This splendid class of half-hardy annuals has been vastlyimproved by both French and German cultivators. Speaking generally,
the flowers of the French section resemble the chrysanthemum, and
those of the German the paeony. They all delight in a very rich, light
need plenty of room from the commencement of their growth.
The first sowing may be made in February or March, on a gentle hotbed,
followed by others at about fourteen days' interval. The seeds are
best sown in shallow drills and lightly covered with soil, then
pressed down by a board. Prick out the seedlings 2 in. apart, and
plant them out about the middle of May in a deeply-manured bed. If
plant food be given it must be forked in lightly, as the Aster is very
shallow-rooting, and it should be discontinued when the buds appear.
For exhibition purposes remove the middle bud, mulch the ground with
some good rotten soil from an old turf heap, and occasionally give a
little manure water.
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