This time of year the wild asters are in full bloom. Their pink or purple flower masses line the roadsides, field and forest edges and any other place that is open and unmown. Asters can grow very tall, up to 4 feet or more, before blooming. They need all summer to reach their full height. Other asters stay small, begin blooming early in the summer and hold their flowers until the frosts.
There are many varieties of wild asters in Maine. They are actually classified as Astereae, being New World and not Eurasian asters. Still, their beautiful star-like flower shapes all appear very similar. Some have white petals with yellow centers that bloom for several weeks or more. As the flowers age, the petals take on a purplish or even reddish hue.
Bees and butterflies love asters. I allow many varieties of wildflowers including asters to grow around the property so the wild birds and insects have a natural food source.
The beauty of wild flowers is often delicate and understated, not the brash pageantry of garden varieties. These wild cousins of our domestic flowers will always find a spot in my plantings.