Daisy, Daisy ...

The rain has been welcomed this summer (how many times can we say this?!!) - I felt like dancing in it but I didn't think this would help to cure my summer cold. The heatwave has been prolonged and intense, scorching the greenery that spreads through the entirety of the UK.  We have had to retain a thorough and strict watering regime to maintain the colour in our gardens, which hasn't always been easy especially with numerous hose pipe bans in force. 


We are now at the beginning of August and unfortunately we will start to notice some of our summer favourites fade. However, this week is all about the Aster - a late and long flowering summer bloom that will grace our gardens way into the Autumn months. 

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.

***

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

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