aster-nomical

276/365: white prairie asters

white prairie asters

The asters have won my heart for the sheer exuberant volume of blossoms they produce, for being hearty and beautiful in a kind of workaday way, for blooming so late in the season when the garden is a mess and I’ve lost my gumption for it until next spring. We might all pursue our vocations with such earnest cheer.

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fall flowers

254/365: purple dome asters

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Our garden has never had much fall interest so this year I’m excited about the new asters in the native plant garden. So excited, in fact, that I couldn’t wait for them to open entirely before photographing them several days in a row. There is something magical about emergence, being poised on the brink of discovery but with so much left unknown.

new hue

246/365: purple woods aster

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Walking through the summer woods is a largely monochromatic experience. Green on green. Any other color really stands out.

I’m happy either way: I never tire of the infinite shades and textures of the leaves but the surprise of a wildflower is always welcome.

hey, beautiful

226/365: monarch in the prairie garden

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I could tell from the tattered wings that it’s been a tough journey. What a relief it must be to come upon a native plant feast like my neighborhood prairie garden!

It is SO good to see each and every monarch this year. Wishing them safe travels and plenty of flowers along the way.

growing like a weed

221/365: wild senna

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You can tell the native plants BELONG here because of the way they thrive.

We chose the wild senna for the cool shape of the leaves. We had no idea that it would grow taller than me the first season (I’m 5’3 so it’s not a huge feat, but still).

If you live in the Twin Cities, please let me know if you’d like one of these giants for your own garden. I’ve got babies all over the place and I’m happy to share. Be ready for a soundtrack of contented buzzing – the pollinators are coming in droves.

 

memories

Every time I see one of these huge puff balls, it brings me back to my 70’s childhood. We used to have to stop the car so my mom and grandma could climb into the ditch to pick them. Back home, they were given the AquaNet treatment and put on display.

Funny which moments turn golden as time goes on.

 

blog071015_puff-ball187/365: puff ball at the prairie garden

rebranding for good

This gorgeous blossom is undergoing a rebranding effort in the name of monarch survival. Commonly referred to as Swamp Milkweed, the plant is one of the essential natives for monarch caterpillars. In an effort to encourage more gardeners to embrace this beneficial plant, the new moniker lends a more delicate, desirable image. This is no swamp plant: it’s Rose Milkweed (thank you very much).

blog062515_milkweed-closeup173/365: rose milkweed