Welcome to another Blooming Lovely Monday.
As the year moves on my garden reflects the season’s changes. The bright colors of summer are fading fast now and being replaced by the autumnal hues of the turning leaves. However, in one or two places the flowers continue to blossom still. One of the plants that refuses to give up flowering quite yet is the Aster. I have several of these and they are still going strong.
Aster’s are part of the daisy family, but they are not quite the same as the tiny field daisies. Another name for aster flowers is Michaelemas Daisies as they flower through and beyond Michaelmas Day which is the 29th of September. This is a date had a huge significance in the countryside in the past as it was when the harvest should be completed, the animals not intended to over winter were selected for slaughter so the meat could be salted, and a goose well fattened by feeding on the corn stubble was eaten by those who could afford to have one.
This was an important day in the year as one of the four annual quarter days, where rents must be paid; servants might be paid or hired at this date too, hence the Goose Fairs and Mop Fairs held on this date.
Hang on, I know you asking, what about the Michaelmas Daisies? The above bit ties in you see, as these flowers are associated with Saint Michael, protector of light and defender from evil. When autumn days become noticeably shorter these flowers offer a lingering goodbye to the warmth of summer.
Of course Saint Michael is not the only association for this plant. The name Aster comes from the Greek word for “star,” and the star-like flowers bloom in white, red, pink, purple, lavender, and blue, with mostly yellow centers.
One legend tells that a field grew asters when Virgo scattered stardust to the earth. Another legend claims the goddess Astraea, whom Zeus had placed amongst the stars as the constellation Virgo, wept in the skies for the earth that had no stars of its own. It is said that asters bloomed where her tears fell. It seems quite fitting that the aster is the birthday flower for those born in September.
The aster represents love, daintiness, and charm as well as patience. In ancient times, it was believed the odor from an aster’s burning leaves could drive away evil serpents.
Medicinally asters have been used since ancient times for a great many ailments, the one that interests me most is the tincture as an asthma cure. This has been researched and seems to have some merit. If you want to read more about that look here.
And finally in the past asters were used in the dying process to produce yellow though to dark green and gold depending on what process was used.
Whichever way you think about these bright blooms they are a lovely adornment to any garden.
“Aster novae-angliae – Raublattaster” by Haeferl – Own work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Commons – https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Aster_novae-angliae_-_Raublattaster.jpg#/media/File:Aster_novae-angliae_-_Raublattaster.jpg