I have been watching the first flower develop on one of the mixed Aster ‘Big Boy’ plants borne from a packet of seed that I bought on a whim (was it last year?), sowed this spring and finally squeezed into a corner in the vegetable patch a few weeks ago.
I wasn’t sure that any of these plants were going to survive my rather haphazard sowing earlier this year, as they were somewhat neglected in the frenzy of seed sowing and propagation in favour of the more edible crops. But several seedlings held on and suffered the indignities of erratic attention and late potting on, continuing to grow taller, until I seized the opportunity of a newly vacated corner in the vegetable patch to squeeze two of them into the ground, along with a clutch of echinacea purpurea seedlings, that I think were planted out too late to flower this year, but are still forming lush foliage and looking happy.
I almost missed the tightly packed buds that formed early in August atop the long stems, until the first pale lemon-yellow petals began to emerge from the centre of one tightly packed bud.
I was rather thrilled that they were going to flower after all, and brighten up another corner of our vegetables, in the absence of any flower beds. Two days later, as the petals continued to push their way upwards, a pink fringe appeared around the outer edge of the yellow petals.
Another three days saw the petals continuing to push their way out of the bud, and the pink hue spreading more decisively along their pale fingers.
After another two days of mixed weather, the petals had taken on a more determined pink as they continued to unfurl, revealing a tantalising glimpse of the heart of the flower.
Day by day, the outer petals unfurled and the bloom grew fuller.
It now stands proudly in full bloom, oblivious to the week’s incessant drizzle.
The first bud on the second plant is also starting to unfurl its petals, in a more constant shade of lemon yellow – with no hint of pink.
With many more buds forming on both plants, I’m enjoying this splash of colour beside the grey-green rows of savoy cabbages.