Grassland gardens are Aster-nomical

When your poor dismal garden in October is as it was in July – and is as it was in April and in January – it hasn’t changed much through the year and you’ve worked hard to keep it that way – you probably need to brighten up your life with some asters and grasses.

When the first October breezy cool-snap cool front interrupts our absurdly long southern summer, it happens to coincide with the most magical time in the grassland landscape, the climactic crescendo of fall. The idea of establishing native grass gardens that have lots of wildflower species can be highly entertaining and enlightening. If you’re designing a garden for year round enjoyment you use multiple species and lots of seed grown native grasses and grass-like plants.

Grow wetland meadows and upland meadows and surround them and bisect them with fine textured lawn paths and open spaces of lawn and other for human circulation and enlightening enjoyment, outdoor entertainment. Composites flowers attract uncommon insects – and humans.

Asters make it fun! Roughleaf Goldenrod and Bluestem grass, Swamp Sunflower and Guara, all from seed, on exhibit at the Oswalt Nature Trail in Wesson, Mississippi, October 10, 2018.




Cajun prairie Restoration site focus

“The goals of this garden include not only representing a historical view of the prairie but also creating habitat for birds, butterflies and bees. I would like it to be a grassland in which you can view it across the site from one corner to another no matter what direction–a sea of grass intermixed with a variety…of wildflowers.”

Malcolm F Vidrine, 2018

flight over Cajun Prairie Restoration Project site on an early August morning, flying over compass plants, giants stands of Cacalia, and sugarcane plumegrass, Brown seed Paspalum patch, etc, via youtube below. nice.



floriferous Covington interpretive Park is open to all to enjoy and study

Swamp Sunflower at the Blue Swamp Creek Nature Trail bioretention basin, Covington, L




common composite Aster praealtus dresses as mild mannered aster but does really wonderful things!!!!

the spectacularly prolific Aster praealtus, Willow Leaf Aster, a cut above the rest


Aster praealtus, Bushy Bluestem grass, Canada Goldenrod, Evergreen Goldenrod, Little Bluestem grass, Broomsedge Bluestem grass in John and Evette Rosen’s hay field, Carriere, Mississippi

From 400 feet up over the hay field, common purpley pleasant Aster praealtus is really a striking visual to behold.                  photos by Marc Pastorek



  photos of Asters at the Covington NatureTrail, Covington, La October 20, 2018

visit often, a flowery event every day at the Park!

above, Eupatorium hyssopifolium, left, and golden yellow Euthamia, right

aster Bigelowia nuttallii, Nuttall’s Rayless Goldenrod and white Aster dumosa/laterifolia (Covington Nature Trail) – and


one of a fading few new first-year-flowering aster Liatris squarrulosas I found at the Park in the breezy cool fall weather.

on the left, above, in the bio-basin is a large colony of Horned Beaksedge, Rhynchospora corniculata. A midslope area of Bog species and a dry slope to the right (west) side of the bio-basin that has been planted with seed  that my partner Jim McGee and I harvested from rolling hills of the botanically rich areas  at The Sandy Hollow Wildlife Management Area State Park in November of 2016.

the whiteness of Aster divaricum or pilosum (above, and below) millions of Aster flowers.


Coreopsis linifolia, with grassyness below


silverfoliaged Golden Aster, Chrysopsis

There are many yearling non-aster Lobelia puberula in the biobasin and possibly brevifolia and, above, the blue corolla Lobelia floridanum.

                                         Quite a show at the BioBasin!


at the western edge of the distribution of Gaillardia aestivalis is…

….the highly variable, in color and form, aster Winkler’s Gaillardia, 20 year old plants in my Farm field in Mississippi.


                           Covington garden asters Blue Mist, Eup Coel

              Mikania Climbing Hempvine is fragrant, atttractive and a host plant to pollinators

                                                   Hempvine honeybee


enjoying the flowers, the flowering parts of an inflorescence of Yellow Indian grass this week

Aster corolina, climbing Aster, blooms with the arrival of Monarch migration, along with Aster Praealtus

Dragon flies eats pollinator, uses Monflower as dining table! Ipomoea pandurata, Wild Sweet Potatoe Vine adds beauty to the garden in day, and light to the garden at night.

had fun with growing seed Dr Allen gave me of Gomphrena this summer, I grew it with Cramer’s Amazon Celosia puncuated with Purple Majesty Salvia

what a blast to see so many Long tail Skippers using so many plants Gomphrena left and Celosia right. So many plantsand so many butterflies with so little work.

Monarch butterflies in my Cramers Celosia after the rain, just went outside and counted five, today is October 25, the best week of the year for Monarchs. Get outside.

a species of Spiral Ochid in my backyard from a trip to the Black Belt prairie region some years ago. Growing like a champ in my back yard gardens.


The long awned seed of Elliot’s Indian grass harvested from the garden today, seed originally collected from Washington Parish, Louisiana, from the Pine herbaceous understory vegetation there at LSU’s Lee Memorial Forest in Midway, Louisiana


Made the cut into the new Grasslands of the Southeast Biodiversity, Ecology, and Management book

A big thank you to Malcolm Vidrine, Charles Allen, Bruno Borsari, and Gail Barton for the pleasure of doing this written project with you. I couldn’t have done this without their assistance and persistence.

Here is Dr. Charles Allen and Stacey Huskins’ general map of the prairies of Louisiana which did not make it into the Chapter Dr. Allen wrote. I’ve been waiting for this book and especially this map for the six long years it took to finally see the book in print.

Prairies of Louisiana, Charles Allen and Stacy Huskins, 2012


Bushy Bluestem Tomb Prairie in New Orleans, Lafayette Cemetary 1, Oct 2018, Bushy Bluestem grass and associates find cracks in which to reside. A grave garden, right next my family tomb, the Schlogel Tomb. Stranger things have happened….

I hope you have a fantastic fall. Its always prettier outside…..

Sunflowers are funflowers!


2 thoughts on “Grassland gardens are Aster-nomical

  1. Marc, Congratulations on the growth of your prairies. I know it has been a long hard “slog”, but you have seen the fruit of your labors!  I also wanted to know where I could get seed for the Eupatorium h? Also the Gaillardia is most unusual and beautiful! Keep up the good work.  Mary Donahue

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