Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Astilbe in the Shade Garden


I remember when I was just a new flower
gardener and had no knowledge of the wonderful
world of blooms that were out there.
My family were gardeners but it was mostly of
the vegetable variety. We had to grow and can
vegetables to live way back then.
(I am an antique now after all)
The only knowledge of flowers were of the few
rose bushes or passed along plants of irises, hibiscus,
hollyhocks or daffodils with a few old fashioned
annuals thrown into the mix.
The annuals were generally petunias, pansies or
geraniums. And Grandma always brought the geraniums
into the house for the winter where they would bloom
on her windowsill and go back out again in the summer.


So when I started into making flowerbeds around
my home my knowledge was very limited into
what would grow or how to grow them.
Especially when it came to a shady flowerbed.
When I think of all of the poor plants I have killed
along the way it makes me cringe a little.
I wanted flowers that bloomed in the shade.
I was not in love with the foliage plants that were
offered back then and being poorer tended to limited
my access to materials to gain very much knowledge
on the subject.
Then the only flowers we grew were grown from
seed or were passed on from divisions from someone
else’s garden. That is why I still have a few plants that
were from my Grandmas garden.
Most of them now are considered old fashioned flowers
but even those old fashioned flowers today are made
over new with so many new colors, double blooms
and even repeat bloomers that they are anything but
old fashioned looking.



I remember the first flower catalog I got in the mail
was from the Michigan Bulb Company. 
I went through it time after time just looking and
deciding what I could afford to buy, which was not much.
Now today I know the company offers a very limited
selection but at that time it was flower bonanza to me.
That is where I first saw the assortment of Astilbe
plants and that they would grow in the shade. So
they were one of my first flowers to buy from a catalog.


Then they were a spot of color in my flowerbeds
that I just loved and I still love them today.
I have several colors of them now and there are so
many great varieties today to choose from.
Giant plumes, early bloomers, late bloomers, etc.


When I started making my woodland bed last Fall
I knew I would be adding my Astilbes to the bed.
The Butterflies and Bees love them and long after the
colorful airy blooms have faded they still add texture
to the flowerbed.

Later through the magic of the internet and now
in these last few years through garden blogging
I have discovered so many wonderful and colorful plants
that can be planted in the shade gardens.
The possibilities and colors are limitless but I will
always have a fond place in my heart and around in
my flowerbeds for the feathery Astilbe.



Update on the Nikko Hydrangea bush.
It is getting bluer everyday now.


Happy Gardening Everyone,


Gatsbys Gardens said...

Lona, I do like astilbes. I brought some from my other home, Sprite, and they are just starting. I have others and hope they will all be blooming within the next week. Yours are lovely.


Stella said...

I too love my astilbe. I planted a lavender and purple last year and waiting see how they bloom this year. Thanks for sharing.

Liz said...

Hi Lona,

Lovely photos of wonderful plants. I really must move my own Astilbe, although in a North East facing garden, during the summer it gets too much sun...

One day, I might learn my lesson!

Have a great week, not far to go for the weekend :)

Catherine@AGardenerinProgress said...

I love Astillbes too. They are such pretty flowers for shade. I just moved and divided some for the front shade bed I'm working on.
Your Nikko is looking beautiful!

Jim Groble said...

Your astilbe looks wonderful. We have not had any luck with it. We helped our neighbor plant a dozen plants 2 years ago and the are huge. Your hydranga looks like it is a week ahead of ours. jim

Corner Gardener Sue said...

Hi Lona,
I enjoyed your reflections and photos. I'm getting to be an antique, too.

Those astilbes are a pretty bunch.

Thanks for your comment on my Bloomin' Tuesday post. I looked up 'Iron Maiden' and it did look like the penstemon I have in a photo. I am so forgetful and don't keep good track of tags. I'm trying to get better about it. I have taken to taking photos of plants and their tags so I can look at the photos to remember their names. That means I need to remember where the plant is, and which photo is the one of it. LOL

bennie and patsy said...

The colors are just beautiful. I sure like the pink Astilbe best, no the white oh heck I like them all.

Jeannie B. said...

I love old fashioned garden flowers. I have never seen these fuzzy ones! Your blue hydrangea is just the way I want mine to be someday.

A Garden of Threads said...

Astilbes are wonderful for a shady garden with their beautiful plumes and so many colors. I like them with ferns and hostas.

Anonymous said...

Dear Lona, I am so pleased to see your drawing attention to Astilbes which are, as you rightly point out, such wonderful herbaceous plants and well suited to shady conditions. Previously I believed that they also required moisture retentive soil to thrive but I am now less convinced of this.

Heather Bell said...

One of my favorites for the shade garden. The darker the shade, the lighter the astilbe plants. Right now I have some dappled shade with a nice pink astilbe. But I used to have a really dark corner that I used the white one. You have a beautiful collection of this terrific plant.

Urban Dirt Girl said...

I love Astilbes too. I just bought another one yesterday that I couldn't resist. Its white. I have the true pink and pale pink varieties in my shade garden. They truly are a great addition with their plumes of feathers. Yours look fabulous! M

Anonymous said...

Your astilbes are beautiful; I've considered them for my smallish garden bed that I want to eventually fill with perennials. And your hydrangea is wonderful, too. :)

Roses and Lilacs said...

Astilbes are a wonderful plant for bringing color into the shade garden. I grew them years ago but they require so much water that I sadly gave them up.

Rebecca @ In The Garden said...

Great post Lona! I always love seeing astilbes in peoples gardens, I really need to add some to mine. I have a lot of shade, and still have the problem of testing sun lovers in them, with mixed results. Your light pink one is especially lovely. :)

Kimberly said...

I absolutely adore astilbe! I used it in previous shade gardens. Yours is gorgeous!

Kate said...

You're making me wish I had loads more shady spots in the garden. :)

Janet said...

I will be adding Astible to my new shade garden. I think they are lovely.

Anonymous said...

Hi Lona, I've sure killed enough plants. Astilbes are unforunately in that list. They like moist soil and with the typical summer drought tht happens here, well, if I ever grow them again I will make sure to plant them in a container, by the faucet.

Your photos are gorgeous.

Darla said...

This is another one of those plants that I am going to try. The plumes are just lovely.