By Marion McParland
Late summer is the perfect time to punch up your garden with the fresh colors of asters. Commonly confused with the daisy for their appearance, the aster bloom is actually several flowers which form a beautiful structure. The shape of the flower inspired the Swedish botanist Carl Linnaeus to name the plant “aster,” from astron, the ancient Greek word meaning star.
Asters are the workhorse of perennials. The varieties sold at PHS Meadowbrook Farm begin blooming in August and will continue to bloom nearly nonstop into fall if you pluck off the spent flowers. Colorful asters add beautiful contrast to an otherwise drab, end-of-summer landscape. Trick of the Trade: To keep your asters looking great, as the plant starts to leaf out next spring, pinch back the stems. Or, cut back the plant halfway early next summer. Either of these techniques will encourage the plant to bush out rather than grow tall and leggy. The result will be a nicely mounded plant with many more flowers. Asters will also provide one of the last feeding options for butterflies, bees and other pollinators and are typically a deer-resistant plant.
PHS Meadowbrook Farm has a variety of asters to choose from, including ‘Wood’s Purple, a rich purple flower with yellow centers; ‘October Skies,’ sky blue flowers with a burnt orange center; and ‘KICKIN® Pink Chiffon,’ a new hybrid cultivar with true pink flowers and a golden center.
Visit Meadowbrook Farm this month for an end-of-summer splash of color. Remember, PHS members always save 10% on plants. Become a member on site and save on your purchases.
PHS Meadowbrook Farm is located at 1633 Washington Lane in Abington Township, Pennsylvania. Hours are Monday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Meadowbrook Farm will be closed on Monday, September 1. For more information call 215.887.5900 or click here.