Contributed by Ginny Oakes

On April 11, 2018

The peak of perfection

Aster x frikartii ‘Mönch’ is one of the few asters to have kept its name in the recent shake up of the genus. It is a hybrid between Aster amellus, native to parts of Europe and Turkey, and A. thomsonii, from western Himalaya. There were three seedlings from the cross, raised by Carl Ludwig Frikart in Switzerland around 1920 and named after three famous mountains, Eiger, Jungfrau and Mönch.

Aster x frikartii ‘Mönch’, considered to be the best of the three, grows to about 1m high, is strong and upright so doesn’t need staking and prefers sun and good soil. Individual flower heads, up to 6cm across, are a lovely bright lavender-blue with yellow centres and cover the plant for months from July to October. It is easy to place in the garden as its size, shape and flower colour mean that it associates well with many other plants. It was awarded the RHS Award of Garden Merit in 1993.

Graham Stuart Thomas thought very highly of this plant when he wrote about it in his ‘Perennial Garden Plants or The Modern Florilegium’ and gave it his highest accolades. He wrote, ” ‘Mönch’ is not only the finest perennial aster; it is one of the six best plants, and should be in every garden. (Please do not ask for the names of the other five!)”
How reassuring to know that GST would, like the rest of us, have had trouble deciding on his favourite plants.

However, our members did decide that this aster was one of their favourites, putting it at Number 12 in our Top 30.



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