the dahlias!

YouTube video

The Dahlias in My Backyard Cottage Garden

The real show-stopper right now in this garden is the dahlias.

Sadly a few still haven’t bloomed yet because the groundhog ate them to nubs.

But they do have buds on them, so there’s still hope.

I chat about each of these dahlia varieties in the video above, but here’s a closeup of some of the blooms.

Dahlia 'Jowey Winnie'
Dahlia ‘Jowey Winnie’

This one is one of my favorites.

It’s called Dahlia ‘Jowey Winnie’

Doesn’t it look like it came out of a Dr Seuss story?

I love the gorgeous colors and those petals are just exquisite!

dahlia thomas edison
Dahlia ‘Thomas Edison’

Dahlia ‘Thomas Edison’ is so bright, big and beautful!

The petals are so fluffy.

And I absolutely love this gorgeous color, don’t you?

Dahlia 'Penhill Watermelon'
Dahlia ‘Penhill Watermelon’

The blooms on this Dahlia ‘Penhill Watermelon’ are HUGE!

This one needs really good staking.

I’ve had to re-stake it a few times now.

But look at how gorgeous that flower is!

From the shape of the petals to the beautiful bright colors, this one is a really beauty.

dahlia eveline
Dahlia ‘Eveline’

Dahlia ‘Eveline’ is a real showstopper.

The blooms are not as big as some of the other varieties I’m growing, but I love the creamy white with light hues of yellow and touches of purple.

They are just gorgeous and look beautiful in arrangements.

Dahlia Tropical
Dahlia ‘Tropical’

Dahlia ‘Tropical’ is a fun one.

The blooms aren’t super huge either but it blooms profusely.

So there are lots to cut!

It’s bright and beautiful – I’m a huge fan.

dinner plate dahlia
Dinner plate Dahlia

I also grew a few dinner plate dahlias that are doing really well.

The blooms are really big and beautiful.

So a total win in my book.

Last year, I was in love with Cafe Au Lait.

I have them in this garden too, but the groundhog got to them early in the season so they are taking a bit longer to bloom.

There are buds on them, so the flowers are coming!

fall garden - what to plant

My Favorite Garden Supplies

Need garden supplies?


garden nj in fall 2021

Come See What’s Happening in My Friends’ Gardens

I love to drop by and see what’s growing in my friends’ gardens across the nation.

Let’s pop in and see what’s happening in their gardens.

My good friend Kim from Shiplap and Shells shared some cutting garden mistakes and how she fixed them in her pacific northwest garden.

cosmos in cut flower garden
Photo by Shiplap and Shells

If you are growing a cut flower garden, you want to check these out!

My good friend Mary from Life at Bella Terra shares her September garden guide with some tips from gardening at her beautiful home in Arizona.

life at bella terra
Photo by Life at Bella Terra

And my good friend Chas from Chas Crazy Creations has been harvesting lots of veggies from her garden and chats about how her garden grew during the season.

fresh vegetables from seasonal garden
Photo by Chas Crazy Creations

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late summer garden flowers
late summer garden design ideas

Thank you so much for following along.

Enjoy a beautiful day! xo

Stacy Ling

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  1. Stacy,
    I added Autumn Joy because you suggested it last fall. I’ve enjoyed watching it all summer. I can’t wait to get home and see what it’s looking like now.

    1. I can’t wait to see either! I know you are a little further ahead than we are up north. It’s truly one of my faves! xo

  2. Stacy, your garden is so gorgeous! I love how some of the plants are transitioning to fall. Our mountain cabin is in 6b so I am hoping I can learn about your plants for a new garden I hope to design next year. I love hostas, hydrangeas and dahlias but we cannot grow them in Phoenix. Just love seeing what you do in your beautiful space! Thank you for sharing.

    1. Thanks so much Mary! I can’t wait to see what you do! I want to do more at our VT cabin but need to do a lot of clean up first! xo

  3. Wow, I’m always so amazed by your awesome gardens. I’m envious of your longer growing season too. Looks fantastic, and thanks for sharing.

    1. Thank you so much Chas! I love seeing how things grow differently around the country! Thanks for organizing it all! xo

  4. I am so in love with your garden in the summer, but even more so now when it is transitioning to fall. The colors are so incredible. I always think of you when I look at my sedum autumn joy. I’ve never met anyone that loves this plant as much as I do.

    1. It’s the most underrated plant right? I never realized how amazing it was until I started blogging and taking photos of the gardens throughout the season. xo

  5. Stacey!!

    I loved going through your garden with you! Autumn Joy is one of my FAVORITE Fall blooms too! I only have 2 but they truly bring me so much joy! I wanted to try Daliahs this year, but the year got away from me so I suppose “there’s always next year!” haha I loved your Eveline variety!!! Thanks for all the garden beauty!!!

  6. Pingback: September Garden Guide | Life at Bella Terra