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
Small amount of fertilizer
No serious pests/disease
Blooming: astilbe, rudbeckia, phlox, coreopsis, opuntia, kniphofia, poppy, daylily, rose campion, lime echinacea
Harvested: 1 radish