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Late Season Highlight: Asters

by Phillip Stutz, Horticulturist

Posted 12/10/2019

This season wound down with minimal fall color and early snowfalls, but not before the brilliant crescendo of blossoms from a great group of late season bloomers: the asters. For botanical accuracy at the Gardens, we call them by their current scientific names. A few I’d like to highlight are listed below - I hope you consider adding them to your list as you make garden plans for next season!

 

Eurybia divaricata (white wood aster)

Eurybia divaricata (white wood aster)

Frothy blooms of white wood aster soften this path leading into the Perennial Garden

White wood aster is a lovely, native aster for a shady, woodland garden. The small white flowers bloom profusely from late summer to early fall. White wood aster can be found growing abundantly throughout the Birch Walk.

 


 

Symphyotrichum oblongifolium (aromatic aster)

Symphyotrichum oblongifolium (aromatic aster)


'Raydon's Favorite' Aromatic aster offers some late season color along the Great Lawn

Aromatic aster is a low-growing, native species suitable for dry sites in full sun. The plant has a bushy habit overall and can be covered with purple flowerheads for a couple of months in the fall. The aromatic nature of the foliage has proven to be a beneficial attribute at the Gardens, as the aroma makes the foliage (almost) unpalatable to rabbits.

 


 

Aster tataricus ‘Jindai’ (tatarian aster)

Aster tataricus 'Jindai' (tatarian aster)

'Jindai' tatarian aster attracts plentiful pollinators with its bright, showy colors

One of the true Aster species! ‘Jindai’ tatarian aster is a tall and rigidly upright plant for full sun. It features light purple ray flowers (the “petals”) and bright yellow centers, blooming late in the fall. It was still flowering and looking good after frost and snows in November. This aster cultivar is named after the Jin-Dai Botanical Garden in Tokyo, Japan, where it was discovered.

Asters attract countless pollinators, work well in many different garden situations, and can be an integral part of a successional planting scheme. With thoughtful selections, you can have asters in bloom from August to November, providing insect sustenance and horticultural beauty wherever they grow.

Look for these and other asters at Olbrich’s Plant Sale With the Pros, May 8 and 9, 2020.

 

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Olbrich Botanical Gardens is operated as a public-private partnership between the City of Madison Parks Division and the Olbrich Botanical Society.
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