A Flurry of Snow in Fall

Today, as I was walking through the gardens, one of our gardeners told me that there was a flurry of snow in her garden. Not to cause alarm, although there has been snow already in some parts of the United States. What she was referring to was the wonderful, creeping aster called ‘Snow Flurry.’ Snow Flurry aster is known botanically as Aster ericoides ‘Snow Flurry.’ Some taxonomists have re-written the asters into several different genera so this one is now known as Symphyotrichum ericoides ‘Snow Flurry.’ The cultivar name is also written as ‘Schneegitter,’ which I assume is German for sneeze getter. Or snow flurry. If I spoke German, maybe I would know the real meaning.

Aster ericoides Snow Flurry

I do know that Snow Flurry aster is a fantastic, late-season flowering ground cover. Aster ericoides is a native plant that reaches a height of 6-8″ in height by 2′ in spread. It has fine leaves slightly resembling Erica plants, thus the common name of heath-aster. This perennial should be grown in full-sun with well drained soil. Snow Flurry is covered with 1/2″ diameter, white flowers in late September into early October. En masse, Snow Flurry makes quite a show when it is in flower. It does look a bit like snow, if you squint really hard, while looking at it through fog, with someone else’s glasses (not that I have ever tried this).

aster snow flurry

Once Snow Flurry aster is done flowering, I would remove all of the spent flowers unless you want tons of aster seedlings everywhere next year. We have a mass growing on a rocky ledge along our Haney Hillside Garden at Coastal Maine Botanical Garden. For the next few weeks, it will be one of the most asked about plants in our garden. Are you growing this fantastic, native aster in your garden?


Images: oakleafgardening.com, bloomingwriter.blogspot.com

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rodney eason

Rodney Eason - Director of Horticulture and Plant Curator at Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens, father of 4, husband to a Renaissance woman. I spent the first part of my life in North Carolina, the middle in Pennsylvania, and now I am determined to become a Mainer  while keeping my southern drawl. I consider the rhetorical question, "you're not from around here, are you?" a compliment. I love great gardens, beautiful plants, and inspiring architecture. Because of this, I am on a lifelong quest to find a garden that artistically combines beautiful plants while being centered around an evocative building. For me, this would be Beatrix Farrand's Dumbarton Oaks, with the plants of Lotusland and Chanticleer, around Fay Jones' Thorncrown Chapel. My wife and I are now making our new home and garden in a 130 year old New England house with a farmer's porch near the Damariscotta River in coastal Maine. When our kids get into college, we want to hike the Appalachian Trail as a family over a summer break. My likes (in random order): the smell of fresh basil and rosemary, bold foliage, India Pale Ale, good running shoes, Top Gear, the smell of New England in the fall (it reminds me a bit of English Leather, which my grandfather wore), and the sound of our family laughing together around the dinner table. I dream of one day owning an old Toyota 4X4 pick-up and seeing the Avett Brothers in concert.
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