Aster 'Professor Anton Kippenberg'
Aster ‘Professor Anton Kippenberg’

Yesterday I had a lovely day out with my friend Victoria.  Firstly we went to Hampton Court which I blogged about last week but the main purpose for our excursion was because Victoria was “desperate” to buy Asters and was despairing of finding any apart from the bulk standard dwarf varieties that you find in garden centres.  I had promised her a trip to Old Court Nursery over the hill from me in Colwall which is home to a national collection of Aster novae-angliae and is known for the variety of asters it grows, breeds and sells.

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We were a little early in the aster season to see the national collection in full flower but they should look amazing in a week or so.

Michaelmas Daisy Fairy
Michaelmas Daisy Fairy

Throughout the garden are willow sculptures by local sculptor Victoria Westaway and I particularly like the Michaelmas Daisy Fairy which is a centrepiece.

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I was intrigued to visit the Picton Garden as I know Helen and Ross have had a major overhaul and the last time I was there in late April/early May the majority of the garden was bare soil where Ross had been clearing with a digger. At the time I thought they were mad but as you can see from the photos in this post they weren’t and the planting is stunning considering how recently it was put in.

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I love the way they have planted the asters amongst other late summer perennials including grasses to show how well they work in a mixed herbaceous border. The aster, Japanese anemone and crocosmia combination above was one of my favourites.

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You can see how well the aster work with grasses and it is a pity they aren’t incorporated more into the new perennial plantings schemes, often called prairie planting.

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The planting also reinforced my feeling that I need more blues and yellows/oranges in my borders. We were meant to be looking at varieties that might work in Victoria’s garden and I wanted to get some shorter varieties to go in front of some tall asters I had bought a few years back who needed their feet disguised but I was so distracted by the planting I kept forgetting to look at particular plants.

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We did notice that some varieties were more prone to sprawling than others so would be in need of staking more.  In my garden where tall plants seem to mysteriously develop a leaning nature I have to be wary of the taller plants or deploy a lot of stakes so the more self-supporting varieties are needed.  Some of the varieties that sprawl seem to do it more gracefully than others and it is therefore good to see them growing in a mixed herbaceous border so you can see how they grow and which will suit your own garden best.

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I am pleased to report that we came away with a car full of plants and both pleased with our purchases.

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