Asters in my garden

I know, I know, the title is misleading – these aren’t actually asters, although they do look a lot like them.  And this photograph didn’t actually come from my garden, but from one of my many nature hikes.  I hope you’ll excuse the discrepancies because the weather sucks here lately – meaning, it’s way too cold and wet for me to get my rear in gear and go photograph the garden. 

Yup, I’m being lazy!

Be that as it may, I can still enjoy the asters in my garden.  They’re volunteers, and I can’t bear to cut them back even though they’re extraordinarily tall and flopping over my walkway.  They’re gorgeous and the bees love them – the last burst of color and blooms before the frosts really hit.  I can’t go cutting the last bee food down, can I?  That would be unbearably cruel.  I think some of the bumblebees actually sleep in them, but I would have to go investigate with a flashlight to verify.

They’re not the huge showy asters you can see in florists and occasionally in the wild.  They’re gawky puff-ball plants full of white or violet stars.  They’ve been blooming for a few weeks now and are still going strong.  Even the cold nights we’ve had haven’t bothered them at all, they keep blooming away. 

Next year, I’ll try to make a mental note to prune them back during the summer while they’re still growing – a small mum sized bush would be much more manageable than these waving plumes.  If I trim them early enough, they won’t have buds yet and I won’t affect next season’s blooms.

You know – none of my neighbors have asters – you usually see them in wild meadows or along the sides of the roads.  I wonder if the former owner of the house loved them so much that she planted them in her garden?

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