Bee-friendly plants series: Aster

Asters are in bloom now, and will persist into the fall. They are the last pollen and nectar feast for bees and butterflies and their seeds will become food for birds. The name aster comes from the latin “astra” meaning star and the flowers are star shaped. Reference sites list dozens and dozens of varieties of aster adapted to different growing conditions: roadsides, swamps, woodland shade, fields. They all look pretty much the same to me and I think they are all bee-friendly. I took these pictures half a mile from where my hives are located, and every clump had one or more bees. Bees use their dance language to communicate direction and strength of pollen and nectar sources so fellow workers can efficiently collect without having to go on random, undirected collecting trips. Timely woodsy factoid: According to the authors of Up North Again, Ojibway hunters camouflaged their scent by smoking aster rootlets to simulate the scent given off by deer. Maybe there’s another cottage industry to rival wacky tabacky? Blueberries available from now on frozen in 5 pound boxes: $15.00 each, three boxes for $40.00 Eleven litre ice cream tubs of juice or wine berries for $10.00. Less than 5k from the Masstown market. Follow the signs.

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