Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Say Goodbye to the Michaelmas Daisies: September's GBBD

Monarch butterfly on Aster Novae-Angliae
 How many chances do you give a plant before you decide it has to go? I have a difficult time making the decision to get rid of plants. I always think next year they will be better ... gardeners are the eternal optimists, I believe. But my New England Asters, or Michaelmas Daisies as my Mother calls them, have been given too many chances. I planted five of them in the spring of 2006 and they were awesome that fall. Every year since then they had a problem, including aphids and powdery mildew. This year the plants succumbed to botrytis. It began with the lower leaves turning yellow and then brown, then the remainder of the leaves died, from the bottom of the stem to the top. Botrytis does not always effect the flowers, so I spent a great deal of time grooming these plants, deciding to let them flower one more time. I am glad I did, because they continue to be a butterfly magnet. But enough is enough! They demand too much of my time, so when they have finished flowering I am going to pull them out.

Aster novae-angliae "Wonder of Staffa"
I am giving them the final honor of being featured for Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day graciously hosted by Carol at May Dreams Gardens.

In general, my garden is really winding down now and looking rather messy. I still have a few lovely blooms, however, including the caryopteris. One of few shrubs with blue flowers in the fall, it is a great favorite of mine.

Caryopteris 'Blue Mist Shrub'
Caryopteris is often called Blue Spirea in England
The bees love it, also.

 Other fall-flowering plants are the sweet autumn clematis and of course mums:

Sweet Autumn Clematis
Chrysanthemum Leucanthemum hybrid

I always look forward to the goldenrod coming into bloom in the woodland garden. This year it is rather sparse, maybe because of the drought.

Goldenrod Solidago Rugosa
This has been an unusual gardening year due to the weather conditions: Extreme heat and lack of rain have caused leaves to fall before the trees have the opportunity to take on their autumn colors. This is very evident in the Woodland Walk.

Sitting under the apple tree one is showered by early falling leaves

Fallen leaves carpet the ground around the staddle stone
Another harbinger of fall is the bright orange of the Chinese lanterns.

Several roses are still lovely. This is my favorite, today.

Miniature rose Rosa "Rise 'N' Shine"
I am thrilled with today's harvest, having thought the kitchen garden had little left to offer. I picked cucumbers, tomatoes, peppers, carrots, parsnips, a red onion, and a handful of beans.

 The grapes are very thin this year on the arbor, again because of the drought (I did not water them.) Therefore,  I decided to leave them for the birds and not attempt to make jelly or juice.

Concorde Grapes
Finally, as I review my September blooms, I must show how well some of the annuals have survived. In the kitchen garden there are still a few sweet peas...

Sweet Pea 'Eckford's Finest Mix'
... and the zinnias continue to put on a great show and attract pollinators.
Zinnia 'Jazzy Mix'
Some annuals in planters are still looking pretty, also, especially the coleus.

Coleus Mixed Colors 'Wizard' invite you to enter the Stone Garden
 I cannot end without reiterating my promise to give you a full report about the new pond that is giving us so much pleasure. Next time ...

Perennial geranium, yarrow "the pearl", and zinnias border the pond
Now, I need to think of what to plant in place of those asters. What would you suggest? Maybe a visit to May Dreams Gardens will give us some ideas.  There we can check out what is blooming around the world today. Thank you, Carol, for hosting Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day.

Enjoy this beautiful autumn, or whatever season it is where you live, dear gardening friends.

Love, Pam x

~~ I love reading your comments. I hope you leave one so I’ll know you visited!
I look forward to visiting your blog in return.


  1. Pam, the blooms from your garden are still so pretty. I love how you say "this is my favorite rose TODAY". The Chrysanthemum are such a nice shade of pink.

    Hope you have a great weekend.

  2. Dear Pam, Despite the problems you are, and have been, experiencing with Asters [newer varieties are less prone to mildew as you probably know] your garden is looking most colourful and full of interest for this time of year.

    Have no hesitation about replacing the Asters. I have for many years adopted the policy of ridding myself of anything in the garden which does not perform reasonably well. I am not running a sanatorium for sick plants!!

  3. I left a message on your last post but it's not showing up. I did have problems with my comments vanishing in to thin air so that's probably the reason but I didn't want you to think that I hadn't visited. I love your yellow rose, I'm on the look out for one which will be happy in a container so I will research this one. What a great harvest you're still getting from your kitchen garden, well worth all the effort when you get such wonderful food from it.

  4. Your gardens are so beautiful! Thank you for the tour. I can't wait to hear about your pond, I have always wanted one. I just love water features =)

  5. Pam, your Blue Mist Shrub looks very pretty with delicate blooms. I love the way Edith put the solution to your daisies. Too funny. Maybe I should take on that attitude and get rid of more. I have some plants that seem to get moldy too.
    All in all your gardens look wonderful for the time of year with things still blooming.

  6. I have been ripping out the Maltese cross this year. It has ugly foliage, the blooms are miniscule and it dried up too easily. So, out it goes.

    Just rip 'em out if they are not what you LOVE. You can always buy something else.
    Your Coleus pots are grand!

    I hope everything is going well for you.

    Take care,

  7. You have some great blooms just now in the garden Pam despite that mildew. Space is so valuable in my garden and if something is not performing - I give it a year - just like you and then relunctancly I dig it out and have a lot of fun deciding what to plant in its place. I have salvia and a dwarf photinia red robin that are on my casualty list and will be out if they don't perform by next spring.

