Astilbes, A Genus of Luster

ast bonnGeorge Arends had passion. So much so, he spent his life breeding Astilbes, Bergenia, Sedum, Phlox, and Campanula. He lived from 1862-1952, and was originally from Ronsdorf, Germany. Arends took Astilbes (translated in Latin, "lacks luster"), and showed the world one big Genus of luster.

This year, we are highlighting the variety 'Bonn'. Astilbe 'Bonn' grows 2 to 4 feet tall, and produces hot pink- some say carmine pink blooms. Its bold green foliage is great for a groundcover. They also may be used for dried flowers, or for tucking them into the Christmas tree for natural ornaments.

So many Astilbes are named after a major city in Germany ('Deutschland'). German towns, 'Koblenz, and 'Bremen' are excellent varieties. Add some music like 'Irrlicht' from Franz Schubert's 'Winterreise', or the contemporary version from Klaus Schulze. Add wonderful people like 'Hennie Graafland', who was a very hard worker from the nursery where the Astilbe 'Vision' series was bred.

Astilbe names take on lots of character and meaning. Now, our great list of Astilbes doesn't look so imposing! Astilbes originated in east Asia. Their bloom times vary from spring to summer, with their bright neon-like flowering candles brightening up the landscape. Flower colors range from white, pink, to red- and just saying that doesn't do justice to the shades of red and pink offered! Flower textures range from tight, bold candles, to open, feathery wisps of color. They like the shade and moisture. Filtered sun is okay with adequate moisture and improved richer soil.