What hides in the garden all summer and then reveals itself in the fall?
You may know them as asters, or Asters. Or by their new botanical genus name Symphyotrichum, which for good reason no one actually uses.
They are often called Michaelmas daisies because they are usually blooming on the feast day of St. Michael the Archangel, September 29th.
There are other things celebrated on this day besides St. Michael. After a quick search, I discovered it is also National Coffee Day and National Biscotti Day. And that anyone who wants to can submit a request to make a particular day a national whatever day. It kind of takes the wind out of the sails of all those national days when you know how easy it is to make something a national day.
But back to Michaelmas and asters.
I’ve discovered over the years of growing asters in my garden that some of them can get quite tall if you don’t lop off about half of their growth in late May.
I’ve also learned that no matter how persistent you are in deadheading asters late in the fall, they’ll still self-sow in your garden, but not in a bad way. They are easy to pull out when you find them.
But I never find them all and I confess that I don’t look very hard for them. If they come up in a spot where they won’t crowd out something else, I leave them be.
Then on Michaelmas, I can walk around the garden and see them blooming here, there, and over yonder.
Interesingly enough, this year, it is the seedlings that have come up here, there, and over yonder that are actually blooming today. The others, purposely planted, are still just showing buds.
Regardless, here’s a picture of some Michaelmas daisies from a previous year.
I hope you find room for some Michaelmas daisies in your garden. They are bright spots of color at the height of the fall season. Plus, at this time of year, there will be bees, butterflies, and other pollinators all over them.
If you are new to gardening or have never grown asters, check out this article I wrote for Family Handyman all about growing asters. If you prefer to listen to gardening advice, back in fall of 2019, Dee and I talked about asters on this episode of The Gardenangelists. And if you would like to read more about Michaelmas and traditions around this day, I found this lovely article with beautiful artwork by Krisin Haakenson that you might enjoy.
Thanks for reading to the end, as always.