After blithely calling these pretty pink things ‘asters’ all the time I have been raising them, it is only this week that I realised that they are not really asters at all but Callistephus chinensis, sometimes known as ‘Chinese asters’. I knew without thinking about it that they weren’t the Michaelmas daisy kind of aster, but it having been a plant I grew from seed as a young teenager around ** years ago and always remembering it as an aster I didn’t give this discrepancy a second thought. In those days it was Aster ‘Ostrich Plume’ (unlike today’s ‘Milady Mixed), along with mesembryanthemum and clarkia, that I grew but I don’t recall there being much choice at all in seeds.
Looking back though, I can see how I preferred a pinkish palette even in those days, and today’s Chinese asters are an exceedingly pretty shade of pink – a fourth bloom was a soft lilac and it looks as if there will be a white flowerhead to follow shortly. They certainly make very attractive and fullsome blooms, growing on sturdy stems, and I look forward to seeing how well they do in a vase. They are joined by cornflowers ‘Pink’ and ‘Black Boy’, the former not such strong grower as the latter, sweet pea ‘Purple Pimpernel’, a strand of Amaranthus caudatus and a self-seeded umbellifer. I am not sure what the umbellifer with its very dainty flowers and finely cut delicate leaves is as it seems too late for cow parsley – any suggestions?
It is a pleasure to have a sweet pea fragrance in the house again as most recent pickings have gone to friends. Unlike those in the cutting beds these plants, raised from seed collected for the last two years, are still growing strongly. Their bi-colouring seemed to soften the striking pinkness of the asters and provide a link with the other blooms. Today’s receptacle was the heather coloured Caithness Glass rose bowl which has had several IAVOM outings and props were tiny Chinese perfume bottles, genuinely Chinese and not imposters.
During the week I have been picking roses again, many of which are in full bloom once more and nearly replicating their June glory, but such is the quantity of cutting material available generally that another vase will be called for very soon. Whether you have an abundance of blooms available in your garden, a select few or maybe a range of foliage do join us today by picking some and popping it in a vase for your own pleasure – and extend the range of that pleasure by sharing it with us on IAVOM by leaving links to and from this post.