"Pay attention to the world." -- Susan Sontag

Autumn Asters (3 of 3)

From Green Thoughts: A Writer in the Garden by Eleanor Perenyi:

“Plants that bloom in cloudy masses are a boon to the perennial border because with no effort on your part they produce ‘drifts of color.’ The phrase is Gertrude Jekyll’s. Jekyll, like Monet, was a painter with poor eyesight, and their gardens — his at Giverny in the Seine valley, hers in Surrey — had resemblances that may have sprung from this condition. Both loved plants that foamed and frothed over walls and pergolas, spread in tides beneath trees; both saw flowers in islands of colored light — an image the normal eye captures only by squinting….

“The charm of asters is their fluffy heads and ravishing colors — dusty pinks and powder-blues, strawberry reds and amethyst purples — and the way they arrange themselves in a bowl. I can’t resist them and invariably let optimism get the better of judgment, which come to think of it may be the first principle of gardening.”

From Colour Schemes for the Flower Garden by Gertrude Jekyll:

“There is a small-growing perennial Aster, A. corymbosus, from a foot to eighteen inches high, that seems to enjoy close association with other plants and is easy to grow anywhere. I find it… one of the most useful of [the] filling plants for edge spaces that just want some pretty trimming but are not wide enough for anything larger….

”The little thin starry flower is white and is borne in branching heads; the leaves are lance-shaped and sharply pointed; but when the plant is examined in the hand its most distinct character is the small fine wire-like stem, smooth and nearly black, that branches about in an angular way of its own.”


This is the third of three posts featuring aster varieties from Oakland Cemetery’s gardens, where I took some my earlier aster photos, resized them, and removed the backgrounds. The “drifts of color” seem even more “ravishing” on black.

The previous posts in this series are Autumn Asters (1 of 3) and Autumn Asters (2 of 3).

Thanks for taking a look!

Autumn Asters (2 of 3)

From Adirondack: Life and Wildlife in the Wild, Wild East by Edward Kanze:

“With the goldenrods in autumn come New England asters, tall and stately and elegantly garnished with yellow-centered purple pinwheels. And with these come the year’s last great rush of birds and insects. Goldfinches pick apart thistles and feed the seeds to their young….

“Overhead in skies of brilliant cobalt, hawks float dreamily southward, making the smaller birds below them nervous. Red-tailed bumblebees bustle among the goldenrods, gathering nectar and pollen, and on the billowing white blossoms of the sixty hydrangea bushes that border the driveway, monarch butterflies flutter down like autumn leaves.”

From 100 Flowers and How They Got Their Names by Diana Wells:

“The English called European asters both ‘asters’ and ‘starworts.’ Aster, Latin for ‘star,’ referred to the flower’s star-like shape. ‘Wort’ originally meant ‘root,’ and then was applied to plants that had healing properties. Asters, said the herbalist John Parkinson, were good for ‘the biting of a mad dogge, the greene herbe being beaten with old hogs grease, and applyed.’

“In 1637 John Tradescant the Younger brought North American asters back from Virginia. These do not seem to have been noticed much until they were hybridized with European starworts. They were later renamed ‘Michaelmas daisies’ in Britain, because when the British finally adopted Gregory XIII’s revised calendar, the feast of Saint Michael coincided with their flowering.”


This is the second of three posts featuring aster varieties from Oakland Cemetery’s gardens. The previous post is Autumn Asters (1 of 3) and a beeful collection of these flowers is on my Bees on Blooms! post from last week.

Thanks for taking a look!

Autumn Asters (1 of 3)

From “The Moon Now Rises to Her Absolute Rule” in The Complete Works of Henry David Thoreau by Henry David Thoreau:

The moon now rises to her absolute rule,
And the husbandman and hunter
Acknowledge her for their mistress.
Asters and golden reign in the fields
And the life everlasting withers not.
The fields are reaped and shorn of their pride
But an inward verdure still crowns them.
The thistle scatters its down on the pool

And yellow leaves clothe the river….

From “The Death of the Flowers” in Poems by William Cullen Bryant:

Where are the flowers, the fair young flowers, that lately sprang and stood
In brighter light, and softer airs, a beauteous sisterhood?
Alas! they all are in their graves, the gentle race, of flowers
Are lying in their lowly beds, with the fair and good of ours.
The rain is falling where they lie, but the cold November rain
Calls not from out the gloomy earth the lovely ones again.

The wind-flower and the violet, they perished long ago,
And the brier-rose and the orchis died amid the summer glow;
But on the hill the golden-rod, and the aster in the wood,
And the yellow sun-flower by the brook in autumn beauty stood….


In my last post (see Bees on Blooms!), I showed photographs of some of the bees and wasps that entertained me a couple of weeks ago at Oakland Cemetery’s gardens. In this post (and the next two), I’m featuring some of the additional Aster varieties scattered throughout the gardens — the “bee-free versions” if you will — that include a nice mix of mums, daisies, and coneflower in a variety of different colors. Below are the first ten photos.

Thanks for taking a look!

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