Last year the Late Purple aster bloomed in my front yard garden. It was growing up against the side of the house, and when I dug up a garden bed there, I left it alone, not certain what it was. Another grew on the hillside just above my dry flower bed, and I believe it only bloomed last fall because the yard man for the property did not want to trample my flowers to cut it down..
This spring, when I cleaned up and started carrying old leaves and stalks up the hill in my Radio Flyer to dump them in the bushes, I found dozens of small aster plants coming up in the old dirt driveway and in the lawn beside it. I dug them up and put them all around my garden. Some went to my sister. I found so may that I was thinking of donating them to a local garden club.
By accident, I was looking up asters on the Internet the other day, and found that this aster, mainly found in Hillsborough County, is considered “threatened” in New Hampshire.
Not threatened by old ladies digging them out a lawn where they will be ever mowed to a stub, but by the tractors and bush hogging of people with an aversion to any plant over 5 inches tall on their property. New houses in old fields require that every field should look like a lawn and be relentlessly chopped .
The fate of this aster is like that of the Bobolink, which migrates thousands of miles each spring from the Southern Hemisphere to fields in the north where the grasses are no longer tall enough or the land spacious enough for these birds to build their nests.
The Wild Bee-balm is blooming now. My small plant came from a clump in my sister’s garden. It likes part shade, and has a subtle beauty that the common garden Beebalm lacks. The Scarlet bee- balm is a handsome, showy plant when it is in bloom, but an undeniable wreck afterward. The leaves wither and their margins blacken, and the only remedy is to cut it to the ground. This leaves a disfiguring gap in the flower bed. I suppose one could plant Silver Queen artemesia or a New England Aster behind it, and beg their stems down over it.
Note: Wild Monarda attracts hummingbirds.