Now you KNOW I love New England asters. I feature them prominently in photos showing off my garden. I tout them as native plants that require no fussing at all, even in periods of drought. But this year's superdrought taught me to ask one more questions about a plant's (supposed) tolerance for drought. To wit: Will it not only survive but actually look good?
See, after devoting a huge chunk of prime garden real estate to asters all season long and waiting, waiting, waiting for the big pay-off, this is what I got - a scattering of blossoms in a sea of diseased-looking foliage. My hort friends tell me the drought is the cause, so I have a decision to make: either water them more regularly get rid of them altogether. Or, at the very least, devote less space to asters and finding some mid-summer bloomers to include in this prime spot instead. You know how gardeners love an excuse to acquire more plants? I'm looking through catalogs already.
Bottom photo: what I expected them to look like.