Arrivederci, Aster


Asters collectively linger through autumn as other, more sensitive plants succumb to lower temperatures and lessened light, but the life span of individual flowers is relatively short.

Seen against the glow of a Gulf Coast camphor daisy, this tiny, half-inch wide aster already has begun the transition to seed head. The tendency of its ray flowers to resemble curled ribbons on a special package brought to mind a different title for this post, but ‘curl up and die’ seemed unkind. An affectionate and alliterative ‘arrivederci’ seemed better, although it will be other asters arriving to decorate next year’s spring.


Comments always are welcome.

44 thoughts on “Arrivederci, Aster

    1. There’s another aster that I’ve seen as late (or as early) as January, but it clearly was an outlier. Most seem to disappear by December, depending on the weather.

      On the other hand, the camphor daisies will continue to bloom even while they’re setting seed, and they regularly go well into winter. This photo was taken on January 5 of last year.

  1. Goodbye indeed. But whether we say arrivederchi, auf wiedersehn, hasta la vista or au revoir it means we will have every expectation that we will see them again. And so we shall.

    1. As the Beatles put it, “You say goodbye and I say hello.” Without the goodbyes of autumn, the delightful hellos of spring wouldn’t be possible. it’s true for plants, and of course true for migratory creatures, as well. Some of the same birds you’ve waved goodbye to are arriving here; in time, they’ll turn and leave us as well — but only for a season.

    1. As beautiful as fully blooming flowers surely are, their entire life cycle can provide some arresting images. Seedheads always appeal, but these “in-between” times are interesting, too. I’ve not noticed until recently how many butterflies and bees visit even fading flowers. They may not be as beautiful to our eyes, but they’re still useful to the insects.

  2. Oh I agree ‘curl up and die’ would be bad! Maybe that expression originated from the plant world? The dying flower does look rather artistic against that burnt umber glow though.

    1. I had a hard time keeping the yellow from overwhelming the little flower. I’d have preferred a different background, but this was the only accessible curly flower I could find, so yellow it was. I wish I’d been able to get more in focus, too–but you know how that goes.

      I couldn’t find much on the origin of the phrase, although it seems to date back to the mid-1800s. Most references had it associated with embarassment. Of course, it can be used positively, too, as in phrases like “curl up with a good book.” There’s nothing bad about that!

      1. Yeah funny how you get an idea about things and then the amount of specimens not flush for the idea and you go with what you have. But, I find that golden glow quite artistic . I’ll admit the flower might pop more off of blue but the yellow stand out as different and painterly somehow. It works.

        Well curl up and die seems more to reference wilting as a leaf will curl when drying up. And curl up with a good book goes to being cozy maybe even in amniotic warmth or something? Funny all the expression we have that at some point might make one wonder who said it first!! Maybe true of any great phrase.

    1. I still can smell those home perms. Thank goodness they’ve fallen out of favor. On the other hand, there are a lot of clever people out there who’ve named their beauty salons ‘Curl Up and Dye.’ They’re everywhere: Tyler, Texas; Newport, Rhode Island; Las Vegas, Nevada; Green Brook, New Jersey; Lake Mary, Florida. I’m not sure any has incorporated an aster into their logo, though.

    1. Just this week, they’ve begun to cover the lawn at the yacht club where I’m working. I think they might be this species, actually, since this one does set up shop on the fringes of the property — it’s just that in the very well mowed lawn, they’re forced to bloom only a couple of inches above the ground.

    1. I enjoy seed collecting, although I rarely do it. If I had a garden, I certainly would. Do you use them on your property, or do you have enough for seed swaps and such?

    1. Thanks, Derrick. I’m really enjoying trying out some new photographic techniques. The results aren’t always exactly what I imagined, but the process is great fun.

  3. The heath asters are showing off in the ditch of our ROW. Sometime I’d like to spend time getting to know them a bit better.

    And perfect setting with the camphor daisy in the background to light it up!

    1. There are so many asters. Trying to sort them can leave me as confused as the grasses and trees. Still, learning what one “isn’t” can be a great step toward learning what the next one “is.”

      The camphor daisies and goldenrods certainly do light up the season — as well as delighting the various insects that are swarming them just now.

  4. “Curl up and die” does sound cruel, Linda! Since asters are my birth month flower, I have a particular fondness for them. Perhaps I ought to try growing some next summer. Depending on the variety chosen, they could look gorgeous!

    1. If you plant some asters, go with ones that are native to your area. I just read this fine article, and I’m ready to start planting, myself! There’s quite a variety, both in color and size, and given the way our native asters spread, your biggest problem might be keeping them under control.

        1. One thing I didn’t realize until I began following some gardeners in the past couple of years is how much planning they do. I’d forgotten that my grandparents read their seed catalogues in winter the way I read the toy section of the Sears catalogue. Grandma always said a garden is a triple pleasure: first we plan, then we plant, and then it produces. I’d forgotten her little saying, but it’s true.

    1. Shakespeare’s words would apply, don’t you think? “Age cannot wither her, nor custom stale her infinite variety.” I’m glad you like the photo. It’s not quite as crisp as I would have liked, but I love that “sun” shining behind the flower.

  5. Glad that you still have your asters, as well as daisies, although it sounds like their end is nigh. Ours all faded weeks ago and now their seed heads shine with glistening frost. Nicely done image, Linda.

    1. Everyone’s excited about the ‘cold front’ that’s arriving tomorrow, but when I checked the forecast temperatures, we’re still some distance away from glistening frost. I don’t think this week’s lows in the 40s is going to do it. There’s a possibility of a hard freeze next week, so there may be glistening frost on the varnisher — a rare, but not unknown species in these parts.

  6. A lot of flower petals have an “airfoil” shape in cross-section that holds them rigid. Evident these don’t. They’d have to be flat in cross-section to curl like that. God is in the details (to coin a phrase).

    1. And every time I see these curled petals, I can hear the sound of scissors pulling across curling ribbon. It’s a good thing nature doesn’t have to do that. It would take a lot of time to curl all those petals individually!

    1. It’s even more pleasurable to look at it today, as we’ve turned gray, and rainy, and windy, and the cold is coming. These bits of color will become even more precious as winter weather builds in.

    1. And a good number of us don’t want him to leave, either. But time is going to do what time always does, and by the time the near-freezing temperatures get here this week, he’ll have plenty of friends joining him in decline.

  7. This was one of those “I wonder if I can do that” photos. It’s not that the flowers are so small — it’s that once the petals begin curling, it’s harder to get all of them in focus. But I was happy enough with this first try.

  8. I guess they do curl up and die, but that does sound horrible. Our aster lingered too – it was a thrill to find one still blooming a week or so ago, along a shallow lakeside that the sun warms up in the afternoons.

    1. Well, I suppose the ‘death’ is relative, since the flower fades, but the seeds endure. Without the completion of the cycle, there wouldn’t be any of those spring flowers you love!

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