More autumn daisies

Although it has been wet and windy at times it has been a mild autumn, so far, with a few warmer days forecast. This is in stark contrast with last autumn when we had frosts at the end of September. We have had a few cool nights down to 5c but all is well in the garden.

I apologise for showing Helianthus ‘Lemon Queen’ again but it is still going strong and looking as fresh as ever, and the tall stems, although slightly splayed, are holding up well against the wind despite not being staked.

Not yet planted but a very welcome new addition to the garden is Leucanthemella serotina, a tall, white daisy. It was a favourite with Margery Fish and I have planted it, in the past with blue Salvia uliginosa – both tall and willowy and flowering late in the year. This particular plant is ‘Herbststern’ which I believe is shorter than the species, which can easily reach 2m in bloom. I will have to see what it does next year before it gets a permanent home, by which time it should be big enough to divide and plant several clumps.

Inula hookeri is a newby too. Last year I planted an old favourite – Inula magnifica – which is, to be honest, not for everyone. I planted it, in my teens, in my parents’ garden and while it is a showstopper in bloom with large brassy flowers on stems 2m high, the leaves are coarse. My plant is settling down and is a clump of large, paddle-shaped leaves 1m across at the moment and I expect blooms next summer. But this little inula only gets to 60cm high and spreads a little by underground shoots and flowers in late summer. The leaves are rough and not exciting but the flowers are charming, as are the buds.

The hardy chrysanthemums are starting to bloom and ‘Elaine’s Hardy White’ appears to be wrongly named. It certainly is not white, although perhaps it will fade as it ages. It has grown well and is covered in buds so I am not distraught. The only problem is that I split my plant and gave one to a friend called Elaine and it might have to be changed to ‘Elaine’s Blush’.

The asters (symphyotrichum) are full of flower now. A few are also full of mildew. Some have been pushed around by the wind – my fault for not staking. I am always banging on about how awful dwarf plants are but I am beginning to see the point. Rosy pink ‘Dietgard’ was a perfect green mound until a week ago and is now covered in cheerful blooms. I still think that it needs a gnome next to it but I will split it this winter and use it at the front of borders as an edging until I decide I can’t stand it any more.

And lastly, a follow-up to the seedling dahlia post a few weeks back. A few of these were planted in the border away from the bulk of them and one, at last, has the dark leaves and white flowers that I originally wanted and expected. I must keep track of where it is and dig it up later this autumn.

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5 Comments on “More autumn daisies”

  1. Paddy Tobin
    October 7, 2021 at 8:51 am #

    Peculiarly, we have been thinking of searching out more dwarf asters! I suppose this is a reaction to two which are well over two metres tall and impossible to stake well. They have been cursed and we have determined to dump them but then they have come into full flower and they are beautiful so the quandary will continue for another year at least with plans for better staking.

    • thebikinggardener
      October 7, 2021 at 9:03 am #

      Yes, my Novae Angliae asters are tall and at jaunty angles. I will divide them all so I can give you some of the short one.

      • Paddy Tobin
        October 7, 2021 at 9:07 am #

        That would be very nice. The tallest one here, Mary tells me now, is Aster laevis ‘Calliope’ – beautiful colour but to dreadfully hard to manage.

        • thebikinggardener
          October 7, 2021 at 9:16 am #

          I did the Chelsea chop on my solidago this year, with good effect (I don’t bother usually because it has become a bit of a cliche and I am just awkward) and I think it may be the answer to some of the asters, maybe even doing it twice or later than usual to keep them sturdier. This year I grew the asters, next year I will try to grow them well. And the dwarf one is not covered in mildew like some of the others so I won’t be passing on my garden problems!

          • Paddy Tobin
            October 7, 2021 at 9:19 am #

            That’s a thought! Mary has just said that we might do that and leave it another year – it has been spared the trip to the compost heap!

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