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