New England Aster and Goldenrod

New England Aster and Goldenrod

Looking for a breathtaking display of fall color in your landscape? Pair New England Aster with goldenrod! We have bare roots available for both available at the store. 
Goldenrod is a workhorse of the native flower garden, providing ample food to insects late in the season. It does NOT cause common seasonal allergies in the fall as its pollen is large-grained and carried by insects. Plant without fear!
Stiff goldenrod (pictured here) is a sun-loving (full sun to partial) plant that handles dry to medium moisture soils. Stiff goldenrod spreads, which means it's often competitive and has the will to fill out a meadow. Very useful in the right context! But if you want to avoid the spread, plant showy goldenrod instead. 
Enjoy Robin Wall Kimmerer's reflection on the combination of goldenrod and New England Aster from her book Braiding Sweetgrass:

"The daisy-like fringe of purple petals surrounds a disc as bright as the sun at high noon, a golden-orange pool, just a tantalizing shade darker than the surrounding goldenrod. Alone, each is a botanical superlative. Together, the visual effect is stunning. Purple and gold, the heraldic colors of the king and queen of the meadow, a regal procession in complementary colors. I just wanted to know why.

In composing a palette, putting them together makes each more vivid; just a touch of one will bring out the other. In an 1890 treatise on color perception, Goethe, who was both a scientist and a poet, wrote that “the colors diametrically opposed to each other . . . are those which reciprocally evoke each other in the eye.” Purple and yellow are a reciprocal pair.

Growing together, both receive more pollinator visits than they would if they were growing alone. It’s a testable hypothesis; it’s a question of science, a question of art, and a question of beauty.

Why are they beautiful together? It is a phenomenon simultaneously material and spiritual, for which we need all wavelengths, for which we need depth perception. When I stare too long at the world with science eyes, I see an afterimage of traditional knowledge. Might science and traditional knowledge be purple and yellow to one another, might they be goldenrod and asters? We see the world more fully when we use both.

The question of goldenrod and asters was of course just emblematic of what I really wanted to know. It was an architecture of relationships, of connections that I yearned to understand. I wanted to see the shimmering threads that hold it all together. And I wanted to know why we love the world, why the most ordinary scrap of meadow can rock us back on our heels in awe.”

Back to blog