Tag Archives: autumn flower

Birth of a Montauk Daisy

26 Sep

Montauk Daisies are cheery flowers to behold, even they are sure signs the season is nearing an end.  Cheery they may be, but shy and reserved they are not. When I first planted my two Montauk daisies, they were small little things, but they soon expanded exponentially, smothering a few other flowers in the process. The relatively fragile lilies in their path were no match for the bush-like Montauks. The ease with which the daisies established their dominance reminded me yet again of the importance of checking a plant’s spread. I kept looking at them as they grew, and grew, and grew, asking myself how this came to pass, since they were so little when I first planted them. In this respect, they remind me of my children.

For the past month, I have been waiting very patiently for them to bloom (the daisies, that is). They take their time; the first buds appeared in the center of the lovely dark-green foliage on September 1, but the first flower did not bloom until today. However, it was worth the wait. Here is the birth of a Montauk Daisy:


A Forgotten Flower

15 Sep

Some flowers have appeared in my garden unbeknownst to me. But there are other flowers that I did plant, and then forgot about. These have usually been late-season additions to the garden–discounted specimens that caught my eye when I was at the nursery in the autumn looking for mulch, for example, or a spade, but not flowers. I would tuck these spur-of-the moment purchases somewhere in the garden, with a vow to keep track of  them more properly later. Inevitably,  I forgot even to note their names.

There is currently a plant in bloom in the garden that I have absolutely no record of, though I vaguely remember sticking it in its current, horrible spot by the hammock–an afterthought really, since I thought I would find a better place for it this year. Which I would have done had I developed a plan for it, which I didn’t since I forgot I had even planted it.

It is an aster. Well, technically it isn’t. If you thought DNA testing was only for crime scenes, think again. It also helps with the (re)classification of plants. Genetic testing of asters in the 1990s revealed that all asters are not, in fact, asters. All the North American varieties were reclassified as Symphyotrichum. Not surprisingly, everyone still calls them asters. To further confuse matters, asters are also known as Michaelmas Daisies. Michaelmas is the celebration of the Feast of Saint Michael the Archangel, which is on September 29. Michaelmas was also traditionally the end of the harvest season in the Northern Hemisphere, a time when asters are in bloom. Hence, the nickname.

The forgotten aster (sorry, symphyotrichum) in my garden is a Winston Churchill. It is a novi-belgii– a New York Aster. Not knowing the history behind the naming of this flower, it is nonetheless fascinating to speculate about the possibilities. Winston’s mother, Jennie, was from New York.  So, a nice tribute to his mother. But then, the verbal sparring between Winston Churchill and Lady Nancy Astor, an American-born member of Parliament, was legendary– so perhaps the person who originally named this cultivar had a sense of humor…. Either way, it is a flower that deserves to be unforgettable.

Going Out in Style

31 Aug

Today, temperatures in my neck of the woods hit 90+ degrees Fahrenheit. It doesn’t feel like autumn just yet. It simply feels hot.

However, autumn is in the air, according to my garden. Even though many plants are still chugging along quite happily, the New England Asters (Purple Dome) are now in full bloom. When they make an appearance, I know the garden is embarking upon its last hurrah for the season.

Asters may signal a winding-down of sorts, but they are hardly a retiring type of flower. They are bold, bright, and alluring; butterflies and bees simply cannot resist them (see Cabbage White Butterfly below).  So if a garden is entering the autumn of its life, there is no better plant to usher it out in style than an aster.