Aster La Vista

astersThere is a welcome splash of late summer colour in the main herbaceous borders from these two asters – ‘Patricia Ballard’ on the left and a more recent car boot acquisition on the right, possiby ‘Little Chalfield’ although I can’t find any details of such an aster. The latter was a particularly good buy, costing me only £2 and now being smothered in flowers, unlike Our Pat, who has been there for a few years and has no more than a dozen flowers on her spindly stems. I think that this year, as well as throwing on some homemade compost, I shall fork over the top layer as well  and see if that helps. The border Patricia is in does get more shade too, and there is an overhanging branch which it could well do without. I bought two more asters early this year from Crocus, ‘Little Carlow’ and ‘Violetta’ and had them both replaced under their excellent guarantee, but I am not expecting flowers from them this season – there was also another aster bought at the car boot sale but I can’t see which of the borders I have put it in, so it can’t be flowering either!

IMG_0160Today’s question (not a regular feature, I hasten to add!) for fellow bloggers is “why are my penstemon reluctant to flower?” I was so pleased over the winter to see my small collection of young penstemon bulking up and not being put off by the snow and zero temperatures; they were cut back in spring as recommended but apart from ‘Just Jayne’ they have still been devoid of flowers, and even Jayne just produces the odd one or two at a time. They are not meant to be very long-lived perennials, but I must have had them as young plants for two years now with only an occasional flower. Any ideas?

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12 Responses to Aster La Vista

  1. Christina says:

    Maybe your penstemons are in too rich a soil, or with too much water; whilst they are not drought tolerant they do like free draining soil and in the UK at least a reasonable amount of sun.

  2. Annette says:

    Hard to say, Cathy, but they actually like fertile soil (sorry, Christina) in full sun or half shade. My two penstemons have been doing ever so well and keep producing flowers. How is the soil in that bed?

    • Cathy says:

      Deep and relatively fertile, and at least half shade, but some are in the bed that I rejuvenated during the summer so perhaps may do better next year. And I shall loosen up the topsoil in all of the other beds too, which I haven’t done for ages. I remain optimistic!

  3. Your asters are lovely – I hope the others appear! Can’t help with your penstemon question – they don’t do well here.

    • Cathy says:

      I have since found tiny flower buds on my ‘Crocus’ asters – but I have clearly planted the other aster in the middle of something else as I just have not been able to find it yet!

  4. My Penstemmon bloom very well here in Texas. Maybe it’s our hot dry climate. Blessings, Natalie

  5. Anna says:

    Beautiful aster Cathy which looks rather like my ‘Little Carlow’ from this distance :) My penstemons which are older plants than yours did not flower as well this year as last. Just wondering whether the late start to spring may have affected them. Can you remember exactly when you cut them back?

    • Cathy says:

      Do you know, Anna, I thought that when it first flowered, but when I bought it from the car boot I had already come across Little Carlow so would have recognised the name – unless the seller had it wrong..? The penstemons were cut back when other bloggers were cutting theirs back….. ‘spring’ sometime I suppose…!

  6. Mine don’t flower well either especially since my garden is more wet than dry. I only have one that flowers. Love the asters.

    • Cathy says:

      The jury seems to be out on penstemon, doesn’t it? I am waiting to see how well the asters settle, although my original one could do with being moved as it is too near the front of the border it’s in

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