|Picture by Joan Hall, Creative Commons|
Fall rolled round, and the asters began to flower. Alma flowered, and she looked fine. Magenta, however, she was not. At the time I found it mildly disturbing, because I couldn't think how to describe the colour it actually was. All I knew was that it looked wrong.
Later, I would read Allan Lacy, who described it as "vivid, saturated cerise". Which, once I figured out what cerise was, seemed pretty accurate. Alma has a a very intense colour. Sequim Rare Plants, however, get the prize: they called it "vivid watermelon pink".
You can see why it had to go. It's not actually a salmon-pink, whatever the RHS says, but it looked like it surrounded by purples and pinks and magentas. It looked strange. It's such a contradictory colour that Graham Stuart Thomas described it as "cerise-scarlet", two colours which straddle the blue - orange divide in the red zone.
It's funny how even now that vivid colours have come back in, I had a hard time finding out which flowers were actually magenta-coloured. I find it ironic that I should be complaining about a plant being labeled as magenta. But if you're not colour-theming your garden, I can recommend Alma: it has great flowers, it's got striking colour, and it keeps its leaves, unlike a lot of asters. But it's not magenta.