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Tuesday, 11 March 2008

Astilbe, the mystery that surprised me


My first experience with astilbe really surprised me. I didn't do research .. I had no idea about sun and shade plants .. I just thought I might get away with most of what I tried .. oh for those days of bliss and ignorance again ? ..
I had the most remarkable white astilbes that thrived in the worst location possible .. full sun ... very dry conditions .. and yet they were absolutely beautiful .. how could this be ?

I still don't have the answer to that stunning situation that last a couple of years .. they should have curled up their toes and quit on me .. I didn't save plant tags then .. I just slammed the poor things in the ground .. gave them a drink of water and continued on my merry way.
So this is still a mystery today .. I love astilbe .. I have quite a few different cultivars and always seem to find room for one more each year .. but I am now choosy about the conditions for it .. and I think present day ones appreciate it some how !

17 comments:

Vanillalotus said...

Wow those look beautiful. I bought an astilbe plant and it died back. Just yesterday I noticed it sprouting. I was about to dig whatever roots were up and put a caladium in it's place. Now I have to find a new place for the caladium.

Melanie said...

Joy, I love Astilbe but only half the varieties I've bought have done well for me. It seems the little ones don't do as well and I can't figure out if I'm doing something wrong.

Love your photo, and a garden post too!

Aunt Debbi/kurts mom said...

I love astilbe, but here it just doesn't stand up to the heat, even in the shade:(

Crafty Gardener said...

Sometimes we are better off being oblivious to planting restrictions and just go on our merry way.
I do love astillbes and have them in my north facing garden.

ourfriendben said...

Hi Joy! Aren't astilbes wonderful? And so much tougher than their ferny foliage and foamy blooms would suggest. My favorite white is 'Professor van der Weilen', still toughing it out in a high-cat-traffic area by the deck.

Shady Gardener said...

I love astilbe! I'm only very fortunate that they grow for me. I actually think they take some sun... have you discovered that? Most of mine are in pretty shady locations. I have to make sure they get plenty of moisture.

Katarina i Kullavik said...

Astilbes are so beautiful - the masses of tiny flowers is outstanding. I planted my first two astilbes last year - and I must admit I also did it without thinking very much of their needs. Hopefully, I will see them agian this summer...
/Katarina at Roses and stuff

GardenJoy4Me said...

Hello astilbe fans !

Katarina .. it still amazes me how well they did in such poor conditions .. fingers crossed yours will be smiling at you again !

Shady .. YES ! .. most of mine have morning sun .. but a few have that stronger afternoon sun and they all seem to be in good order .. none are in full shade .. so I think our theory is right !

Ourfriendben ... I really want that dramatic white again so I will look out for that one .. I know I can find room some where !!

Crafty .. yes ! .. I'm sure you are right .. ignorance is bliss a lot of the time ! LOL

Debbie ... you really do have tough conditions .. but you get Spring ? a lot earlier girl ! LOL

melanie .. I wonder why the little ones don't work ? .. I have Sprite and it seems good so far .. I have another minis .. can't remember names right now .. so far I haven't had problems .. but I can't get foxglove to work for me .. it is always something ! LOL

Vanilla .. they die back during the cold months here .. sleeping under the snow .. then spring up in Spring ? LOL .. that is nice yours is coming back .. Caladium are amazing foliage plants .. great logo too ! LOL

Connie said...

Your Astilbe is lovely! I have never grown it, because I don't have many really shady areas...but after your report, I may be inclined to try it anyway. It's amazing how adaptable plants can be.

Di DeCaire said...

Looking at your picture of the white one makes me want it. Let's see, where can i put it???

Gail said...

How did I miss your posts, where have I been?

I gardened like that...put 'em in the ground and gone on my merry way for years. I think that is why I loved day lilies, they were so easy.

Here is a secret, I never get my soil tested!

Gail

GardenJoy4Me said...

Hi Gail .. I have never had the soil tested .. I know it needs a bit of TLC by now though .. and I will always have a place for day lilies .. they are a backbone for me as well !

di decaire .. Hello there ! .. I will be asking the same questions this Spring when I bring plant babies home AGAIN ! haha

Connie Hello ! .. I was amazed with this astilbe .. it doesn't hurt to try one out at a time .. this was one plant originally, so you can see it grew too ! I just wish I knew which cultivar it was again.

WiseAcre said...

Astilbes are one of my favorites. Nice range of color and bloom times (June to August), deer resistant, and hardy (at least here - sun/heat and dry conditions are tough on them).

They really don't like full shade. They'll reach for the light and the blooms are 'weak'. The best spot is an area that receives morning sun and retains some moisture. But they'll do well in full sun as long as the soil doesn't dry out for too long.

I have a 'client' on Long Island who loves them and it's been real fun mass planting them. Over the last couple years I've managed to plant hundreds.

Astilbe chinensis pumila is amoung my favorites. It's a low growing plant with flower spikes reaching about 12 inch high blooming (lavendar/pink) in July - August. It's a creeping dense mat forming plant and makes a great ground cover.

GardenJoy4Me said...

wiseacer .. I'm still snort giggling over your Home Sense remarks .. my god .. I was there again today and found the most beautiful tirangual ? trellis with rought iron work .. it isn't over done .. it is simple curving which is just beautiful .. too beautiful to cover up with a vine in fact .. As I was going through the check out, two ladies were asking me WHERE did I FIND IT ???? .. for $30 it is amazing .. so laugh it up .. I know .. I own shares in that store now ! LOL

Back to astilbe .. if I had known what responses I was going to see I would have listed all the different cultivars I have ! .. I am a "closet astibe freak" .. so we share the same PASSION (easy boy ! LOL) .. I have them "blooming" through out the summer .. sheer luck by way of happy ignorance ! .. Peach Blossom is one of my favorites http://springhillnursery.com/product.asp_Q_pn_E_07716 9my pictures are on some DVD some where !
Montgomery is another favorite later summer hit of colour by my two cedar shrubs http://www.waltersgardens.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=plants.plantDetail&plant_id=106 .. I have Chinensis cultivars that I love .. they look like flames of colour ! http://www.perennials.com/seeplant.html?item=1.087.170
Then there are the "wee" ones .. I have Sprite http://www.vanbloem.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=PLANTS.plantDetail&plant_id=533
Ostritch Plume http://www.bluestoneperennials.com/b/bp/ASOPP.html
In other words wiseacer .. astilbe was one of my first loves in gardening .. I still manage to squeeze more in some how .. you can't have enough astilbe .. nope, no way enough ! LOL

GardenAuthor said...

Frothy, lacy and striking! Love the white, especially well-suited for moonlight gardens... Deb

WiseAcre said...

The newer chinensis "Visions" are really great with their vibrant colors.

If I had to limit the gardens to one perennial - Astilbes would be my choice.

Now what we both need to do is take some photos of the subject of our passionate love affair. Those catalog photos just don't do them justice.

I have a list for ya - 27 varieties :) - of course that's what the perennial nursery I go to has.

GardenJoy4Me said...

Deb .. I fantasize about moonlight gardens .. all in white .. it would be magical !

wiseacer .. you are preaching to the totally CONVERTED Dude !! LOL
If I could have one of every cultivar .. I would be one happy camper .. you are "on" with the picture taking challenge my friend .. new camera .. new year ! wawhooooo ! haha