By Natalie Brewer, University of Md Extension Master Gardener

The goddess Virgo cried. And where her tears fell to the earth, asters sprang up from the ground.

Asters

Aster oblongifolius Raydon's Favorite or (October Skies) at William Paca Garden, Annapolis, November 1, 2009

My favorite season is autumn. The weather is cooler, the sun shines abundantly, and I love the autumn colors of red, yellow and orange… and blue, purple and pink. Yes, that’s right, blue, purple and pink, and you can add to that magenta, rose, red-purple, royal blue, lavender and sky blue. These are all the true colors of autumn here in the United States due to one of our most glorious and prolific wildflowers, the aster.

Asters are heralds of the autumn garden. There are nearly one hundred and fifty different species of native asters in the United States, many of which (over 50) are native east of the Mississippi River. There are so many different asters with many different qualities that there is definitely an aster for the likes of every gardener and every gardening situation. Asters are beautiful, easy to grow, and blanket themselves in a flush of bloom.

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