Rather like buddleia, the Michaelmas daisy is not native to Britain but was introduced from North America many years ago.

Now naturalised and widespread in about a dozen varieties that are difficult to tell apart, the daisy belongs to the Aster family and is so named because it traditionally begins flowering around Michaelmas on September 29th.

At least it used to appear in late September but as with much of our flora this year my two garden plants began flowering on 1st August.

I always welcome their appearance especially as many wild flowers are beginning to fade away and the massed flowers of Michaelmas daisy are not only attractive to us but act as magnets for insects, especially honey bees and hover flies.

On sunny or even overcast days my garden daisies almost tremble with so many bees gathering pollen and nectar and on warm evenings the bees remain active until almost dusk.

In Victorian times a close relative, namely the sea aster was often cultivated in gardens but fell out of favour when the Michaelmas daisy was introduced.

The photograph shows a honey bee with a full pollen basket attached to its leg after nectaring on Michaelmas daisy.