Tuesday, 7 August 2012

Aster to Zinnia

In this highly exceptional year of wet weather, my two stars of the moment are asters and zinnias. Both have germinated well and are now flowering their socks off and look very healthy. Last year I lost my asters to aster yellows disease.  This is a disease that strikes fear into my heart as a cut flower grower.  Very little can be done about it except dispose of the plants before the disease escalates. It is transmitted by aster leafhoppers, a bit like a grasshopper only tiny, measuring about 4mm in length. Thankfully I have not had the same problem with my asters this year but I have had my suspicions that it might have affected my Ammi Visnaga.  One short row grew to a superb height then some just yellowed and/or became stunted.  Ammi Visnaga, is a member of the carrot family and carrots are known to be susceptible to aster yellows disease.  However, I have planted some at the opposite side of the garden and they are healthy.  Aster yellows disease can be a difficult disease to identify as it causes different symptoms on different plants including yellowing, distortion, stunted growth and lack of flowers.

Anyway, back to some positivity, the asters are growing well and I have some good Ammi Visnaga!  Here are some pictures taken today to prove their health.

In this row are Lady Coral Dark Blue and Candyfloss.

I love their ‘collars’ supporting the flowers as they develop in size and colour.  The anaemic looking young flowers remind me of the villi type formation inside a fig.

A scrumptious ball of Lady Coral Dark Blue beautiful in its simplicity displayed all alone.

The two past casualties of aster yellows both shouting in Gloria Gaynor style, “I will survive ...”

And just because I can’t always abide by the rules of ‘less is more’ I’ve added another beauty, thalictrum ... when will I ever learn!

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