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Thursday, 23 June 2011

Astilbes partial and shady wet & pondside perennial flowering plants

Picture of barge on Kennet and Avon Canal-Plants for shady places Astilbes
Astilbe perennial hybrids-when should I cut back my Astilbe
Many of the Astilbes found in the British Isles today are hybrids. That is to say that they are a cross between two or more of the original wild species brought here by plant collectors from across the Far East where they are native.  
Picture of white Astilbe flower-when should I divide my Astilbe
Astilbes were first introduced in the UK in the 1800's largely from Japan and Korea where the species were predominantly white. In 1842 the Treaty of  Nanking was signed to bring an end to the first opium war between Britain and the Qing Dynasty, which then opened up China to British plant collectors and travellers and it is then that pink species found there were introduced here. Possibly by Robert Fortune a famous plant hunter who was sent to China around that time by the Royal Horticultural Society. Most notable in the development of the Astilbe cultivars we find in our gardens today however, was probably a German nurseryman called Georg Arends (arendsii cultivars) who began crossing those early species in the 1900's. and is probably responsible for over seventy varieties.  There are today Astilbes from pure white,shades of pink to deep red and mauve.
Picture of red Astilbe-when should I feed my Astilbe
Perennials, Astilbes do best when planted in humus rich, moist boggy situations. Around ponds are ideal.  They prefer light to partial shade but will tolerate full sun if kept well watered. They are kept at there best by giving them a feed with a compound fertilizer in the spring.
 Picture of Red Astilbe-when do Astilbes flower
Astilbes are very low maintenance. There are not any real pest or disease problems affecting Astilbes so if yours are looking a little sad, start with a moisture check, and then giving them a feed should perk them up in most cases. Flowering takes place from late spring through the summer months, the feathery blooms still looking good after they have died and dried.  Old  or unwanted broken stalks can be cut and tidyed in late winter ready for the new spring growth. After a few years you should lift and split and replant your Astilbes to restore vigorous growth. This is best done in Autumn.
Growing different Astilbe varieties and colours
Picture of delicate pink Astilbe in humus rich border
Picture of canal barge on Kennet & Avon waterway
Pictures: top/bottom Narrowboat on The Kennet and Avon Canal, in Hungerford Berkshire. Opened in the 1700's it was used by canal narrow barges as a transport link from Bristol to the Thames in Reading. to find out more visit the Kennet and Avon Canal trusts website: here  
General discussion and your views are welcome please say hello. I regret however because of my busy schedule, I am unable to answer many questions. Sneaky advertising will be deleted sorry. Thanks so much for visiting my blog today.


Claudia said...

I look forward to your posts. I dont blog as often as I did or should. I love to see your flowers.
Our climate is similar, and we share many varieties. Our winters are a bit more harsh, and summer much warmer but the plants get on. Thank you. :)

simon tinks davis said...

Hello Claudia, Thanks so much for your comment. Interesting that we have many plant varieties in common. Hope you manage to stay warm this winter. Simon

AJ | Wholesale Flowers Co said...

Hello, I haven't seen any posts lately. Thought I would let you know that I would enjoy any writeups you might offer. As a fellow gardener, I grow english roses, though hard at times. Look forward to seeing if you might offer any insight into growing from your part of the world.

Shed said...

Great post! It's really a nice flower you post. Thanks you for your very informative blog!

Garden centre Merseyside said...

Great post! It's really a nice flower you post. Thanks you for your very informative blog!

Thanks for sharing with us.

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Garden centre in Basingstoke said...

I am totally agree with all of your ideas..
Thank you for post..

Mangalore said...

Nice flower blog.

Daphne said...

BEAUTIFUL! The photos is ♥