It's unmistakeably fall around Chicagoland, and in terms of native plants that means it's time for asters and goldenrods.
And they look great with shade-tolerant ex-asters, big-leaved aster (Eurybia macrophylla). These have been blooming for about six weeks and are finally starting to slow down. Together they've made a wonderful combination in dry shade.
Smooth blue aster (Symphyotrichum laeve)...
...and Short's aster (S. shortii) are also blooming, and as you can see they share an extremely similar lavender hue.Short's aster is another little-known-but-should-be-better-known wildflower. Like the elm-leaved goldenrod, they're happy in part shade and dry conditions. True to their name they only reach about 2' tall so they don't flop like many taller asters (although in today's rain mine did admittedly droop a bit). I was hoping to get a little more crossover in the bloom times between the Short's aster and my yellow coneflowers (Ratbida pinnata), but these are late bloomers so no luck. Still, they're bringing badly needed blooms to the fall garden!
All of the wildflowers seen here are hardy for zones 4-ish to 8-ish. For more wonderful wildflowers this Wednesday, visit Gail at Clay and Limestone.