Western Mountains and High Plains

September, 2004
Regional Report

Favorite or New Plant

New England Aster
The New England aster (Aster novae-angliae) aster includes a large group of plants that can be seen blooming in open fields and along roadsides at this time of year. They are excellent plants for autumn color and for combining with ornamental grasses. They do best in full sun with good air circulation to reduce the onset of powdery mildew disease. Plant in well-drained soils and keep plants compact, if desired, by periodic pinching in the early spring and summer. To prolong the blooming season and keep the plants tidy, deadhead the old, faded flowers. The variety 'Alma Potschke' has wonderful, warm-pink blossoms on 3-foot plants.

Clever Gardening Technique

Plant "Self-Cleaning" Bulbs
If the foliage of tulips and daffodils is a bother to you when it begins to fade in late spring, and you don't like the cleanup routine when the foliage dies back, don't plant these bulbs in your garden. Instead, plant bulbs that have self-cleaning foliage, such as early-blooming crocus, species crocus, winter aconites (Eranthis hyemalis), and common snowdrops (Galanthus nivalis). The foliage of these little gems is thin and unobtrusive. The leaves shrivel up shortly after the flowers are finished. These "self-cleaning" bulbs can save you time and effort at planting time too, since they are planted half as deep as the larger bulbs.

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