The End of Another Growing Season   Leave a comment

aster.jpg

Thanksgiving Day was absolutely gorgeous here in Southern Massachusetts.  It was 65 degrees and sunny all day.  I guess just a few miles away, the rest of Massachusetts was cloudy and foggy, but we got lucky.  I took advantage of the last blast of warm weather and cut down my asters, thus marking the end of another growing season.  Asters are not exactly a simple plant to grow.  Well, they are simple to grow, but to have them look nice they do take a little bit of work.  But I think it’s worth it, because they give you great color at the very end of the season when you need it the most.  Mine are New England asters, many people call them Michaelmas Daisies.  They flower in late September, early October, and as you can see in the picture above, the butterflies love them.  In the early summer I cut them back, ideally twice, never cutting after the 4th of July.  Then I have to set up a staking system, because they get quite tall.  I used to use grow through hoops, but the plants are never the exact diameter of the hoop, and some would grow outside and flop over, so now I just put in the 4 stakes and tie string around the plant at a couple heights as they grow, and I don’t use the gridded hoops.  The next problem is fungus.  I have found that soaking some garlic in vegetable oil, then mixing the oil (without the garlic) with a couple drops of dish detergent and water makes a good anti-fungus solution.  I use rough proportions of 2 tablespoons oil, 2 cups water, couple drops detergent.  Then I shake that mixture up and use it all summer.  I take a tablespoon of that diluted mixture and put it in a plastic hand spray bottle, which I fill with water.  So now it’s been diluted again.  I spray this on the stems of the asters about once a week, if I’m good, and it does seem to help with the fungus that causes the lower leaves to turn brown and die off.  But I don’t always get around to it, so I’m always looking for something to plant in front of it to hide the foliage.  In the fall the royal purple flowers come out, and it is quite a show.  Lastly, you have to cut them down for the winter, and the center of the plant tends to die out, so every couple years they require dividing.  So they do require quite a bit of care.  I have a couple other smaller asters, I have a white one that looks like baby’s breath which I love also, and some short purple ones, which aren’t as much work as the tall one.  But the majestic New Englands are my favorite, I’ve moved them from house to house because I would never be without them.

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Posted November 24, 2007 by cindyeo in aster, Michaelmas daisy

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