Thursday, October 07, 2010

Asters and the Butterfly Effect

With pretty much everything else winding down, purple Asters are suddenly the name of my game.

The latest of my autumn perennials, they're happily blooming in every nook and cranny. Though, I can't take a whole lotta credit for that. Seeing as how they're weeds.

Well, they started out as weeds. But, I'm an equal opportunity flower employer. You don't need a fancy resume to get me all excited. Once I discovered how pretty the wild Asters were, I eagerly promoted them to flower status.

And, I help them along a bit. Me and my 250 foot hose. :) Which I schlep up the hill to the undeveloped portion of our backyard where I play favorites with the wildflowers. If I happen to like the looks of you, you'll get a drink. And, if I don't, then you're on your own. It's working. Little Asters are taking over and that fits neatly into my grand plan ~ of not actually having to pay for any of the flowers growing back there.

What's so great about Asters?

Well, if you're dreading the onslaught of winter, they're just about the latest 'Daisy' to bloom in the garden.

And, they're so easy. Even if you break down and actually buy the hybridized perennials, all you need is sun. They grow in dry, wet, clay, sandy soils, too cold to imagine Canada and too hot to handle New Mexico.

Plus, they're good eats for our favorite hobos... traveling bees, butterflies, and birds. The Migrating Monarch Magazine recently reviewed them as the 'perfect flower dinner for a long road trip.'

The Butterfly Effect:  
* I found this to be the most enjoyable story! Perhaps you will, too... 

"I asked the waiter standing outside the door of the steakhouse to find a corner table for me, my colleague and the butterfly."

"Right away, sir," responded the waiter, acting as if there was nothing extraordinary about a butterfly dropping in at a steakhouse... Read the rest of this marvelous story.

21 comments:

Christine B. said...

This is just rubbing salt in my wound. Asters hate me and my yard, apparently. For several years now, 'Alma Potschke' has gotten to the flower bud stage only to be zapped by the killing frosts/freezes we have here. I'll just have to keep dreaming, I guess.

Christine in Alaska

Hocking Hills Gardener said...

Hi Kate. What beautiful pictures of the Asters. My spindly little blooms are about gone now. Do you pinch them back like we do mums? Mine are not pretty mounds like your pretties but always laying on the ground.

Wendy said...

ha ha - hobos.

I really should get some asters too. It's nice to have a perfect splash of fresh color while everything is winding down.

Kate said...

Hi, Christine;
Hmmm... well a lot of the hybrids are pretty tender for their zones but it seems to me the New York Aster would kind of like living in Siberia with you. :D

Kate said...

Hi, Lona;
I guess you could say that I brutally pinch them back. :))) I weed wack 'em!

Kate said...

Go for it, Wendy.
Nice cheery color - amidst all the brown flowers who earlier kicked the bucket.

Melospiza said...

Asters make me Sad--they remind me that frost is coming, and soon my garden will a collection of blackened stems.

Snowcatcher said...

Okay, now I know what I can plant in my bare garden!

The birds have been munhing on our plague of grasshoppers ever since we cut down the corn stalks (which bunnies, 'coons and grasshoppers had stripped) and the giant sunflowers (which mice and grasshoppers had nearly stripped). I owe the birds a big favor, so I'm going to see if I can get some lovely purple asters like yours and make hay with this fabulous Indian summer!

Amy said...

They look great! My fall asters just started blooming this morning, and I hope they look as cheerful as yours soon.

Kate said...

Chin up, Melospiza;
Enjoy those asters while you can! Winter is inevitable my dear Colorado girl.

Kate said...

Go for the wild ones, Snowcatcher!
If the grow well here, I'm sure they'd love it at your place, too. :)

Kate said...

Thx, Amy!
They certainly are a cheery little flower. I just love their bright purple color.

sweetbay said...

The asters are beautiful. I always love the time of year when they bloom.

Great story about the butterfly!!

Kate said...

Glad you enjoyed the story, Sweetbay. ;)

Li'l Ned said...

I LOVED the butterfly story. Thanks for sharing it.

I have accidentally created a nice little fall border amidst a bunch of earlier-blooming perennials. One aster just kick ass(ter) every year.

I have adopted a wild aster that showed up in my garden, but it is a faint, pale imitation of yours. Any idea of the species? I know there are other wild asters around here, I see them up in the mountains in late summer. I guess I'll have to, er, liberate some seeds next time I get up above 5000'. About the only other things still blooming in my native plant garden are skimpy 2nd blooming penstemons and good old coneflower. Even the rabbitbrush has pretty much faded.

Monica the Garden Faerie said...

How, I've never noticed that many butterflies on my asters! Corner Gardener Sue also has a post on them. I did just get five plus, so next year should be nice!

Liz said...

I love the wild purple asters that pop up around here. I'm glad you have embraced them, and not thrown them out like weeds.

Toni-Shaklee Distributor said...

beautiful!

Dee @ Red Dirt Ramblings said...

I loved this story. I too enjoy asters. They are the mainstay of my fall garden. Thanks for visiting. You're right. It's been too long.~~Dee

Rose said...

I've been thankful for asters, too, in recent weeks, Kate, since not much else is blooming in my butterfly garden. I started with just one native aster planted last year, and they really multiplied this year, but I'm going to call them wildflowers, not weeds:)

Loved the story!

jan said...

Hi, Kate! I am trying to catch up from being in a crazed state of home moving! I love the asters! I took a clump to our rustic 'shack-teau' at the lake, years ago and every year the birds helped me spread them. I love watching them come alive with the bees and butterflys!