There 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!
Today’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?