Hardy Chrysanthemums (Chrysanthemum x rubellum)

Chrysanthemum 'Clara Curtis' - hardy mum
Chrysanthemum x rubellum ‘Clara Curtis’

The most widely grown hardy (or heritage) mum is Chrysanthemum x rubellum ‘Clara Curtis’. It was discovered by Amos Perry in 1929 at Happy Valley Gardens in Llandudno, Wales, where my sister and I often played as children. (Not in 1929, I should add.)

Despite its roots, I see Chrysanthemum ‘Clara Curtis’ far more often in Mississippi than I do here in the UK. It’s a very distinctive variety with luminous pale pink flowers with a touch of lilac. Continue reading “Hardy Chrysanthemums (Chrysanthemum x rubellum)”

Atmospheric Flowers: Blue Asters

Masses of small blue, daisy-like flowers

Some plants don’t just add colour, mass and form to a border, they add atmosphere, nostalgia even. Take old-fashioned blue asters, for instance. Individually, the small, daisy-like flowers are on the raggedy side but their profusion packs a punch. If you can look at this picture without imagining a hum of pollinators foraging the flowers for nectar and pollen, you’re not getting out enough.

When I was a child, I used to know places nearby where asters like these grew wild. In those days, my eye didn’t appraise a plant for mildew or an ample coverage of foliage: I took pleasure in the blue daisies and assumed the grown ups (or Mother Nature) would take care of the rest. I poked a few stems through buttonholes to decorate my cardigan and called them Michaelmas daisies without understanding anything of the long history wrapped up in the name.  Continue reading “Atmospheric Flowers: Blue Asters”