Picking the last really big, fill-your-arms bouquet in autumn is a bittersweet pleasure. Still, it should probably be acknowledged as a seasonal marker, if not celebrated as joyously as the first big bouquet in spring. Although I still have sweet little raspberries, increasingly skimpy dahlias, heliotrope, a few last 'Westerland' roses, and nasturtiums that are actling like it's mid-summer, the garden is mostly winding down.
I felt like I was stripping it clean as I gathered the last of the sunflowers, red and black hypericum berries (leaves stripped off so they’re spikes to stick in last among the flowers already in the vase), dahlias, sneezeweed, crocosmia. The big autumn flowers, like sunflowers with their heavy stems, need a heavy, wide bottomed vase like this two-toned pitcher.
The glossy hypericum berries in red and black spark the autumnal yellows, rusts and gold, but a few sprays of purple and watermelon-colored asters would be the perfect color contrast. As I put this bouquet together I resolved to somehow shoehorn in at least one hot pink 'Alma Poetschke' aster, and a plant or two of the long blooming, purple-blue Aster x frikartii 'Monch' to add to next year's final, bounteous bouquet.