Three of a kind
When it comes to late flowering perennials, there are so many to choose from, it can be difficult to know where to start. A rewarding and easy to grow plant, the Michaelmas daisy, or Aster, is one we frequently use. Available in many colours - red, purple, pink, and white, amongst others (some of which I confess to not liking at all!) - one colour stands out as a favourite. Lavender-blue, violet-blue, call it what you will, has a quality about it that I never get bored with. I attribute this to the way the flowers seem to glow when the light is lower in the early morning or late evening, and the 'hazy' effect when viewed from a distance. Three varieties that come in this colour and often feature in our planting schemes are listed below.
Aster frikartii 'Monch'
Reaching about 90cm, with flowers up to 5cm across, this variety is probably my favourite. It does tend to flop, so some support is needed, although if planted towards the front of a border it will spill over nicely.
Aster amellus 'King George'
Similar size flowers to 'Monch', but about half the height, this one is largely self supporting. Useful where a neater plant is required.
Aster 'Little Carlow'
A taller selection, up to 1m, with clusters of small flowers about 1.5cm across. Viewed from a distance you get that effect of a violet-blue 'haze'. Great with taller grasses.
All of these are trouble free, and work well with many grasses, such as Calamagrostis 'Karl Foerster' or Anemanthele lessoniana, and other late flowering perennials such as Sedum and Echinacea.
Posted 21 September 2015
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