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There are quite a few species and varieties of asters out there! The two most commonly encountered asters in the home gardening world are the New England aster (Symphyotrichum novae-angliae) and the New York aster (S. novi-belgii), but you will see a range of hybrid varieties available in showy pinks, blues, and purples at garden centers. “Wild type” species native to your region may also be available and are generally a wise choice for the ecologically-minded gardener, despite them not being quite as flashy as the cultivated varieties in some cases. Learn more about recommended varieties further down this page.
The most common asters available in North America are the New England aster (Symphyotrichum novae-angliae) and the New York aster (Symphyotrichum novi-belgii). Both of these plants are native to North America and are great flowers for pollinators. We recommend planting a native species of aster over a non-native species when possible, so talk with your local Cooperative Extension or garden center about which species are best suited to your area. Sweetgrass (Hierochloe odorata) has a sweet, long-lasting aroma that is even stronger when the grass has been harvested and dried and is then moistened or burned. In the Great Lakes region, Sweetgrass was historically referred to with the Latin name Torresia odorata (Densmore 1974). There is also a western species of Sweetgrass (Hierochloe occedentalis) that grows in redwood areas. Other common names for Sweetgrass are Holy Grass (or Mary's Grass), Vanilla Grass, Bluejoint, Buffalo Grass, and Zebrovka.
Burned as an incense, sweetgrass is valued for its vanilla-like scent. Clippings of sweetgrass are usually braided and then dried prior to burning. When burned for healing or ritual purposes, the smoke from the braided sweetgrass is thought to attract good spirits and positive energies. It is used as a smudging tool to purify peoples auras, cleanse objects, and clear ceremonial areas or healing spaces of negative energy. Sweetgrass can also be carried or worn as a protective amulet. The plant is also used in basket weaving.Maangchi, I have a suggestion for you. When you boil, or steam vegetables, or even when you soak dried vegetables, you don’t need to throw away the water that remains. If you have any house plants, they will really appreciate this water. Many nutrients go into the water during cooking or steaming. The soil in the pots for houseplants can always use these beneficial nutrients. Just make SURE the water is cool before giving it to your plants. Don’t cook their roots! (Source: www.maangchi.com)