ASTER, Shining stars (081)

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The name ‘aster’ comes from Greek, meaning ‘star’. This is clearly visible in the flower itself: its yellow heart looks just like a shining star and is surrounded by delicate purple petals, the ‘shining flowers’. You need to look at them in a different way, but then you will see it: asters are just like shining stars.

If he were able to avoid all the bullets and pitfalls, as well as eliminating his enemies, then he would become the Great Liberator.
“You’re always on that computer, stop now and go and play outside,” called his mother, “stop wasting your time!”
Ast went on playing, oblivious to her comments, ignoring them till eventually his mother let him be. But he was fuming inside: ‘She doesn’t understand a thing about this, and nor does Dad. They should be proud of me. I am one of the most important characters and I’m still getting stronger. There’s hardly anyone who’s as good as me . Why won’t they even try to understand? They think I’m lazy and stupid, but I’m able to concentrate simply that bit longer than anyone else and I’m cleverer than most of them, otherwise I’d not ‘ve got this far.’
He sighed, played on a bit and forgot everything around him. That evening he went on playing in secret. ‘I’m feeling exhausted, but if I go on now just a little longer, then I’ll find the solution for this challenge today.’
Aster saw his character standing in front of a large house by the sea. He knew that stars would play a key role in the final bid for power. But what should he focus on? Were they all important or just one? He felt uncertain and examined all the possibilities. Then Aster fell asleep next to his laptop.
He dreamed he was wandering along the coast. While he was making his way through clumps of lilac flowers, he felt a wet mist on his face and arms. These particular flowers attracted his attention. He knelt down to take a closer look. Yes, from there the yellow hearts with their delicate lilac petals looked just like shining stars. He woke with a start. Yes! The stars weren’t the ones shining in the sky, but in these flowers. That was the right answer. The next morning, feeling really pleased with himself, Aster set off to school on his bike. As he left, he noticed that the flowers in his dreams were also flowering in their own garden. He knew the name, because they looked like those in the dream. Yes, asters are just like shining stars.

In The Netherlands and Belgium there is one type of aster growing in the wild, the Sea Aster, otherwise known as Starwort (Áster tripólium). It thrives best, as the name already suggests, in areas close to the sea, but also on the banks of large rivers. It is a special plant which grows in both salt and brackish water, but can only germinate if the salt water contains sufficient fresh water resulting from springtime rainfall. It flowers in late summer and autumn. The young, salty leaves are edible and considered a delicacy. They are incorrectly referred to as Lamb’s Ears. The true Lamb’s Ear is inedible. The refined and cultivated asters in our gardens originate from the North American aster which also have the same striking yellow ‘star heart’.