Michaelmas Daisies

I feel as though summer has barely begun - We encountered a wonderful but brief heatwave a while ago which I was completely unprepared for. I then decided to purchase a few summertime garments - which I have barely worn and probably will not utilise again until next year! I have my fingers tightly crossed for my week off in Devon and Dorset and hope that we might be blessed with some fine weather very soon. There is no hope for a tan (there never is with my pale skin) but I would like to attain a little bit of colour on my ghostly white pins before they're covered up again for winter.

However, I am persevering with this current weather and will not give in to the rain. I still wear my flip flops out and about which can look slightly odd with a jumper but I just cannot bear being cold! The coat is still safely tucked away in my wardrobe however, and will not be making an appearance until Autumn.

I hope that in this weeks blog, I can spread a little summer cheer - The season is not yet over and we can still wish for warm weather. Our gardens should still be full with colour which should offer some consolation, even if we have not been able to sit and enjoy our efforts for as long as we might like.

However as August pushes on, we need to face the fact that some of our summer favourites will fade. With the hope of a longer lasting summer, this weeks blog is about the Aster - a late and long flowering summer bloom that will still grace our gardens well into Autumn.

Aster Beechwood Charm
Greek Mythology will state that Asters originated from the Greek goddess Asterea. Supposedly, Asterea cried from the lack of stars surrounding earth and where her tears fell, Asters emerged - I am so glad they did!

Aster Patricia Ballard

Asters are perennials, annuals or sub-shrubs. They are the perfect addition to a garden for late summer and autumnal colour - which in my opinion, is just what we need at the moment. Sat upon slender dark stems are blooms that burst with vibrant colour with a golden sunshine centre. You cannot help but smile when you see these blooms emerge between companion plants in your borders. 

They are more commonly known as a 'Michaelmas Daisy' or 'Starwort' and are a true bundle of cheer when the days become a little cooler and a little shorter. They are the answer to our prayers with late and long lasting colour to elongate our beloved (and often non existent) summer!

Aster Steinbruck

There are two main groups of Asters - New England Asters (Aster novae angliae) and New York Asters (Aster novae belgii).

What is the difference between these two groups?

New England Asters generally grow a little taller with fine, hairy leaves and thick stems, making them great as cut flowers for the home.
Blooms can be more sparse than New York varieties but will still produce a magnificent display.

New York Asters are generally a little shorter with thinner stems and smooth foliage.
They are more compact and bushy than the New England varieties and will often produce a better profusion of blooms, perfect for use as bedding plants.


Aster Coombe Margaret

You can find an Aster for almost any style of garden including wildflower meadows and cottage gardens or even for a coastal/rock garden.

Planting Asters:

Asters are easy to grow, making them perfect for garden beginners! They are best suited to well-drained soil. If you have clay based soil you may wish to amend the planting area with plenty of compost as this will supplement the existing soil with additional nutrients whilst improving the drainage. Dig a hole that is the same depth and width as the root ball, leaving enough room between companion plants for them to spread and grow.

Once planted, water in well and apply a layer of mulch to keep the soil cool and moist.

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It is as easy as that!

When I start planning my planting scheme for next year I will certainly incorporate Asters to my borders to provide gorgeous late summer colour.

Do you already have Asters in your own beds and borders or have I now convinced you into making a purchase?

I hope that we are blessed with a little bit of sunshine this weekend but in the meantime I will leave you with this little ray of summertime vibrancy:

Aster Quinton Menzies


Have a wonderful weekend! 

becky@hayloftplants.co.uk

Comments

  1. I have really enjoyed this post, as I do with all your blogs. I may well look at getting a few for the hospice garden where I work. We're opening up for NGS in 4 weeks time, so the asters would give some instant colour in a few places where the beds are past their best. Thank you for the inspiration, and hope you have a lovely holiday, JIM (The Hospice Gardener)

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    1. Hello Jim, Thank you for your lovely comment - you have honestly made my day and set me up for the weekend. I am so pleased to have provided a little inspiration. I would love to see some photographs of your NGS open day and wish you all the very best with it! Have a lovely weekend. Becky

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  2. Hi Becky...I echo your comments about Asters..I have some really making a show at the moment in containers, along with Dahlia's. Both will flower into October if the weather is reasonably kind. I quite like late summer and how well these particular plants perform amongst others.
    Enjoy your holiday.

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