China Asters are Asian wildflowers that have been bred and cultivated over the centuries by European growers. They are not, in fact, actual asters but members of the closely-related genus Callistephus. Discovered in China in 1720 by a Jesuit missionary, the seeds were rapidly cultivated in Europe and grown prolifically in gardens. Decades of inbreeding, however, have made the China Aster susceptible to numerous diseases and fungi in the outdoor garden. With little resistence to pests and plagues, they are now among the more vulnerable and rarely-grown garden flowers in North America.
In arrangements, however, they flourish. Below are some examples of gorgeous arrangements of China Asters from the pages of Martha Stewart Living. I hope you find them as inspiring as I did!
Compatible curves unite a dome of 'Kurenai Dark Violet Purple,' 'Matsumoto Blue,' and 'Giant Princess Mix' with a twentieth-century English lustre cream pitcher. The ceramic's coppery glaze sets off the plum-coloured flowers.
'Matsumoto White,' 'Matsumoto Yellow,' and 'Kurenai White' bring out the highlights of a beautiful pearlware vessel. Orange dahlias and gomphrena supply vibrant contrast.
'Tiger Paws' adds splashes of bright pink to a fiery arrangement of 'Fan Deep Rose' and 'Fan Mix,' 'Kurenai Dark Pink' and 'Super Single Upright Rainbow Bright Mix' with 'Strawberry Fields.' I love the rusticity and simplicity of the arrangement, which would look beautiful in a country kitchen.
A flamboyant Victorian lustre pitcher suits and exuberant cluster of 'Duchess Mix,' 'Super Single Upright Rainbow Bright Mix,' 'Lilliput Blue Moon,' 'Matsumoto Blue Tip White' and 'Giant Princess Mix.' The deep colours of the arrangement are an ideal fall tableau.
Pale blush tones in 'Matsumoto Apricot,' and 'Florette Champagne' are echoed in the decorative scene on an early nineteenth-century English copper lustre bowl.