Autumnal Asters: A Garden Visit

Today was one of those real autumnal days with the mists hanging in the air until  lunchtime, everything damp and the leaves beginning to take on their autumnal hues.  I have been meaning to visit Old Court Nurseries to buy some more Asters for the Daisy Border and discovered that today was their last open day of the year so instead of struggling with damp soil and wet leaves I popped over the hill to Colwall for a quick visit.

Old Court Nurseries is renown for Asters which are displayed in the Picton Garden adjacent to the nursery. Today the garden was also open for the NGS and the car park was quite full despite the mistiness and cold snap in the air.  I have only visited at the start of the Aster season before so it was particularly interesting to visit at the end for a change.

Whilst the gardens feature Asters there is also an interesting collection of Acers and other shrubs which looked good in the Autumn.  As you can see, despite these photos being taken at 1pm, it still looks quite  fresh and damp due to the mist just clearing.  I did like this combination of the dark Acers with the light leaved shrub in front although I forgot to see what it was called since my focus was on the Asters.

I really noticed this visit the range of flower size as well as flower colour of Asters.  The Asters I bought two years ago have larger flowers like the one in the above photograph.  I  think this grouping shows how good Asters are with Rudbeckias and grasses, a lovely late summer combination.

However, I found myself more attracted to the tinier flowers such as Aster cordifolius  ‘Elegans’ and my favourite Aster at home is the Aster umbellatus, a species variety with tiny white flowers.  They are daintier and less brash,  compared to Echinacea and Rudbeckias you couldn’t really call any Asters loud and I find myself drawn more and more to these quieter and gentler flowers.

But The Picton Gardens isn’t all Asters, although nearly, there is a tropical feel in one area with large bamboos, a huge Tetrapanex papyrifera and more wonderful Acers.

The garden is quite small and consists  of a series of smaller areas linked by paths which twist and turn making the space feel much larger.  It is a real late summer/autumn garden.

So if you are in Worcestershire/Herefordshire next year in late summer/early Autumn I would recommend stopping off at Pictons  and maybe buying some Asters,  a plant which I think we should be planting more of.

English Country Garden (Aug 09) Stockton Bury


I was enchanted this week when I finally visited Stockton Bury gardens near Leominster in Herefordshire.  I have been meaning to visit this garden for about 2 years now having seen several magazine articles on it so as I am on annual leave this week and the weather was good I decided to go and visit.  Usually I visit gardens with my sons or more recently my garden club.  However, my sons are nearly adult now and have busy lives so I decided the time had come for me to venture out on my own (I’m a single mum by the way).  I don’t know why I was so nervous as I have been on my own for a long time but there was something about walking round a garden on my own that made me apprehensive.  I needn’t have worried once I arrived and started to walk around I was completely caught up in the planting I saw. 


The top picture shows a view of the Pigeon House Garden which was the size of many domestic gardens.  I liked the way the borders were shaped so you were encouraged to explore further and couldn’t see the whole garden in one go.  I could have spent all afternoon just in this bit of the garden but I continued past the vegetable garden and fruit cage


and eventually came to The Dingle.  This includes a large pond and rill.  Again the planting is very lush and quite decadent.  All my favourites were there including Ligularia, Lobelias and Salvias.  There were also some very vivid blue Campanulas which was quite breathtaking.  Throughout the garden I noticed that a lot of Eryngiums had been used and it was interesting to see how the blue of the flowers acted as a backdrop to so many other colours.  In particular I was struck by how well the contrast with the red Crocosmia EmberGlow worked.


Considering that some people say that gardens are past their best come August as the roses have gone over etc I think this garden is a testament to how with careful thought a garden can look stunning all year round.


Eventually having wandered around and taken loads of pics and soaked in the atmosphere I wandered back to the entrance and plant sales area (in the building to the right of the pic below).  Needless to say I succumbed to some plants: Crocosmia EmberGlow, Helenium Moerheim Beauty and Actaea Rubra.  I will definitely visit this garden again buy earlier in the year so I can see the Iris Bed plus the Japanese water irises .  For my first sole outing it was OK but I didn’t stop for a cup of tea and I think if I had had one of my garden chums with me we would have spent more time discussing the planting.