08 June 2013

Almost Lost You

Mr. Astilbe ... we almost lost you. Glad you pulled through.

The Bridal Veil Astilbe (Astilbe x arendsii) was one of the first shady newcomers to the rear yard upgrade four or five years ago. Who doesn't look for a double planted or dividable pot when selecting that something special to take home from the expensive nursery? I found one and planted my twins side by side.

They prospered and grew larger, and then last year there were no flowers. The plants just stopped growing. I came to the rescue with some life-support compost and mulch, but the ground was rock-hard and dry after the exceptionally hot spring. These plants probably like shade for a reason.

Coddling them through the spring, they turned a nice golden crispy brown and finally disappeared around July. They came back this year, but the blossoms look nothing like the fluffy happy photos on web sites.

After blooming, I plan to move them further from the photinia that steal every drop of water from the soil under them. And maybe we give them some additional light. There was a new red astilbe planted in the garden about a year ago that seems more hardy, either because it is further away from the photinia, or it receives a little more sun.

I could not let a few other impressive results of this spring go by without showing them off. Kniphofia uvaria has multiplied more - do they make a good cut flower? And the opuntia shows why I keep it around.

For The Record:
  • Clay soil with leaf mulch & organic amendments
  • Shade
  • Small amount of fertilizer
  • No serious pests/disease

Garden Calendar:
  • Blooming: astilbe, rudbeckia, phlox, coreopsis, opuntia, kniphofia, poppy, daylily, rose campion, lime echinacea
  • Harvested: 1 radish


NellJean said...
I never thought of cutting Kniphofia. Why not cut one and see?

I'm starting to cut a bouquet now and then, which I've not been in the habit of doing.
Swimray said...
I cut some. I almost needed a machete to get through those thick stems. I will report back on how they work out. For me, it's painful to cut flowers from the garden while they bloom outdoors.
pq said...
omg, I love that little cactus flower; is that the opuntia? I want one NOW!
Casa Mariposa said...
I'm not a cactus fan but those flowers are impressive. I just wish cactus were less stabby.
Rylahn said...
These rugged plants, which are found throughout the arid regions of the world, often bear large, attractive, fragrant blossoms ranging in color from golden yellow to ivory to magenta. Cactus flowers are not only a refreshingly lush and lively sight in the desolate desert, they have many interesting attributes.