Saturday, September 27, 2014

Me and Liberty Hyde Bailey

About thirty-five years ago, pre-internet, I got  the three volume set of Liberty Hyde Bailey's The Standard Cyclopedia of Horticulture.  It never let me down when I needed it.  

That set, along with Wyman's Garden Encyclopedia, covered 99%
 of what I needed to know.  (Wyman's is Massachusetts based which worked for me when it came to recommended varieties.) LH Bailey was a writing machine...and what he wrote was good.  Google him and 6 pages of returns are his works...and then you start getting the returns where he was writing in a journal or magazine or with someone else. 

I have been spoiled by the internet.  I don't get up and go to my own library!  If I had I would have posted this already :-)  Once I remembered my old friend (the book, not Bailey) I looked it up online and here is the entry for china asters.  The link is below to the whole volume if you like. He includes such great information - history, opinion and fact.  Here is part of the preface to Volume I.  You can start to read Volume I and find yourself sucked into a fantastic world of people who really know their plants.  Specialists contribute to entries in the Cyclopedia.

LINKS: Aster (not China type) in LHB  
              Aster, China  in LHB ... same as below      


Cyclopedia of American Horticulture, Comprising Suggestions for Cultivation of Horticultural Plants, Descriptions of the Species of Fruits, Vegetables, Flowers and Ornamental Plants Sold in the United States and Canada, Together with Geographical and Biographical Sketches

Thursday, September 25, 2014

An Aster Is An Aster Is An Aster...Maybe

Here are some asters that look more like the popular varieties in the 19th century.  The needle aster to the left is from Seed Empire in Washington State.

I finally found my way to these larger asters by following the label on Mrs. Loudon's color plate posted yesterday. The China Aster is still very popular but it is a plant that needs the right conditions and care.  Traditionally prone to fail from fusarium wilt, it needs a good gardener to keep it happy.

The China Aster, Callistephus chinensis, is the only member of the genus Callistephus in the aster family, Asteraceae.  

An aster is whatever looks like an some degree.  Back before DNA testing that worked.  Check out Wikipedia for the up to date  family reassignments.




Interesting how there are old companies we are not aware of as they deal only with retailers. Sakata, during WWII, sent their seed stock to Canadian business partners for protection.  Their asters are to the right. >

"A Note from Sakata's President and CEO, Dave Armstrong

A century in business matters. Sakata has survived world wars, economic crises and natural disasters to continuously create new standards in global vegetable and ornamental markets. In a marketplace characterized by consolidation, Sakata stands as a symbol of independence, intensive innovation and reliability. 

A century of business matters to Sakata staff, who have shown their commitment through decades of dedication. It matters to our customers, who have become partners, supporting Sakata genetics over these many years, while realizing value in their businesses from our innovation. 

On this momentous occasion, we express our deep appreciation to all of Sakata’s stakeholders. "

I don't know where this next store is, although I am thinking Australia...nice site and fun to read!

Aster. Ostrich Plume.

Higgledy Garden » The Higgledy Garden Seed Shop. » All seeds » Aster. Ostrich Plume.

This a super cool 'feathery' Aster, really unusual and very striking... this will have your neighbours in a jealous rage. It has large flower heads on branching stems, good in the garden, great in the vase.
Also this baby is an early flowerer... what more could you wish for?
Note, these are VERY Barbara Cartland...if you don't like lots of flounce...these may not be the flowers for you.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Aster Pie?

The other day I went to the market for soy milk and came away with a huge pot of asters.  The flowers are small, white, and dark centered...and there are millions of them!  With my glasses off the whole mass blurs into one gigantic aster.  The unexpected treat was that asters attract honey bees!!, not to mention bumble bees and lots of small waspy looking insects that seem to be having just a lovely time in the flowers.  Did you know bumblebees sleep clutching a flower stem?  (I go to work before bumblebees awake in the morning.)

It seems  asters were a much bigger deal 150 years ago.  Doing a quick check by looking at Burpee and White Flower Farm and Google images I see that the simple small, more daisy like asters are what are offered.  That is what I bought.   I must be missing something as these awesome asters from the later 1800s and turn of the 20th century  must be available.  I just don't know enough yet.  Weird though that so little showed in Google images... 


This poorly hand colored  plate is from Mrs. Jane Loudonn's The ladies' flower-garden of ornamental annuals (1849)

And, just so you don't forget what asters look like... the left is "Purple Henry" and to the right is an unknown sort that is just so cute I had to post it!!!


Monday, September 22, 2014

Wonderful Old Photo: Proud Elder With Her Dahlias

"Autumn now wears her crown of dahlias, with as much pride
as Summer her wreath of roses..."

1833 - The Gentleman's Magazine, and Historical Chronicle

20th century photo

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Happy Image from 1922 Ferry Catalog, plus Monet

In 1898, Claude Monet designed a  porcelain dinner service for his own use in his house at Giverny.  He loved a good yellow and  blue combination.  (I don't think this sour image below is quite accurate as to  the exact color...see the yellow room in the link above.)