WellesleyWeston Magazine

FALL 2012

Launched in 2005, WellesleyWeston Magazine is a quarterly publication tailored to Wellesley and Weston residents and edited to enrich the experience of living in two of Massachusetts' most desirable communities.

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gardening in bloom greenhouse flower beds the green scene Stars of Autumn RUTH FURMAN writer flora horticulture shrubbery every seasonin the garden has its stars, bold or subtle, and in the fall it's the asters. These fall flowering perennials are sometimes overlooked in favor of the richer, jewel-like tones of the autumnal palette. But the aster comes quietly onto the stage dressed in soothing shades of mauve, lavender, and other purple tones, and serves as a perfect contrast to fiery fall colors. And it's undemanding too: sun and a well- drained site will do for most. Members of the vast Compositae (now Asteraceae) family, they are distributed worldwide in almost all habitats and climates; there are over 600 species of aster with over 200 in North America alone. Asters provide blooms from late summer to frost with daisy-like flowers pro- fusely clustered atop stout stems. Most of the asters found in garden centers today are hybrids developed mainly in England since the 17th century, when botanist John Tradescant returned to England with our native asters, A. novae-angliae, the New England aster, and A. novi belgii, the New York aster, and crossed them with the Italian aster, A. amellus. Hybridizing in England and Germany continued well into the 20th century with other North American native asters also used. The color range of the hybrids is extensive, with every color except yellow. During the Middle Ages asters were called starworts but the hybridized ones became known as Michaelmas daisies in England because they bloom in September during the feast of St. Michael on the 29th. The name aster is derived from Latin for star and refers to its star shape, while "wort" is Latin for root, symbolizing its healing properties. The flowers are botanically 18 WellesleyWeston Magazine | fall 2012 MIMS / DREAMSTIME . COM

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