26 September 2023
September is one of those transitional months. The autumnal equinox occurs this month, which means for the rest of the year there will be more dark hours than daylight. There are still a lot of blooming plants to enjoy, though. Two of them represent those born in September: aster and morning glory.
Asters bear the Greek name for star from the tale that the god Astrae became upset with how few stars there were in the sky and as she cried her tears that hit the soil turned into aster plants. In Old English it translates to day’s eye probably because it looks much like a daisy. They symbolize love, wisdom, and faith. Once thought to ward off evil spirits, they can bring a sense of peace to your fall garden.
Like so many other flowers we have explored in this series, different colors symbolize different feelings.
- White – new beginnings and hope
- Yellow – fun, playfulness, and good luck
- Orange – health and healing
- Pink – love and affection
- Red – romantic love, of course
- Purple – spontaneity and understanding
- Blue – loyalty
These are actually wonderful wildflowers in whites to pinks and yellows. The New York Aster is native to the area and can reach 3 to 5 feet in height. Many people prefer it to chrysanthemums or as an added attraction for borders. It will also attract butterflies. It frequently blooms around September 29 or the Feast for St. Michael, which earns its alternative name of Michaelmas Daisy.
While it likes a well drained soil (and who doesn’t?), it can even grow in areas of far than less than perfect dirt. It prefers full sun but can handle some shade, and has no serious insect or disease issues. It is easy to care for and a perennial. However, you may need to stake the taller versions and pinch or cut back several times in the spring and summer as long as it is before July, in order to make the plant fuller. If you do this, the blooms will be delayed but be more prolific.
These are vine plants (“when the morning glories twine about your door”) that bloom this month for a surprise pop of color. The flower looks like a funnel or cup and grows in clusters, with quite a few stamens and three pistils.
The legend is that Chien Nin and Chih Neu were lovers who defied the Chinese gods by meeting each other instead of completing their assigned work. The gods relented a bit and allowed them a single day to be together.
Their cheery colors have their own meanings:
- Pink – gratitude and playfulness
- Purple – grace and healing
- Blue – enduring love and intelligence
- Red – passionate love and wealth
- White – healing and peacefulness
- Yellow – warmth and renewal
Because they like to entwine whatever they are near, you may want to be sure they are away from other plants and have their own trellis. They need full sun to open, so adjust your location for the autumn direction in your garden so they receive 6 to 8 hours of good light. If you are in drought conditions, water but don’t worry about the winter. Once planted, they can become quite invasive because they tend to deep roots and will self seed. Their seeds will burrow deep into the ground and will return when you least expect it. They seem to survive even a plastic overlay finding their route through holes.