Thursday, October 9, 2014

Native Asters

 Every year I look forward to the wild asters.  This soft pale lavender variety starts blooming at the end of August. It's a very subtle shade of purple that reminds me of snow shadows.  The weak stems often flop from wind and rain, but that just creates a beautiful cascading mass of flowers.

 The larger darker purple aster blooms in September.  It has several tall stiff stems per plant.  I counted 18 stems on this plant.  Growing by the side of the road, they usually only have a few stems but, when fertilized, they become quite bushy.

 A little later yet, this pure white and bright yellow-centered variety opens up. It is similar to the early pale lavender one in form and also falls over.

 This fun little aster has stiff woody stems and also has a pale lavender colouring. The centers of the flowers range from yellow to purpley pink, and the petals are most irregular popping out at weird angles and spacings.
 A typical plant of the woody aster. They bloom in time with the dark purple asters.

 Finally at the end of September, the bright magenta New England aster flowers.  It is not native to our region, but they are a native plant a bit further south and they seem identical to the dark purple asters except in colour.  I grew these plants from seed and they have survived a few winters now.
All the asters are wonderful for all kinds of bees and wasps, and, on a sunny day, are just abuzz with insects.

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