A dear friend sent us some pictures of her stunning garden; of all the lovely pictures that she sent, one in particular caught my eye. It was a picture of a plant that looked like a giant astilbe, with fluffy plumes of creamy white blooms. It was so beautiful, and I had to find out what it was!
The plant was goatsbeard, are you familiar with it? I got out the “Perennials” volume of my Sweet Pea’s “American Horticultural Society Illustrated Encyclopedia of Gardening”, looked up “goatsbeard”, and here is part of what it said about this beautiful plant. Goatsbeard is a perennial, hardy in our area, and originally a native of Eurasia and North America. It’s actually a member of the rose family, with the official name aruncus dioicus.
This lovely plant that looks like an astilbe on steroids is a perennial that grows to shrub-like proportions,up to six feet tall and four feet wide. Its ideal location would be a lightly shaded, moist spot in our gardens. It will bloom from mid-June to early July. Care of the plant is easy: a shady location and plenty of water. Even though the plant can grow quite tall, it does not need staking, and it is not invasive. It is long-lived, so we can enjoy it in our gardens for years to come.
One bit of information that I read said that goatsbeard would look very dramatic against a dark background, such as an area of full foliage or a dark deck or fence. In this setting, the blooms will really pop and be an excellent focal point.
If your available space is not up to such a large specimen, there are smaller varieties of goatsbeard that might work better for you. I spotted a picture of a more diminutive goatsbeard cousin called “Kneifii” that grows to only three feet high. And I know the experts at our nurseries could recommend the right goatsbeard for us.
If you like to plan out what plants will go together for maximum effect, like putting together a great outfit with all the accessories, I read that goatsbeard would look very striking with blue-green hostas, since the variance in the foliage of both plants looks so nice together. Or, mix it with perennial geraniums, which will make a soft base below the upright growing habit of the goatsbeard. Another suggestion was planting the goastbeard with ferns, which are also of a taller growing habit, but with delicate leaves that are an attractive mix.
So many gorgeous plants, so little room! But if you are remodelling your garden, or perhaps doing first-time landscaping around a new home, keep goatsbeard on your garden list!
Remember, the Yorkton In Bloom Yard and Garden Bus Tour takes place on Thursday, July 25. There will be two tours, one at 9:00 a.m. and one at 1:00 p.m.. Both leave from the Yorkton Public Library. While you’re at the Library, check out the great selection of gardening books: perfect for enjoying while you sit in the shade and sip on a lemonade on a summer afternoon.
And it’s still a little ways away, but the Yorkton and District Horticultural Society “Fruit, Flower and Vegetable Show” is on Tuesday, August 13 from 2:00 – 5:00 p.m. at St. Gerard’s Parish Complex. Your admission includes tea and dainties, so bring a friend and make an afternoon of this lovely show!
Till next time, follow the lead of our dear friend and take lots of photos of your planters or garden, enjoy the beautiful days, but be mindful of the sun and be sure to wear a hat! Have a good week!