(Go here to read about rescue efforts in Canada.) " Luckily for me, blogging friend, Sweetbay, generously shared several starts of 'Miss Bessie' a few years back. They bloomed that first fall and every November since then. It's ironic and wonderful that an endangered Middle Tennessee wildflower found its way home from NC. The resident pollinators send their thanks and love to you SB."
I've written about 'Miss Bessie' before...Sweetbay refers to Willowleaf aster as 'Miss Bessie' and I do, too. 'Miss Bessie' has been the star of several Wildflower Wednesday post and she's a member of the Clay and Limestone rough and tumble wildflower club. Most of the rough and tumbles are late summer/early fall bloomers, but, Willowleaf aster shines in my November garden! You know how much I love all the rough and tumble wildflowers, they're simple flowers that bloom their hearts out and require no special care, well, that's exactly how I would describe Willowleaf aster. She's an ex-aster, expect her to travel, but, you can easily transplant any seedlings to other parts of your garden. She stands straight and tall until the top heavy blooms lean toward the sun. The flower heads sway in the slightest breeze and only patience and hundreds of shots yields a good photo of nectaring pollinators.
(excerpted from earlier posts)
|Green metallic bees just before the frost
|Native in green~Not sure why South Carolina is not on the list!
I recommend we all plant more of this native beauty! As you can see, it's native in eastern North America...except South Carolina! Sources suggest that it's a go to food source for migrating Monarch Butterflies. If you garden along the monarch trail Willowleaf aster might be a perfect addition to your garden. (Prairie Moon Nursery has seeds).
So, my dear readers, please join me in planting more native ex-asters! I know your pollinators will appreciate the marvelous and floriferous 'Miss Bessie' and you'll love having blooms in late fall.
PS It goes without saying, but you know me, I have to say it. If you want pollinators to visit your garden, you must, never, ever, ever, ever use pesticides. I'm not kidding...NEVER!
Posts about 'Miss Bessie':
One of the last bees to visit (here)
The best native ex-aster is a very late bloomer(here)
Where have all the pollinators gone? (here)
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.