Deamon slayer

Today is the autumn equinox and a day to sing the praises of michaelmas daisies

(aster amellus).

In my garden I have showy purple michaelmas daisies and simple white ones and I think I prefer the white ones for the way they blaze light against the dark bushes. Their latin name comes from the Latin for star and the simple flowers sparkle and are absolutely covered in hungry honey bees.image

Their English name is an abbreviation of St. Michael’s mass and the prince of angels who is credited with defeating Satan, is celebrated on 29th September, when the flowers are in full bloom.  I like the idea that such a biblical warrior should be commemorated in this unassuming flower. Old St. Michael’s day was celebrated on 10th of October and when St Michael threw Satan out of heaven, the devil  landed in a blackberry bush and spat in disgust on the fruit, which is why traditionally you should never pick or eat blackberries after that date.  The fact that they have gone mushy and taste bad has nothing to do with it!

On a French note, St Michael made an appearance in Normandy on a rock which is now the famous sea-girt Mont Saint Michael.

I wonder if they grow michaelmas daisies there?

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Making the summer last or gothic inspiration.

 

Most of the flowers of summer fade, but some can be kept all year to decorate the house during the dark winter months.image

I have already written about my favourite dried flower:  Lunaria annula or honesty , which is really the lovely delicate silver inner seed case stripped and  revealed, but other garden flowers will also maintain their beauty for months.image

Hydrangeas come in many shapes and sizes and all of their flowers can be picked, hung up and dried, or if like me, you have no time for dangling plants on a line, you simply pick a few fresh heads and put them in a vase with no water and they will dry themselves – no effort required at all!

imageYellow Yarrow , Achillea millefolium  is equally easy.  Just pick some wonderful sturdy yellow flowers and put them in a vase without water where they dry, unwilted and stay colourful for the whole year.   You can get fancy and make arrangements by combining  white hydrangeas and yellow yarrow, and  make surprisingly elegant gifts in no time at all.

I have had a bunch of yellow yarrow in a vase next to my bath and when lying soaking in some bubbles and gazing up at the underside of the flowers one afternoon, I had an extraordinary revelation about how the medieval builders of Europe came up with the idea of gothic fan vaulting. The supporting stems of the flowers reach up under the flat head of fused flowers in exactly the same way that fan vaulting spreads out from column in the cloisters of Gloucester cathedral.image

I wonder which master builder lay drowsing in a garden and looking up into the yarrow, decided to recreate this botanical masterpiece in stone?