A Different Kind of Field: Blue Wood Aster

Buying my first house has resulted in a long list of firsts of things that I never had to worry about when I rented. Among them is lawn care: a mixed bag of things I’d rather not do (Mow 1/2 an acre with a push mower? Pass.) and things I wish I knew more about and for which I had more time (Pretty flowers!)

One of the projects I am most excited about is the garden I’ve begun in my side yard. I have two large pine trees that shade the entire area. Grass isn’t fond of growing there, so I needed anoption besides leaving it a mess of mud, pine needles and weeds.

My mom suggested an idea I immediately loved: A native plant garden. Native plants are a wonderful option for a gardener that doesn’t have hours to spend tending to delicate flowers or needy shrubs. It sounds obvious to say it, but plants that are native to Indiana are made to grow in Indiana. They like the soil, have low water needs and are built to withstand the nasty Midwestern winters.

Native plants are low maintenance.

The only problem is finding them.

Native plants aren’t usually found in the larger lawn and garden stores, but there are a few local plant sales that I’ve become aware of since this adventure in gardening began.

INPAWS’ (Indiana Native Plant & Wildflower Society) Native Plant Sale & Auction

Hamilton County Master Gardeners Association Annual Plant Sale

2015 was the first year I attended either event and I can’t wait to go again. I will be much better prepared (bring a wagon to carry your purchases, TRUST ME) and probably not as overwhelmed. I don’t know that you can really plan, because you never know what you’re going to find. Just know that you will find something lovely.

Every Colts fan probably wants a little blue and white in their garden. This past weekend I got this:

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Blue Wood Aster - Purchased at the Hamilton County Master Gardeners Association 17th Annual Plant Sale
Blue Wood Aster – Purchased at the Hamilton County Master Gardeners Association 17th Annual Plant Sale

BLUE WOOD ASTER (Heart-leaved Aster)
Aster cordifolius

Late blooming perennial for the border, wildflower, native or cottage gardens. Rich blue blooms. Attractive to butterflied. Low maintenance.

Light: Shade/Part Shade
Height: 36-48″
Spread: 18-24″
Blooms: August-September
Color: Blue

My plant is just a baby at the moment, but eventually I’m hoping for a pretty spectacular display.