With the end of summer’s heat comes the beginning of fall’s color. I love asters and fall brings lots of them. A favorite of mine is Aster novae-angliae ‘Purple Dome.’ Nova-angliae is botanical Latin for New England where this aster is most happy. The flowers are a clear rosy-purple and the foliage is a healthy deep green. Height is close to 18 inches to 2 feet and rarely needs to be cut back to keep the plants compact. Purple Dome’s fame comes from its disease resistance, while most asters suffer from powdery mildew, Purple dome isn’t fazed by it! Purple Dome is a good color contrast to Rudbeckias and a great compliment to Sedums.
Much of the charm of Purple Dome comes from its origin. Discovered by plantsman Dick Lighty, former director of Mt. Cuba in Delaware, whose position it was to map and catalog plants of the Eastern piedmont. Always looking for outstanding plants for American gardens, Dr. Lighty found Purple Dome growing in the wilds of the eastern seaboard, in the days before we discussed GE and GMO’s and their impact on the environment. Aster Purple Dome is a great example of natural selection. And while most of my favorite plant picks are chance discoveries, Dick Lighty’s Aster Purple Dome is a classic example of finding good genetics by observing nature. Purple Dome is a simple plant that simply fits in every fall border.

If you are like I am I love noticing the landscapes of houses and neighborhoods as I’m driving around town. I like to see what people have done but not only give thought to the potential that many homes have for fresh landscape projects. This spring I see many neighbors are going to have landscape projects in common. Living Fences! Since the beginning of March, I have spoken to many people. By far the most asked question has been “what I can do with my privacy screen that isn’t so private anymore”. Many rows of evergreens were severely damaged during our string of late winter storms. In some cases, these wonderful old hedges can be rehabbed but in many more, the only option is to start fresh. In the past weeks, we received many shipments of some of the nicest Emerald Green and Green Giant arborvitaes I have seen in some time. They are bombers, fat and full, with many sizes to choose from. It is so nice to see fresh stock rolling in.

I hope most of you have great neighbors like I do. However, for those of you that don’t, a lush living fence will prevent a Hatfield and McCoy feud from breaking out. None of us want that!

When most of us hear the term privacy we think of passwords and electronics, and handheld devices. Being a plantsman, the first things I think of are living fences and privacy screens. Emerald Green and Green Giant arborvitaes make the perfect living fence. Emeralds have a tall, narrow growth habit maturing to 12-15’ tall and 4’ wide. Their natural shape makes them the perfect choice for planting along property lines. We recommend planting on three-foot centers, this will ensure a dense screen for years to come. Watch out for deer they love Emeralds as well.

If you are in need of a larger screen Green Giant is the way to go. They grow up to 3 feet a year truly living up to their name. They will mature to 25-30’ tall and about 10’ wide. They are very easy to shear if you would like to keep them a bit smaller. We offer them in many sizes from small 3’ tall all the way to 12’ for an instant living fence. Oh, did I mention they are deer resistant!

I invite you to visit us at the garden center and we will be happy to help you get started with your project. We offer delivery and planting services anywhere in the state or we can coach you through the planting process for all do-it-yourself projects as well.

Jason Scire

Nursery Manager