Sunday, September 17, 2017
There are numerous signs that the season is about to change. Fallen leaves from the wild cherry trees that line our lane are among the earliest signals. Now lawn maple trees are coating the green with the brown of dropped leaves. A more pleasant sign is the flowers of the asters. Purple ray flowers with golden centers make the New England Aster a personal favorite. It is a common roadside weed here but that fact did not prevent me from bringing it into the gardens. Wild specimens are frequently limited to a single stalk or two but given care and fertile ground, monsters follow.
A perfect natural color combination places Goldenrod and New England Asters together. In this instance both are growing as weeds that have taken over a planting bed. These are slated for removal soon as we try to take back tended ground.
This is a natural color mutation in the New England Aster. These line the roadside ditches on the route we drive several times each week. We were tempted to steal a plant or two but that goes against our standards of behavior. After a long wait, one of these plants simply appeared here. Patience and divisions have increased our holdings to five substantial clumps.
The proper name of this wild plant is not known to us. It grows in several different locations here. Placed along the edge of an abandoned pasture in full sunlight, this plant towers over me. Located in the nearly full shade alongside of the lane severely limits the size of this plant. If we gather together the various asters that grow here we can expect runaway growth. As problems go that is not a bad one to have.
This light blue variety's name eludes us. It also grows at the edge of our shady lane.
This photo clearly shows the down side of having goldenrod and asters planted together. Goldenrod simply overruns an area quickly becoming the only plant growing there. One season of repeated mowing eliminated the goldenrod. There are places where it grows in the gardens that makes digging it out without damaging the desired plants impossible We will try repeated total pruning to eliminate it there. Here on the sloped ground adjacent to the fields it simply grows unchecked.
We found the air filled with bright new Monarch Butterflies today. These did not display the behavior typical of migrating butterflies so we feel that they were recently formed here. The goldenrod serves as their major food source since many of the other flowers are no longer in bloom. For the benefit of the Monarchs, we encourage milkweed growth and tolerate the invasive nature of the goldenrod.