Blooming Now: Asters & Goldenrod

Wild New England asters in bloom

Wild New England asters in bloom

Fall brings out the tough wildflowers like asters and goldenrod. Bees and butterflies lovethe flowers, and seeing them growing together in a field is one of my favourite fall sights. The wild varieties can find a space in your cultivated garden too, as long as you keep them in check. Cut off the seed heads of goldenrod when it finishes flowering, and pull up any that are spreading too freely. A good trick with asters is to cut them back in June, and again in July to keep the stems shorter.

asters and goldenrod or solidago blooking in a field

Asters and goldenrod bloom together in the fall

Allergy sufferers need not be frightened by goldenrod: it often gets confused with ragweed, which doesn’t have an obvious yellow flower. This mistaken identity is a real Die Hard. If you check out ragweed on the internet, you’ll still see a few goldenrods listed erroneously in the image results.

Goldenrod’s Latin name is Solidago, and you can buy cultivated varieties in garden centres. Asters come in many cultivated varieties, as well, and are plentiful in containers right now, in all sorts of colours. If you want to try to keep pots of asters you buy now over the winter, plant them directly in soil as soon as possible, keep well watered, and cut back after the flowers have died. Mulch the area once the ground has had a hard frost.

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