Now let's talk about the ex-asters at C and L!
If you had been here today, you would have seen the ex-asters dancing in the breeze while Bumble Bees flew from flower to flower in their mad dash to gather as much pollen as possible before the cold weather arrives.
Butterflies, Hover flies, bee mimics and even a Green Metallic bee or two were noshing on the pollen and nectar delights.
I move them around, I scatter seeds, I let the wind carry the fluffy seed head wherever it takes them and I add new species that make sense for this garden. By September Symphyotrichum shortii, S cordifolium, Eurybia divaricata, S lateriflorum and S ericoides var. ericoides, S novae-angliae, S praealtum~Miss Bessie, S oblongifolius, S patens and S priceae have spilled into the paths, crept into the wildflower beds and cozied up to the chairs and benches all over Clay and Limestone creating my dancing blue cloud and a buffet for pollinators.
The ex-asters in my garden are all endemic to Middle Tennessee and grow and thrive in the shallow clay soil and semi-shady to almost full sun conditions of my Zone7 garden (formerly Zone6b). Symphyotrichum are found all over North America and there are many that will grow in your garden. For information and help in identifying flowers you see growing in natural areas go to Image Gallery provided by the US Dept of Agriculture. Check with your state native plant society for recommendations on where to purchase some hard to find beauties.
Trust me, they are worth the search~
Before long you'll have little ex-asters everywhere, too.
*The Bumble Bees, honeybees, Miner bees, and large Leaf-Cutting bees (long-tongued bees), bee flies, butterflies, and skippers that visit the flowers for nectar and pollen are essential for cross pollination or all those fluffy seeds would be infertile. So never, ever, ever, ever use pesticides, if you want pollinators to pollinate your ex-asters and other plants!
Gail Eichelberger is a gardener and therapist in Middle Tennessee. She loves wildflowers and native plants and thoroughly enjoys writing about the ones she grows at Clay and Limestone. She reminds all that the words and images are the property of the author and cannot be used without written permission.