Helen Picton is the third generation of Picton’s to be running Old Court Nurseries in Colwall. The nursery has specialised in Michaelmas daisies since 1906, growing, breeding and now preserving these super autumn plants. They are holders of the Plant Heritage National Collection of autumn flowering asters and related genera, better known of course as Michaelmas daisies, with over 420 different varieties. Although raised on the potting bench Helen trained as a Botanist at the University of Reading before returning to the nursery to work full time in 2009. She now runs the nursery and garden with her parents, husband and collie.

The story of Michaelmas daisies from Vergil right up to the modern day, through the hard times and the good. Tightly tied to this is the conception and evolution of Old Court Nurseries the home of the National Collection with more than 430 varieties of these essential autumn flowers. Helen will also give a taster of the diversity of plants covered by the term ‘Michaelmas daisy’ as well as some essential propagation and growing tips.