As far as fall bloomers go, I'll take asters over mums any day. They're tough, reliable and VERY companionable. They enhance the beauty of almost anything you plant with them.
Using this delicate lilac-pink aster as my muse, I put together this fall display adding one plant and then another as the season and the colors moved me. Pink might not be a traditional color of fall, but it is prevalent in the early autumn gardens of Oklahoma and Texas. Echoes of the hue are everywhere.
First I noticed how well the aster's delicate foliage and pale-lilac blooms looked with 'Silverado' Texas sage and that shrub's rounded, silver-gray leaves and abundant deeper-gray flowers.
To this pairing I added the deep-purple (and beautifully ruffled) leaves of Purple Ruffles basil, pictured. Its fragrant, intensely colored leaves make the lighter colors in the sage and aster really stand out ... and provide a great play of textures.
In many ways I like the dainty aster buds on their wiry branches, pictured, even better than the delicate little flowers.
Last I spied another perfect color echo and another flower form in the furry blooms of Gomphrena 'Gnome Purple'.
The final effect — each flower and branch playfully communicating with one another — is quite lovely. A favorite fall vignette I'll make sure to create again next year.