Wednesday, September 20, 2017

more on asters

 Although 'Monch' has been blooming for more than 2 months now, it is still putting on a show. Yes, it it looking a bit messy with all the faded flowers still there, and the new flowers are blooming underneath them rather than hiding them. But 2 months of bloom and still looking like this, I find impressive.

Messy, but pretty.

Showing up late to the party, 'Raydon's Favorite' began blooming last week. It has some of the most perfectly shaped flowers, nearly perfect pinwheels of lavender. The late afternoon sun makes it look more purple than in real life.  Flowers close at night. I've got to move mine out of the shade and into the sun, so that it will grow to its full potential, but after the verticillium disaster, I'm afraid to do so.

Sunday, September 17, 2017


A few weeks ago, I was considering taking out Aster 'Purple Dome.' I have not been all that enamored by the color the last few years. But my DH has said that it is his favorite aster, and that he likes the color. So I've left them alone. Since that day, I've been paying attention to them, and they have been putting out more flowers. This is them today.

 I realized today, that they've been blooming for a month and that they are just hitting their peak. They probably have a few weeks of color left before they fade out. That's not bad.

Yes, the color is still a bit strident for me, but in combination with other colors, particularly the cooler purples, they are not bad. 

Then I realized just how easy they are. I hardly do anything with them other than make sure they get enough water so that they don't wilt. They continue to grow and then put on this show.

In contrast, my 'Professor Kippenberg' and the mystery aster, came into full bloom and then suddenly succumbed to a root rot during the monsoon rains. Because of this, I'm pretty sure that the mystery aster was a seedling of the Professor. This his highly disappointing since I do/did love the color of them. It was also very surprising since they were growing in sand, so the drainage was excellent.

At their peak, right before death:

Here showing the yellowing leaves of the plant about to collapse.
'Professor Kippenberg'

Mystery aster
A gentle tug and the entire plant came up with almost no roots. There seemed to be some living roots and shoots,  but I didn't get to them in time to save the Mystery aster since the wind pulled it out and the roots were crispy by the time I was able to get to it. I'll see if I can save a few pieces of the Professor.

Aster 'Raydon's Favorite' is starting to bloom. The first flower opened a few days ago. I didn't have time to take a photo. 

Also of note, is that Aster x frikarti 'Monch' has just been blooming away since...I just checked the dates on my photos...July?! It is still going strong, although the new flowers are below the faded ones, which makes for a bit of a messy display. No problems with root rot.  I love the color. It certainly blooms for a long time. It is easy to grow. I think this one is going to be the one I plant more of.
I've got to take a new photo. This one is from July 21.

Addendum: I've since learned that the Professor and the mystery aster probably succumbed to aster yellows, or verticillium wilt. Some web sites say fusarium wilt. There doesn't seem to be a cure or prevention, and the recommendation is to remove all parts of the plants and plant something else in the area, as the fungus is in the soil permanently. It "might" be destroyed by solarization. So I've planted irises in the area instead, as monocots are said to be resistant.


My goodness, the grubs in the compost pile are fat and happy. And ENORMOUS!
I wish I had a duck or a goose. I'm sure they would love them.

Saturday, September 16, 2017

cyclamen hederifolium alba

Even though the calendar says it's still summer, Cyclamen hederifolium alba says that fall is here.

Thursday, August 24, 2017

aster update

 The mystery aster is coming into full bloom, the older flowers fading to a paler shade. 

Professor Kippenburg is just starting:
 It might not be apparent from the photos which are slightly overexposed, but the Professor's flowers are more red-purple than the mystery aster.
 Soon to be in full bloom, maybe in a week or two.

Wednesday, August 23, 2017


I almost removed 'Falstaff' when it didn't seem to want to grow or bloom. Then I realized that it probably wasn't getting enough water or fertilizer. Now, given both, it is going to town. Silly me.

Now that's what I bought it for.

Tuesday, August 22, 2017