  8. Gorgeous photo of your asters with the Monarch... that picture alone should make you change your mind. What if you were to cut them way back early in the season... the new growth would be more vigorous and may help it fight off those diseases. Lovely blooms all about your gardens. ;>)

  9. Dear Pam, that Caryopteris is lovely and the lush of your garden's colours tends to efface the fact that summer is actually over. Have you thought of planting Aconitum in place of some Asters? Eszter

  10. Nice post...I think it's one we can definitely all relate's so hard to finally admit that a certain plant just isn't happy in our garden. I have a tendency to move things around a lot, hoping it will be better "if it just gets more sun!"...we are indeed optimists!

  11. Hi, Pam, I love seeing your garden! :) I usually give a plant 3 chances and sometimes that includes replacing it a couple of times! But after that, I need plants that are going to do pretty well on their own. I have a Caryopteris in bloom now, too. It's leaves are more yellow in the summer, but by the time the blue flowers have arrived, they are a little more green. Thanks for your post! :) Oh, and I am looking forward to pictures of that pond! :)

  12. Pam I do the same. I'll give a plant a few more times to get it together, if problems persist it has to go, because as you stated, it will take up to much of my time. That was a wonderful idea to honor it for GBBD before you pull the plug on it.

    I like that yellow miniature's pretty, I plan to add a yellow rose to my garden next year called " Sunny " it's a knock-out rose that smells like a lemon.

    Your Zinnia's are cute too" I plan to add more of those also, I had fallen out of love with them in the past because of powdery mildew issues.. But now we have new resistant varieties.

    Look forward for the pond photos.

    By the way Pam" How is your mother doing? I think of her when ever I visit your post.

    Have a beautiful day

  13. Leaves dropping before changing, I think that's going to happen here too.

    I tried planting a New England aster once. It didn't even do well that first year, so I ripped it out. I'm one of those people that try to give plants a chance, but that's only worked in one or two instances.

  14. It's sad to admit summer is ending, but we must. It looks as though there is still plenty of color at your house though. the drought and heat have been tough on the gardens this year. Those daisies are pretty, but I must agree, enough is enough. It's not worth the trouble when there are so many trouble free plants to enjoy.

  15. That is such an important topic in gardening! Every gardener has situations where a plants lack of performance is cause for re-evaluation. Getting rid of the plant is a wrench sometimes though for someone thrifty and sentimental like me. But sometimes go they must.

    Coincidentally, I have given my 'Alma Potschke' asters several years to do anything, something in their site in full sun. Nothing doing. Well, this gardener has had it with Alma. Out she goes!

    Christine in Alaska

  16. Great pics Pam - I especially love the bee one... our queen arrives in October to start our hives and I'm very excited. I haven't seen those Chinese Lantern before - very pretty!

  17. Even though your garden is winding down, it is doing so beautifully. I love caryopteris. I have the variegated one, and saw the others at Lowe's of all places. I should go back and buy a couple I think. Thank you for the peek into your garden.


  19. Looking at your flowers you would never know it has been dry where you are. We spent a lot of time at my brother's in Bucks Co. this summer, and compared to where we are it looked like a rain forest.

  20. Tx Pam! When I started working on that post it seemed plodding and pedestrian - but the pictures helped. So glad you got something out of it ;>)

  21. Hi Pam A wonderful gallop through the season in your latest post. I think that there are some disease resistant asters you could try eg A frikartii Monch

  22. Hi Pam, it all looks wonderful. I love your garden, you have a great collection of plants. I hope you are well.
    M x

  23. Hello Pam,

    I do enjoy gardens in autumn and yours certainly has so many beautiful plants. I love that you have a photo of a beautiful did certainly give them many chances. I can't wait to see what you replace them with :-)

  24. Hello Pam :)
    Goodness, for someone with not much flowering in your garden, that is a lot of beautiful blooms! I can relate to giving plants too many chances...hearing someone on a gardening show say that we generally spend around the same on a bunch of flowers as a live plant and don't expect the bunch to keep on going and going helped a little...but not a lot!

    I will have to look up Caryopteris and see if it will grow here. Plants that attract the bees are always welcome!

  25. Your garden is looking beautiful this fall despite the weather. I've just been getting rid of some things, too, especially plants that have been running riot and plants that are constantly devoured by slugs. So I finally said a radical goodbye to all my hostas and cornflowers (centaurea montana), both of which are preferred slug food, and also to a wheelbarrow full of forget-me-not. I think I'd try a different species of aster if I were you - they are such a delight in the late summer and fall garden.

  26. Your garden is looking good !
    Never had much luck with Mums. Do love the Chinese lanterns.

  27. Breathtaking blooms! You have created a beautiful space. The blue chairs under the apple tree are an idyllic scene.

  28. Dear Pam - your post brought back memories of childhood when I was always saving plants my grandmother dug out - Michaelmas daisies were one of them. Your garden is still looking lovely so shame to spoil it with the ne'er do wells. Love that clematis and thanks for putting a name to one I have been racking my brains to remember - Caryopteris - beautiful blue

    Always a pleasure to walk round your garden

    Laura x

  29. I'm glad I made it to your bloom day post. I enjoyed your blooms. That aster sure is pretty. I can understand you wanting to pull it out. I have some I was planning on doing that to, too, for the same reason. I don't know what the disease has been, but the lower foliage always dies and turns brown. When I told Larry I was going to take it out, he asked me not to because he likes them. I dug out over half of each clump, and they seem to be healthier, but they are still floppy. I haven't decided on their fate for next year.

  30. Hi Pam,

    Wow beautiful fruits and flower. I really hate this ugly bee.

    Just like to share with you a beautiful quote...

    "You will never be happy if you continue to search for what happiness consists of. You will never live if you are looking for the meaning of life" - Albert Camus

    You can get more quotes about happiness at