Sunday, September 21, 2014
It should come as no surprise to anyone that a plant with the natural color variation and hardiness of native asters would be the focus of plant hybridizers attention. October Skies was one of our early mail order variations of an aster. What has grown from the tiny scrap of a plant that the USPS delivered here continues to amaze us. This single plant manages enough growth to close off the opening in the stone wall. Next Spring we really need to consider dividing this plant.
Henry W. Art raises the question of why plant garden variety asters when so many color variations grow in the wild. We certainly understand the validity of his question and will continue to plant both. The compact rounded form of October Skies is a real plus. The pictured plant was not pinched back. This is the natural form of this variety. Becky managed to include a Sulphur butterfly with its wings partially open in the photo. Usually this butterfly stands upon the flowers with its wings closed.
September Ruby has finally managed to open some flowers. Asters close their flowers at night and in response to overcast skies. Intense pink ray flowers are the obvious appeal of this variety. No new growth has appeared at the base of this plant so we continue to be limited to a few flowering stalks. Perhaps next year will bring us an expanding plant.
Vibrant Dome is our last aster, either wild or garden, to bloom. Some years it never manages to open flowers before frost ends them for the season. This variety also presents a rounded flower studded appearance without any assistance from the gardener. Plants that can take care of their own presentation are really appreciated by the overbooked staff here.
There are other garden asters that we have either lost or were unable to buy. Alma Potschke is a hot pink variety that was sold out when we tried to purchase it. The unusual name and the bright color made this a must have plant. Two low varieties, Black Knight and Dream of Beauty, were both lost to invading quack grass. The speed with which this weed retakes garden ground is unbelievable. We must establish a bark mulch moat between the pasture grass and the garden beds in our campaign to reclaim our garden. Every scrap of white rhizome must be cleared away or this weed will win again. Regardless of how hard we work, this weed will retake our garden within two short years following our departure. For now, we will focus on all the dazzling color on display here.