My paper flower for September is the Chinese aster

Posted by Charlotte Vaughan on

My paper flower for the month of September is the Chinese aster, a native, as it name suggests, of the mountain grasslands of China. It is a member of the asteraceae family and is known as Callistephus chinensis, from the Greek words for beautiful,(kalli) and flower crown (stephus).

Just as the garden is losing its vibrant displays of early summer, the Chinese asters kick in with what can only be described as an explosion of colour and high drama. They make the other flowers that bloom in the latter season, the rudbeckias, helianthus and even its relation the Michaelmas daisies seem a little drab and dowdy in comparison.

It is the first time that we have grown this particular annual. We planted it in March directly into pots and into the ground and promptly forgot about them. The nasturtiums grew up and below in their shadow the Callistephus were quietly progressing, suddenly throwing out their boa-like flowers in pink, red, white, cream and purple taking centre stage at the end of August.

Before the asters turned up, I had been wondering what to make for my September paper flower. I wanted something colourful and fun to make up for the difficult return to school and real-life after an unreal six months. Simply making the flowers made me smile. Choosing from a variety of brightly coloured crepe, carefully cutting the petals, each one a surprise as the flowers all differ slightly in their appearance.

For those who like a little fact to accompany my bluster, the true plants have health benefits also.  In Chinese medicine they are used in the flushing of the liver and improvement of eyesight.  In mainstream medicine they are being tested in the treatment of diabetes.  Asters are supposed to represent love and wisdom, they are the birth flower for the month of September and the symbol of the 20th wedding anniversary.

For those of you looking for a little vase of frothy happiness in your room then I hope that this bunch of bright Callistephus chinensis will give you a summer smile as you tackle the ever darkening mornings and evenings on our approach into autumn.


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