This blog reviews the latest products, plants and innovations in gardening. It also provides a link for my many gardening friends who are members of the GardenMessenger and Seedmessenger Yahoo groups and their sub-groups that I moderate.

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Location: Australia

I am a semi-retired UK botanical garden curator and former international horticultural consultant, who has worked extensively in Europe, the Middle East, North America and Australia. I spend part of the year in Australia and part in Europe, mainly due to family and work commitments. I earn my living from writing and editing Internet copy, articles and books. I have written over fifty books on gardening and have been translated into twenty-four different languages. I am a former UK Garden Writer of the Year and a previous Quill & Trowel Award Winner from the Garden Writer’s Association of America. I am interested in developing gardening communities on the Internet and I manage the popular GardenMessenger Yahoo group, along with its various sub-groups like PondMessenger and SeedMessenger. I also edit International Water Gardener and its associated regional web-sites.

Friday, September 15, 2006

Plant of the Month September - Aster

Aster 'Purple Dome'

Perennial asters are named as the Dutch nursery industry’s plant of the Month for September. They are amongst the most spectacular of the autumn-blooming perennials, are easy to grow and do well in average soils. While most need full sun; others will do well in partial shade or even full shade. Asters are available in blues, purples, a variety of pinks, as well as white. All asters are yellow in the centre of the flower and have a daisy-like in appearance. They are available in a wide variety of sizes and growth habits, with some less than 30cm (12in) tall while others are 60cm (24in) or more. All are suitable for cutting.

Asters are easily grown from division. Plants do best if divided every two to three years. Simply dig out half to two thirds of the plants, leaving the remainder in place. Then separate the portion you removed into two sections and plant in another location. Once asters are established, they should grow well for years. The soil should be moist, but not wet. They will withstand dry periods. Water them during dry periods, once or twice per week to keep growth vibrant. Add mulch around the plants to help conserve moisture and suppress weeds.

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Happy Gardening



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