I was delighted when three invincible seedlings finally produced blooms in three different colours. The dark lilac was my favourite, but I collected seeds from them all to help re-produce their offspring.
|Double asters in 2011 - grown from packet seeds|
I definitely remember collecting the seeds but not planting them. Anyway, two of my seedings planted this spring and propogated on the window sill of the visitor's bedroom, went on to produce daisy-like flowers. I didn't recognise them till a third plant with the same leaves presented a familiar, fluffy white pompom. Then I realised that the first two asters had reverted back to their ancestral single-form. If I was a statistician, I would be able to calculate the probability of re-producing flowers the same colour as the previous generation from an envelope containing a pinch of seeds of each. I'm guessing its 1/3 x 1/3 x 1/3 = 1/9 (assuming that there were the same number of seeds in each pinch and more dubiously that offspring have flowers of the same colour). I can't guess the probability of the offspring of a double aster reverting back to a single with the same colour. I suspect that most gardeners don't bother themselves with such calculations.
|Aster variations in mid-autmn 2012 - grown from double aster seeds produced last year|
After the carefully propogated asters died, my attention was drawn to the wild asters which were still in their prime, the only autumn flowers left apart from perennial sunflowers and fading sedums and hydrangeas. The wild asters, held behind the bars of the gate of my front garden, protested against the flowerless car-parking space. While those in my mother's garden challenged the sunflowers by climbing up through a rhododendron bush. I didn't even realise that these were in the aster family till I read US blogs where New England asters are celebrated as a native plant which attracts Monarch butterflies. Even these are dying back now.
|Late-Autumn 2012 : Wild or New England Asters ?|
|Yesterday - a wild aster waiting for a migrating Monarch butterfly|