Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Aster tataricus

This is a favorite here, although sensible people probably wonder what such a tall plant is doing in such a small garden. I knew about this plant from books long before I saw a living example. It is often described as November blooming, and I'm not one to resist a tall, late-blooming, blue aster.

One of my neighborhood friends started to keep bees this year. Her hives are at most two long blocks away, yet I almost never see bees in my garden. Earlier this year when Passiflora incarnata was blooming freely, the flowers were visited by lots of bumble bees. But I never saw a honey bee. Today, hardy ageratum, Aster oblongifolius (aka Symphiotrichum oblongifolium)  and Aster tataricus are in bloom - and there is not a bee in sight. When the clover bloomed during the summer, there were no bees - but the rabbits sure noticed.

Years ago I saw a huge mass of Aster tataricus in a country garden. It was somewhere out in the Virginia countryside, far south of Washington. The plants filled an area maybe twenty feet or more in diameter, and they were in full bloom when I saw them. That's one reason I keep a plant or two in my garden now:  to remind me of that day and that stunning planting of asters. 

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