Lots of Stars

Now that it feels like fall, asters are becoming the stars of Crossroads’ natural flower show. And thanks to the conjunction of volunteers from the Door County Master Gardeners and the Door Peninsula Astronomical Society, star-like flowers will be blooming next year around the Stonecipher Astronomy Center.

In the nature guide, Enjoying Wildflowers, Donald and Lillian Stokes explain, “The name aster comes from the Greek word for “star” but the small-white-flowered species of asters should be named after the Milky Way. They bear such an abundance of tiny blossoms among the roadside grasses that they look like the mass of stars you see strewn across the sky on a clear night. In fact, one legend says that asters are a result of a god scattering stardust across the land.”

Actually, that’s more than a legend. Astronomers (yes, that word comes from the Greek for “star” too) will tell us that indeed, flowers and humans and just about all the matter on Earth are made from stardust. Most elements were formed when ancient stars exploded and hurled materials into space where they became new stars and planets and well, everything we see and feel.

So besides being made of stardust, the new planting at the Stonecipher Astronomy Center are especially appropriate. Barb Henkelmann, a member of both DPAS and Master Gardeners, created the garden design which  includes not only asters, but sunflowers, moonbeam coreopsis, blazing stars, and Stargazer Lilies. Alas, Skyrocket Junipers were not available, but none-the-less, the two groups collaborated under the guidance of Jason Feldman to launch the garden. It promises to produce a galaxies of flowers for light years to come.

A different kind of star hangs in the Chapel at The Heritage Village. The twenty-six point Moravian Star probably originated from a geometry lesson, but this distinctive ornament  is used world-wide during Advent  by members of this Protestant denomination.   Because the Chapel at  The Village is a replica of the Ephraim Moravian Church, in which a  Moravian Star hangs throughout the year, the Door County Historical Society has placed the star in the  interior of the simple white building to recognize  the charming customs of the Moravians.

Perhaps the most cherished custom of the Moravian Church is the Love Feast, which can be celebrated throughout the year.

On Sunday, September 28 at 2:00 the Door County Historical Society invites the community to experience a Love Feast. This  unique Moravian tradition involves the sharing of a simple meal in Christian fellowship. during worship.  The Rt.Rev.Paul Graf, now retired from active parish ministry, many year of which were served in Sturgeon Bay, is still very active as a Bishop in the Moravian Church. This will be a wonderful experience open to all.

Now that insects are (mostly) gone from the forest, we are focusing our outdoor efforts on invasive species. Volunteers (with or without experience are invited to join us Friday and Saturday morning at 9:00 for a good old fashioned buckthorn pull. Wear work gloves if you have them.

The calendar says that Autumn begins on the Monday the 22, so we’ve scheduled a hike at 4:30 to find out. Join the naturalist for this 45 minute ramble through the Crossroads preserve.

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