Tuesday, September 14, 2010
New England Asters
We moved to the lake house in December 2001. Before the house was built I'd marked areas where flower beds would be created so that the sod guys wouldn't lay sod there. Right by the garage, in the showiest corner of the yard, I planted these New England Asters. They were a passalong plant from my mom, who had an original from her own mother's yard. These are family plants growing and blooming several generations later.
As best I know the term "passalong plants" might'a been coined by Steve Bender (Southern Living Magazine) and Felder Rushing (King of his own domain). They wrote a book together, published 1993, called Passalong Plants. My mom gave me a copy long ago. I've seen both these gentleman give talks at Master Gardener events and the like and I've never laughed so much in my life. They are truly artists at giving talks about that which they love best - gardening. They are both Characters, completely deserving the capital "C!" But, I digress.
This passalong plant was at first completely well behaved but over time it grew huge and ungainly, and even began dying in the circle so now it looks like a big donut. Every July I whack it nearly to the ground, whereby it pouts for a bit before bushing up perfectly rounded in time for autumn, filled to overflowing with blooms. And it's a good thing, too.
Because the butterflies and bees adore this plant! The second year it was in the ground it bloomed heavily, profusely, abundantly. That is when I discovered butterflies, really. Never noticed them much before, but when this Gulf Fritillary landed and began sipping I was enchanted. The Sony Cybershot was fairly new then and had an annoying shutter delay but eventually I got this shot. Only 5 megapixel and the colors are a little wonky, but it's a cool shot filled with wonderful memories of that first October at the lake house with my passalong New England Aster, discovering butterflies. Ah, bliss.