Posted on  by ridgetownrick

It’s fall, the time for Goldenrods and Asters. For this month’s Plant of the Month, I will be covering Smooth Aster – a beautiful purply-blue, prolifically blossoming fall staple in the garden. One of the earlier asters to bloom in my garden, it signals the coming of autumn with its cooler temperatures and fall colours. As usual, the Plant Description and In the Garden sections are courtesy of Shaun Booth from In Our Nature. 

Common Name: Smooth Aster 

Scientific Name: Symphyotrichum laeve 

Family: Asteraceae (Aster Family) 

Alternate Common Names: Glaucous Aster, Purple Aster, Smooth Blue American Aster, Smooth Blue Aster, Smooth-leaved Aster 

ARTICLE: Fall Garden Prep for the Native Plant Garden 

Posted on  by ridgetownrick

The leaves are starting to turn colour, the air is getting cooler, and there are lots of gardening articles being written about what to do with your Canna Lilies and rose bushes and dahlias for the winter. But what about those of us who grow native plants? Do we have to do anything to prepare our plants and flower beds for winter? After all, Mother Nature has been looking after herself for millennia. 

How much fall prep you do will depend primarily on WHY you grow native plants.  

Leave the Plant Stalks 

When I started growing natives, I came from a background of conventional gardening, and the easiest way to put my native plant gardens to bed for the winter was to simply set my mulching mower as high as it would go and mow everything down. The result was a tidy looking flower bed that was ready to emerge in the spring.  

Unfortunately, I also removed important habitat for bees and other insects. 


Book Review: The Gardener’s Guide to Prairie Plants

By Neil Diboll & Hilary Cox 

  • Publisher: ‎University of Chicago Press, 2023 
  • Paperback‏:‎ 644 pages 
  • ISBN-10: 022680593X 
  • Dimensions: 6” X 9” 
  • Price: $47.31 (; $34.99 (Kindle only – 

As both a gardener and a bibliophile, I splurged to buy this book (over $50 with tax here in Canada) because it sounded like an awesome guide to native plants, even if it was for a region slightly west of where I am in southern Ontario. And as a book collector (some might say hoarder) I have lots of books on my shelf that I seldom open after the initial reading.  Was it worth the money? Yes and No.  

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