Astilbe for Pond Surroundings and use In the Water Garden
Astilbe, also known as (False Goats Beard) is perennials that are native to mountains, ravines and woodlands in Asia and North America. There are many different species that have been cross bred to produce the many hundreds of hybrids available today. Different hybrids flower at different times usually between June and August, and they certainly look magnificent with their vibrant displays of fluffy, flower plumes that come in different shades of red, white, pink and cream. Astilbe also comes in many different sizes ranging from 6 inches to 6ft. They have been hybridized to produce many different leaf shapes in many shades of green and copper.
Astilbe will grow in full sun however, the leaves can burn and crinkle in very hot weather so, they are therefore, best suited to dappled light or areas of the garden that only get three – four hours of a sun each day. They require a substrate/ planting media that is 8-12 inches deep and room enough to spread into large clumps, so I would suggest that you plant them 18 inches apart. They also like a good nutrient rich, loose, leafy potting compost like Sinclairs or Levingtons but good woodland rotted mulch will also be adequate. The location of planting should be permanently moist and can even be quite damp, but NOT water logged. Astilbe are sometimes wrongly sold as marginal plants. Marginal plants must be able to cope with lengthy durations of flooding and drought as water levels rise and fall in natural ponds so, marginal plants they are definitely not. So to summarize, they are very well suited to moist borders, free draining bog-gardens and rain gardens.
I used to create and plant RHS Hampton Court Palace flower show gardens and I won many Gold and the highly sought after Tudor Rose medals. My show garden, pond surround planting scheme always consisted of groups of Astilbe planted amongst the plants I have listed below. All the plants including the Astilbe were planted in odd numbers such as, three, five and seven so mix it up with random quantities of different species and hybrids to give the right effect. All the plants I have listed below were all chosen for their different heights, flower colour and foliage. My advice is to always place plants in the area you want them to go before actually planting them up and this way, you can experiment and swop things about until you are happy with the plant locations.
Please visit my website www.lilieswatergardens.co.uk to see my full range of over 750 pond plants and water garden plants available to buy online or from my retail nursery in Surrey