A Galaxy of Asters
Aster means “star”, which seems appropriate. They look like the heavenly stars that we see from an earthbound perspective. And so they are at their best when blooming in great masses, a Milky Way of asters.
Thank goodness for Short’s Aster (Symphyotrichum shortii). Because this year it is the only Aster species blooming with star-like multitudes in our garden. The other asters are blooming, but they’re not blooming enough.
One reason, I think, is that August and September this year have been too hot and too dry. This has caused a number of plants, not just Asters, to bloom early and briefly.
This may have impacted the New England Aster (S. novae-angliae), which usually has great masses of bloom.
Usually New England Asters open like this: pop … pop … pop … KABOOM! This year it’s more like pop … pop … pop … pop-pop … sigh.
Aromatic Aster (S. oblongifolius) is another underperformer this year. Not sure why, since it’s supposed to like hot, dry weather.
In some cases I may have gone overboard with the cutting back in May/June. This is particularly the case with some Crooked-Stem Aster (S. prenanthoides by the back porch. I cut it back so hard that it just faded away. Maybe its feelings were hurt.
I used to have LOTS of Calico Aster (S. lateriflorum). In the Sidewalk Border it grew to the size of small shrubs, and it self-sowed, as they say, freely. So I tore it all out. The bees did love the tiny flowers, though.
Lately I’ve been tentatively allowing it to come back here and there. In the shady Back Garden, I’ve noticed, it is not nearly so rampant.
One Aster that is still on probation is White Woodland Aster (Eurybia divaritica). It really hasn’t started to spread much. It’s pleasant, but not exactly thrilling.
How have your Asters performed this year?