Cornell Lawn Care Library
A great source of information on all aspects of lawn care for our region, Cornell Lawn Care Library covers basics such as how grass grows and choosing the right lawn grass, maintenance topics such as mowing, fertilizing, watering and dealing with leaves, and troubleshooting advice on coping with shade, thatch, weeds and many other lawn ills. There's even advice on choosing a lawn care service.
Favorite or New Plant
Plants that get my top rating are ones that are long-blooming, trouble-free and have gorgeous flowers to boot. Frikart's aster (Aster x frikartii) fills the bill. This perennial, which begins to bloom in midsummer- early August in my garden- is covered with narrow-petaled, daisy-like, 2-3 inch wide flowers of the softest lavender-blue imaginable. Borne on a bushy, 2-3 foot tall plant, the flowers keep coming until frost. And unlike many other asters, Frikart's aster is not troubled by mildew and doesn't lose its lower leaves. I grow the cultivar 'Wonder of Staffa', which some sources say needs staking, but mine has always stood up fine on its own. The other widely available cultivar, 'Monch,' is reputed to be more self-supporting and its flowers are a little lighter shade of blue. Hardiness ratings vary from source to source; some say zone 4, others zone 5, but my plant thrives in zone 4 with no added protection. Excellent winter soil drainage is a must, however.