Michaelmas daisies are almost too well known to need any description, though the novice ought to be informed that there are other daisies of the family known as Asters, which should find a home in the garden, in addition to those that flower in late autumn. There are some dwarf enough to be regarded as true alpine plants, and there are others of medium height suitable for the front of the mixed border.
The cultivation of all these asters is the same. (N.B They should not be confused with China Asters, the correct name of which is Calistephus.) They are particularly hardy and, apart from the fact that they do like plenty of moisture, they can probably be grown in any kind of soil. A fairly rich heavy loam is the best, and small plants when purchased in autumn or spring should be set from 1 ft. to 18 in. apart according to height. When the new shoots appear, limit them to make the remainder stronger, and a better shape. Exhibition flowers of Michaelmas daisy are grown with only one flower spike to each plant. The result is a spike of perfect symmetry and much greater beauty than when the spikes are crowded.
Flowers of every shade of blue, white, mauve and pink can be obtained amongst the Michaelmas daisies. There is no true yellow amongst them, but if a border is to be planted entirely with this class of plant, the tiny yellow Aster luteus, which is really a cross between an Aster and Solidago, can be introduced to provide relief.
A good collection for the novice would be: Anita Ballard, soft china blue.
Beauty of Cohcell, deep lavender-blue.
Blue Eyes, rich blue with small eye.
Countess, rose colour.
Little Boy Blue, semi-double flowers.
Little Pink Lady, semi-double pink.
Ruby Tips, rich-rose, single.
Snow Sprite, semi-double, white.
Tousle, double lavendcr-mauve.