Flower of the Month: September

This is the month of the Michaelmas Daisy, or Aster or Symphyotrichum or whatever name has been decided upon this year.  I mean who is going to remember Symphywhotsit! 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.

There’s a colour to suit every garden – they come in shades of white, blue, purple and pink and they can flower for weeks beginning late summer and into autumn.

Asters

They look great in cottage gardens but also work in more contemporary schemes – they associate well with ornamental grasses. They’re extremely popular with bees and butterflies, too.

Some are compact and clump-forming and suited to the front of a border or a container, others are taller statuesque specimens reaching 2 metres and look best at the back of a border where they can waft over the other plants.

One of the best places to see these plants is in Worcestershire, close to the beautiful Malvern Hills. The Picton Garden is 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 published a post about this beautiful garden in 2014 so please click on the link and head over there for a visual treat.

 

 

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:

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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.

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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.

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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.

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

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

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 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.

Michaelmas

Michaelmas, the feast of Saint Michael the Archangel (also the Feast of Saints Michael, Gabriel, Uriel and Raphael, the Feast of the Archangels, or the Feast of Saint Michael and All Angels) is a day in the Western Christian calendar which occurs on 29 September (Wikipedia)

Michaelmas Daisies or Asters are in flower at this time of the year so the flowers are associated with the start of autumn in the northern hemisphere. They come in colours from pale blue to deep lavender, pinks, mauves and white and the bees and butterflies love them.