Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Two Garden Problems

My front yard garden has a combination of two problems this year.

One is that neighborhood kids often toss their football or baseball into the plants. If that doesn't break stems, the whacking around with a bat in the dark does. I planted a new aster last autumn, bottom center, that has only one stem left. The fern also took a beating. Its hard to see the damage in the photo below, but same problem. Football lands on delicate Boltonia stems and breaks or bends them. Fortunately Boltonia, and asters in general, are resilient to this type of damage. I straighten them out by running twine horizontally and the plant rests on the twine.

Problem two has been the general health of all the asters this year. They are blighted and fungal. All the asters including the pink-purple, fall-flowering types and the yellow-flowered goldenrod and maximilian sunflower have been affected, although this one below is the worst. I don't remember the variety, but the leaves are usually a bigger, healthier blue-green.

The asters are tough, they can survive this unhealthy year. But they don't look so good in the garden. The main reason may have been all the rain of June. Yet part of the reason, really only part, is that my plants are a bit crowded. Another reason is the stress of the heat reflected off the apartment house and sidewalk. Its tough in that 24-inch slice of earth!

Aster 'Monch' has begun to bloom. Its a much smaller plant this year, with speckled, ratty leaves. I wouldn't do without it, though.

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If I do not respond to your comment right away, it is only because I am busy pulling out buckthorn, creeping charlie, and garlic mustard...