Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Still-glorious autumn

Oh, sure, you’re tired of me telling you about all the wondrous plants with those end-of-season virtues you don’t care about. Well, how’s your garden, this week after Thanksgiving? True, my Amelanchier foliage display is done, and the Fothergilla gave up all but a few last glowing leaves in Monday’s rain.

But see the plant formerly known as Aster cordifolius,* the one you think too dull for your garden? Still blooming. Don’t those pale blue stars make a spectacular contrast with the wine-red blueberry foliage, and the divine gold of Clethra alnifolia? The Clethra that was so deliciously fragrant for weeks in later summer (note seedheads)?

*Taxonomy alert: they renamed all the North American asters. This is done for good scientific reasons. Not because using the word Aster for both common and scientific names makes life too easy for regular folks. The asters (from Greek, meaning star, via Latin) were a happy oasis in a plant world full of lilies that aren’t lilies, violets that aren’t violets, palms that aren’t palms. Luckily, it’s easy and fun to learn scientific names! And the more names you learn, the more names you can learn. Repeat after me, Tyrannosaurus rex! I knew you could do it. Now try: Symphyotrichum cordifolium. (“Commonly” pronounced blōō wŏŏd ās'tər.)


Unknown said...

Funny gardener!

SaraGardens said...

Hey, John, that aster originally came from your woods!

Ellen Zachos said...

Ok, first I'm ashamed to admit I didn't know they renamed the asters. When did that happen? And second, John is right, you very funny gardener. I bet you giggled as you wrote that.