Aster Cordifolius, the “Heart- leaved aster”, is blooming now. Along partly shaded roads. In the verge behind the Sully’s grocery in Goffstown. In old cemeteries. My sister’s garden in Bow has it foaming over the hostas in her front yard.
I have it here in New Boston, though the relentless, repeated attacks by the woodchucks kept it from blooming. No well drained soil deters it, and if the person who invites it into garden beds does not cut down the spent blooms and toss them far away, its seedlings can swamp the flower beds the next spring.
At the Goffstown Historical Society this aster, along with Aster divarticus, the White Wood Aster and the Blue stemmed goldenrod, has naturalized in the shady places and along the stone walls. It is a blue cloud, a mist against the granite stones.
There is much variation from plant to plant. Some blooms are smaller. Some less dense, and some range from white to blue to violet. There are several cultivars available, which is why I ended up buying two plants of “Avondale”.
As my mother used to say, this was like carrying coals to Newcastle. But I bought these two plants because of their upright habit, their darker violet flowers, and their stunning garnet colored foliage. Here are three photos of them planted in front of the brick foundation of a historical schoolhouse at Parker Station in Goffstown.
I have never seen this color in this aster’s foliage before. Perhaps it is unique to the cultivar, perhaps it is a result of nursery planting in full sun. I hope it persists.
The strange seedpod I photographed for my posting on The Fells visit belongs to the Japanese Woodland Peony. No one at The Fells replied to my query, but as I went searching through Ruth Clausen’s “Essential Perennials” I saw the seed pod pictured.
Here are photos from yesterday’s day trip to Newbury, NH, and the estate of John Hay, Theodore Roosevelt’s Secretary of State. Since my camera’s memory card overloaded I will post photos my sister took on her camera phone as soon as she sends them to me.
The above photo shows the Bristly aster blooming in a rocky spot where Scotch heathers are thriving. How I wish I had visited earlier when the heathers were in bloom-
I was disappointed that the Aconitums in the long border below the house had already bloomed and been cut back, but there were large drifts of New England asters in bloom. I will post those photos later, as well as pictures of the “Old Garden”, which has recently been renovated.
Grass leaved goldenrod, Aster linarifolius, “Velvet Elvis” plectranthus. The last, new to me this year, is an outstanding shade plant. I will winter it over inside. It blooms in late summer., when it senses the seasonable wane of daylight hours.
Another view of “Velvet Elvis”, flanked by Wax begonias and “Diamond Frost” euphorbia. Proof that shade can be more than hostas. Shade blooming perennials yet to bloom are Japanese Spurflower ( Isodon effusis) and hardy Salvia glabrescens “Momobama”.
Old names for this relative of Joe Pye Weed are Blue Eupatorium, Mistflower, and Hardy Ageratum. The new Latin is Conoclinium coelestinum.
It is a hardy perennial wildflower that blooms all over Middle Tennessee, but one must look to mail order to bring it to southern New Hampshire. It is a notorious leaper and goes everywhere in good soil, but when it comes into bloom in late summer, I do not care where it spreads.
In Spring it stays underground late and one must remember that when temptation comes telling us to plant something new in that empty spot.
When I first saw it in bloom in Nashville I thought it the most beautiful late wildflower I had ever seen.
I have not changed my mind.
I lost 30% of my dooryard garden this year to woodchucks. My phlox and asters were bitten to the quick. My marigolds and Blackeyed Susans were chewed to stubs.
The only consolation is that there are plants that the woodchucks will not touch, and the Mistflower is one of them.
Poor fertility, mostly sand, sharp drainage. Ground suited for Sweet Fern and lowbush blueberries. Scrub land, where farming was so hard in early New England that Yankee soldiers, after the civil war, moved their families and farms to the fertile, flat, and predictable Midwest.
Here is a garden planted in that stingy soil-
There are many North American plants in this garden, but there are also plants from the dry corners of the world.
Because of time constraints this morning I cannot list the plants in this flower border, but I will do so later in the week, as I am sure there are frustrated gardeners here in Southern New Hampshire trying to garden in sand and interested in how to do it and what plants to look for.
Early Goldenrod, Solidago juncea, is blooming now. The plant in my dry border is a volunteer, and it is thriving. It is a clump former, and not a root runner, and its leaves are basal and hug the ground.
Its companions here are Silver King Artemesia and Globe thistles.
Still to come in this border are the Silver Rods, or white goldenrod, and the Rough-leaved goldenrods. Both of these were also volunteers. I have added the Rigid and the Showy Goldenrod, but their time is not yet. They have fat yellow spikes and resemble Liatris.