Celebrating Saint Michael

The feast day of St Michael the Archangel on the 29th September coincides with the peak flowering season of autumn flowering Asters. Which is how they come by their common name, Michaelmas Daisy.

In America they have other common names such as Frost Weed. The first record of autumn asters being cultivated in this country is 1596 in John Gerard’s Holburn Physic Garden. At this time they were called Starworts.

In Worcestershire, close to the beautiful Malvern Hills, is the Picton Garden, a plantsman’s garden that holds the National Plant Collection of more than 400 varieties of Michaelmas Daisies creating a jewel-like tapestry from mid-September.

I went to visit this little gem last week in glorious September sunshine. Let’s have a look around:


The Garden Entrance

Once through the garden entrance a gravel pathway leads through an old Rock Garden, a mixed border and opposite a raised bed of European Aster amellus cultivars. Immediately you are struck by the colours of this garden.


At first you just see the colours, then you notice the differences between the asters – some with yellow stamens, others with reddish ones, and then there are the petals, some narrow and star-like, others multi-layered and frilly. It’s difficult to know what to focus on.


I am immersed in a jewellery box. Filled with glittering ambers, deep red rubies and sapphires and amethysts of all shades and tones. Rudbeckias, Heleniums and Echinacea add height and autumnal tones, even those that have ‘gone over’.

The garden is continually being renewed and replanted beneath a canopy of beautiful species of trees such as Davidia, silver birch, maples, a tulip tree and magnolias. Ferns and bamboos are planted in the woodland glade and autumn-flowering hydrangea, variegated-leaved phlox and a lovely white clematis frame the entrance to the Black and White Garden where you will find the Michaelmas Fairy.


A garden (and nursery) such as this obviously is a smorgasbord for bees and butterflies, wasps and hover flies and other insects.


I will leave you with this image of a visiting hoverfly on a perfectly colour-matching Helianthus.


 Now hasn’t that brightened up your day?

  • Street:        Old Court Nurseries Colwall
  • Postcode:   WR13 6QE
  • City:            Great Malvern
  • County:      Worcestershire
  • Country:    United Kingdom

More lovely walks can be found over at my friend Jo’s place.

24 thoughts on “Celebrating Saint Michael

  1. What a colorfest for an autumn walk! I especially liked the garden gate and the frilly-petaled asters. Just as I was wondering about buzzes and wings, there they were. Glorious, Jude. Thanks! This is one to bookmark for a virtual walk on a gloomy winter day 🙂

    • Certainly has brightened up my morning. What a stunning garden. Must ask my Mum if she made it here a week or so ago when she was in the Malverns. Hope so as it is just the type of garden she’d spend hours in. Thank you so much for directing me here today.

    • Japanese Anemones are gorgeous, but I have wanted to take photos of this garden for three years as it is only open at this time of year for the asters. I;ll be posting more images of the bees and butterflies later in the week.

  2. What a glory of colour, Jude! I especially like the Heleniums but you have some fabulous captures. That butterfly shot is wonderful! 🙂 Many thanks for sharing. Michael will like it 🙂

    • The Heleniums were gorgeous – such flamboyant flowers, but I really went for the Michaelmas Daisies of which there were hundreds! I’m sure your Michael enjoyed a peaceful weekend 🙂

  3. You have excelled yourself in this one, Jude, both descriptively and photographically. I love the gate, the yellow-striped bee on the yellow flower, the way petals curl at the end, the path shots (with flower shadows), the woven figures, the bright fruits and, of course, the magnificent colours.

  4. Wonderful, thanks for taking us there, Jude. I’ve heard so much about it. Lovely smörgäsbord for the insect, indeed. 🙂

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