A Gardening Year

The adventures and misadventures of an heirloom gardener

Monday, September 26, 2005

A is for Aster

Boy, getting old is no fun at all. Last week I did some lifting. 24 hours later, I was flat on my back in bed in excruciating pain. I know, lift with your legs, not your back but it was only computer monitors. They weren't that heavy when I was younger. For two days, I only got out of bed to feed the cat and, um, use the litterbox. Mine, not his. I was thrilled when I felt well enough on Friday morning to attend my first Master Gardener class. The County Extension Agent gave an excellent lecture on basic plant science. Unfortunately, said lecture was held outside in the vegetable garden. My back was not happy about standing for over two hours. Back to bed I went.

So I am very late posting pictures of my asters. They are actually past their prime now. When they were at their peak, inspired by my photography class, I decided to conduct an experiment. Asters are purple, a cool color, and according to what I learned in class, they are ideally photographed in morning light. I photographed them both in the morning and in the afternoon. Darn, the teacher was right. Judge for yourself:

Here they are in the morning, all luscious and cool. Don't you just want to sweep them up and bring them inside to arrange in a pretty vase?

And here they are in the afternoon, actually the previous afternoon, looking all tired and worn out. Pretty amazing, isn't it?

While we're on the subject of asters, I have a mystery plant that is very similar to an aster. It's a perennial, about 18" to 24" (45 cm to 61 cm) tall with tiny white flowers that look like asters. The foliage is also aster-like although much smaller and it blooms at the same time as my asters. I refer to them as "wild asters" even though all of the pictures of wild asters that I have seen have purple flowers. Maybe someone knows what this is?

Here's a close-up of the flowers:

I love this flower because it is so airy and delicate. It reminds me of baby's breath. It's also terribly invasive so I have to rip out a lot of it every spring. I leave it along the back of the house where nothing else is blooming now.


At 1:41 PM, Blogger Nancy & Jeff said...

You could have "bushy aster" or "small flowered white aster", but we think it is bushy aster. We have them all over our wildflower field.

Nancy and Jeff
Gardener and Yardener

At 5:28 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

could be an English aster. I have one and it looks like that

At 7:42 AM, Blogger Takoma Gardener said...

Very interesting post - both about photography and your mystery plant, which I've had pop up in my garden, too. And on photography, seems like shooting pictures of my garden lets me see the plants and the borders in a new way, which is great.

At 10:03 AM, Anonymous judith said...

I have wild asters I am trying to identify also and ironically, I have just come in from the garden after photographing a mystery plant (which I did buy) which looks similar to yours--I might return to the nursery to ask what it is. What do New England asters look like? PS I hope your back is better--back pain is the pits.

At 3:32 AM, Blogger OldRoses said...

Thanks everyone for your suggestions. I googled everything and the closest were the bushy asters. Judith, New England asters are purple and I believe the flowers are larger. I've never seen one in person, only photos, but I have one on order for fall planting. Expensive little devils! My back is better, thank you. It was just muscle pain because I am so old and so out of shape. I may have to break down and start going to the gym again.


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