Georg Arends 1863-1952 , With courtesy of Arends Maubach nursery

19 July 2016

Some people are calling Astilbe plants old fashioned but I love them even if our soil does not quite suit them. Most of all I like the combination of the lush feathered leaves in combination with the vertical flower stems. Even the dried flower spikes are looking well in autumn.

Astilbe ‘Fanal’

It all started with some Astilbe x arendsii ‘Fanal’ which I bought in a garden centre in the nineties and which were planted in our former garden. They flourished on the moisture retentive soil. On transplanting them here in the American Garden, with its sandy loam, I was confronted with wilted leaves after a period of rainless days. Even after I transplanted them all in a shady area they do not perform hundred percent. This Fall I will add some manure to improve their conditions.

Astilbe x arendsii ‘Fanal’ in front of Rhododendron ‘Cunninghams White’
Photograph by Frank Fritschy

Georg Arends

The German Georg Arends (1863-1952) did a great job by creating the dozens of hybrids and cultivars not only Astilbes but also Bergenias, Phlox and the famous Sedum ‘Herbstfreude’(Autumn Joy). On a shady place in the Long Border, we planted his Astilbe x arendsii ‘Cattleya’.

“Even the dried flower spikes look well in autumn”

Astilbe ‘Visions in Red’

The tiny little pale salmon flowering Astilbe crispa ‘Lilliput’ with glossy, crinkled foliage had its decent flowering a few weeks ago and is now turning brown. The same applies to Astilbe ‘Visions in Red’. Its dark purple-red flowers turn into a rusty pink.

At this moment the late flowering Astilbe simplicifolia looks great. This small ground covering Astilbe with its glossy leafs is a great addition to our borders.

Gardening with Woodland Plants


Gardens with a lot of trees can be perfectly transformed in a marvellous woodland garden. Astilbes really like the prevailing dappled shade conditions of these gardens. There a lot of other groundcovers to accompany them in order to create your personal woodland utopia. Karan Junker wrote an excellent book with 350 colour photo’s on this topic. With her in-depth information and a long list of plants to choose from you are ready to start.