In the throes of Wisconsin’s drought, a fellow gardener suggested something that in a year of normal rainfall would seem like a botanical blunder:
“I’m thinking of pulling out my astilbes. They’re such water hogs.”
Astilbes have beautiful, dense foliage and send up plumes of white, pink, lilac or red flowers in mid-summer. A low-maintenance perennial, they prefer partial shade. Astilbes are attractive all season – if they get enough moisture. If they don’t, they shrivel up for the year.
If 2012 represents a new normal for summer rains, my gardening friend doesn’t want to fuss with perennials that have high water demands. Astilbes are not the only ones.