In the garden this week — Asters and Nerines
Life & Style

In the garden this week — Asters and Nerines

Each season’s entrance and departure is seen as part of the gracious turning of the circle of life.

Autumn, the royal season, calls us in now from summer’s work and outdoor enjoyment and in doing so teaches us how to surrender to the emerging shadows and low light conditions.

It will not remain with us for long however and eventually we will move into the gestation period known as winter.

Before then the asters are to be enjoyed especially ‘Little Carlow’ which is wonderful these past few weeks. At the risk of becoming a bore on this particular variety, let me enumerate once more a few of its fine attributes.

To begin it does not succumb to mildew. This kills by shriveling the leaves of many varieties with a fine white coating and it makes their blooms grow small and miserable in the process.

The commonest control is to spray with a systemic fungicide once a month from late spring but life is too short for that kind of husbandry — and in any case I’d never remember the schedule.

Much better I think to plant those that are immune to mildew than to struggle keeping others looking good. ‘Little Carlow’ will delight you every autumn.


Just when you feel you have to throw in the towel — or at least submit to the waves of endless browns and muted orange — along comes a bunch of flowers all dressed up in their prettiest make-up and party dresses.

I await their arrival every September and enjoy their frolicking until the very end of October and later.

I refer of course to the Nerines who insist on having a place to themselves away from more ebullient characters.

When they have these conditions, they will bloom earlier and for longer before eventually producing offsets.

Never be brutal when detaching these for you may damage the basal plate of both mother and child.

Choose a sheltered spot out of drying winds or better still, pot into containers of gritty soil and protect until growth re-commences in late winter.