Day 224: waiting for asters

Daily details from the garden to bring you inspiration throughout the year


You have to feel a bit sorry for asters. Everyone waits about for the flowers, as if that’s the be-all-and-end-all of the matter, paying scant attention to the rest of the plant – the scaffolding, if you like, for the floral display. I’m as guilty as the next person, but there’s something rather wonderful about the dark stems and willow-like leaves of, for example, Symphyotrichum turbinellum – a poise and grace, not to mention the fantastic vigour and passion for growth displayed from midsummer – that surely would have us growing them for their vegetative parts alone (even if Monty’s on record as thinking they’re “boring”). Flowers are all very well, but they are (necessarily) rather distracting. It’s at this point that I remember the dreaded mildew, and that careful selection is key with these plants. Thankfully, the pictured variety rarely falls victim to fungal attack, and good husbandry plays a significant part in reducing the risk with all asters.

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Hello! I’m Andrew, gardener, writer, photographer, and owner of a too-loud laugh, and I’m so pleased you’ve found your way to Gardens, weeds & words. You can read a more in-depth profile of me on the About page, or by clicking this image.