Get off Your Aster! This week, GardenWise continues to look forward with our five favorite Garden Delights, in no particular order, for Fall 2011. Last week we heated things up with the Dwarf Burning Bush, and earlier marveled at both the Toad Lily and Pink Muhly Grass. Today is day four of our series, and we’re showing off Asters!
There are so many asters to choose from . . . the word aster has a Greek origin and means “star”, which is what the flowers resemble. I planted the Monch Aster in my garden last year, but for this post, I’m going with the New England Aster (Symphyotrichum novae-angliae) for its striking and contrasting colors of purple and orange-yellow. These Asters have hairy stems and leaves, and they possess an abundance of purple rays set against a beautiful deep yellow-orange center.
Each time you see this flower you may find yourself staring. Go ahead, staring is okay, even encouraged. You may even want to get close enough to count the flower’s purple rays, which can number anywhere between 50-100. The average height of this Aster is between 3-4 feet (some are known to grow as tall 5-6 feet,) and they attract butterflies and both honey and bumble bees. This Aster is non-invasive, prefers full sun (it can survive with some morning shade,) and it blooms from August – October.