Sunday, September 15, 2013

So long, summer. Hello, fall.

Not that I'm exactly happy about it being fall. I'm sorry summer is over, and there is so much to do in the garden right now that I don't know whether to go out and work like a mad fiend or become a hibernating animal. Almost as bad as spring fever! Still, there are compensations.

One of the best is the Asters. I know they are not really called 'aster' any more - most have been re-classified into Symphyotrichum, Oclemena, Eurybia and Doellingeria - but we can get away with using the name in its friendlier, gardeners',  fashion. The New England Asters, in particular, are at their superb best right now. I just took a jog around the garden and photographed some.

Photographing them is a matter of taking one picture, then seeing a better one, then another better one, then one even better, then..... then you had better calm down because every stem has its bees, wasps and hover flies, and you don't want to get them all upset!

My pure white New England Aster was swarming with bees.

I found this aster growing in a pile of road scrapings a few years ago. I figured the pile was due to be moved to some sort of dump, so I felt no guilt in winkling out a small piece. It has done well, having dozens of stems this year, and next year I'll have some to share. Notice that even the stems lack any kind of pink or blue pigment. In all the others the stems are reddish.

Another one I lucked into, this time growing under a friend's fence inches away from his hungry sheep, has pale purple petals that fade to white. It too is getting large and ready to divide.

Still in scavenging mode, I found a very pale pink this year, I won't say where. If the tiny piece I dug out grows, I'll share when there is enough.


 The basic New England Aster, the one found in every ditch and every neglected field, providing food for so many insects, seems to mainly come in a dark pink/rose colour and a darker, bluer purple.

There is a lot of variation in the petals, too. Most are flat (strap-like, the botanists say), but some are quilled and many are twisted and give a charming shaggy effect.

Just so you don't think I've cheated on the colours, here is a shot of a small piece of my Hillside Garden showing both the pinkish and the bluish Asters.

Don't admire the Rudbeckia behind them too much. That is R. fulgida 'Goldsturm' and it is not one of the compensations of autumn. Even the bees don't care for it, that should tell you something. Another digging session..... just as soon as I finish this (yawn....) nap.....

1 comment:

  1. Such lovely photos of your asters and bees. How lucky to be able to bring bits home with you! Asters are such important flowers for the bees, although bees like my Rudbeckia Goldsturm too.