Gardening where the sidewalk ends

Why I Keep the Asters October 28, 2009

Filed under: bugs,fall,flora — greenwalks @ 10:06 am
Tags: , , , , , , ,

The asters that reseed vigorously in my parking strip garden are tall, leggy, often in the wrong place and prone to rust late in the season. But I keep them anyway. Do you know why?

Asters in late September

Here’s another look:

Bee on aster blossom

Yes, for the bees. Most of the blossoms are gone by now (these photos were taken back in late September), but since there aren’t many flowers on the street still blooming at that time of year, I like giving my buzzing friends a last little taste of summer before it’s time to close up the honey shop for the year.

Do you have any plants you keep around mostly for the wildlife to enjoy?


15 Responses to “Why I Keep the Asters”

  1. Tatyana Says:

    I love the color! I wish my asters reseeded! They grow on the mulched portion of the border, and it doesn’t help, I think.

  2. easygardener Says:

    I have mildew on mine but the flowers are so lovely that I let them get on with it. I’m sure the bees don’t care that the leaves look a bit grey.

  3. Leslie Says:

    The are one of the prettiest fall bloomers…gotta keep ’em!!

  4. Curmudgeon Says:

    So pretty! We still have plenty of flowers blooming, but the leaves look so ratty on all of them. Oh well, at leaset there’s color. BTW, missed you at the last SAGBUTT gathering.

  5. Well, I like to leave hoses lying around for the squirrels…


  6. A number of things have been sacrificed to the deer. Unappreciative beasts that they are, they still nibble on the good stuff. They do seem to be partial to the dandelions, but even their voracious habits have little effect there.

  7. Grace Says:

    Hi~~ I’m with you on the asters. They can be a pain in the butt, but when I hear the pervasive buzz, I’m happy. Years ago when I grew sunflowers I would leave them on their stalks. The chickadees would go crazy. At this point I don’t think I leave anything specifically for critters but I’m happy that bees like my yard. Good to “see” you again.

  8. Sue Says:

    I have a couple asters that lose their bottom leaves and get very leggy, even though I cut them back in the summer. I still have others for the insects, though. I had some wild milkweed come up in my front flower bed, which I left for the monarchs. Now, there are more coming up, but the first one didn’t bloom. I need to move a different plant now to make room for the new milkweeds. I also have other plants, like non-invasive goldenrods that I planted for the butterflies and such, and look nice.

  9. Catherine Says:

    Hi Karen! I don’t have a specific plant that I leave, but I do let the verbena bonariensis reseed wherever it wants. The butterflies, bees and hummingbirds love the flowers and now the birds are loving the seeds.

  10. Jane Says:

    My multicolored sunflowers look completely ratty now, but every day I still have goldfinches, house finches and chickadees feeding on them, so they won’t get cleaned out yet. And this past weekend I saw a junco delicately eating (and distributing seeds) from a dandelion puff.

  11. Randy Says:

    Love asters and have never noticed any mildew on them. Really enjoyed these beautiful photos.

  12. Georgia Says:

    When I lived in Berkeley and had a garden, I let everything go to seed, for the birds.

  13. I just cut back my asters today as they were completely gone to seed, but they have been very good this autumn. Other plants for wildlife: well the eupatorium is in glorious flower at the moment, smells horrid to me but found a butterfly and a bumblebee feeding today, as well as numerous little insects flying or scuttling away when I watered it this morning! (We’ve had a long dry spell here in S.E. England – most unusual this time of year). Verbena bonariensis and Sedum spectabile were also good until they set seed a couple of weeks ago.

  14. I guess I would have to say my Sedum ‘Autumn Joy’ I have a love hate relationship with it but when I see the top totally covered with bees it makes me happy!

  15. Megan Says:

    I’m sure the bees are grateful for the late season treat.
    I have the best intentions to cut back my plume poppies before they go to seed all over, but then I start looking at those hollow stems, thinking what a great spot they’ll be for ladybugs to overwinter, and there they stay.

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