“Asters are without honour in their own country” said Louise Wilder Beebe. Known as “Michaelmas Daisies” because they bloom around SSt. Michaelmas Day on September 29, asters are held in high esteem by English and other European gardeners, while we in the United States disdain them as common weeds. they have to compete with the vigorously promoted Asian chrysanthemums that are available at the grocery story, big-box stores, the florist, roadside stands and the pumpkin farm, and asters come out a distant second.

But our native asters are the last act in our vast prairie drama and their purple, lavender, azure, mauve, and white palette combined with their companion goldenrods is dazzling. Aster cultivators, such as ‘Purple Dome”, Alma Potschke”, and ‘October Skies’ are readily available at garden centers, but you will have to look further for the equally beautiful species asters. The are available at native plant nurseries and through native plant catalogs or, even better, from friends.

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