With her faint smile.(Sarah Helen Whitman, American poet, from A Day of the Indian Summer), found at worldofquotes.com
I just knew someone must have written a poem about these beautiful autumn flowers, one of my very favorites. And "faint smile" is fitting, at least when compared to more flamboyant fall blossoms like dahlias or marigolds. On a recent dazzling day in the garden colony, though, I felt like they were laughing gaily rather than smiling faintly.
The most common type are the tall, light pink-purple asters seen in the photos above and below, found along fences and borders all over our garden colony:
There's also a lovely variety of reddish asters that don't get quite as high:
And just look at the riotous colors in this garden:
The owner of the allotment in the photo below invited me in so I could photograph from a more advantageous angle.
My all-time favorites, though, are the very pale, almost white asters in my title photo. These asters belong to my neighbor, and I am fortunate to have them along our mutual border, under the old gnarled apple tree. Below is the full-sized picture. What you can't see here are the hundreds of bees on the blossoms.
So of course one of the first things I planted last fall after acquiring the allotment were asters. I purchased four plants that were labeled as dwarf asters ("Kissenaster"). Here's my daughter planting the ones she picked out:
I'm sorry to say that two of the four plants were immediately devoured and killed off by slugs. The other two survived and are now blooming this fall. But they aren't dwarfs. I had intended them to form a pillow of blossoms below the roses, but instead they now intermingle with them, also fine.
My neighbor told me that once asters get to a certain size the slugs leave them alone. And indeed in the spring I watched the slugs happily eating the leaves of both his and my asters, but after a while they stopped and the plants did fine. In fact, they seem to already be proliferating.
Happy autumn gardening, everyone.