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Aruncus Aethusifolius — 44 Comments

  1. Alistair – I see you kept your promise to show the context of your plants, and I’m glad you did. I understand what you’re saying about “formality seems to hold it together”. Your “main border” is probably better described as a spectacular display garden. My ultimate aim is to have plants flowering around the garden at all times of the year – I think it’s possible in London but it will take several years to develop. I hope I have a staying power like yours to achieve this.

  2. You have such a beautiful garden, with so many new flowering plants I havent heard before. Love your neat flower beds and just about enough plants planted there, that dont seem too wild or over-crowded.

  3. Your garden is absolutely gorgeous, lovely full borders which I love. Like that Goatsbeard, I saw that recently and did’nt know what it was, you have answered that question for me.

  4. Wow…I aspire to have a neat and tidy garden….but it just isn’t to be….My astilbe’s are just about coming into bloom now…I am an enthusiast like you.

  5. Hi Alistair, I like the look of your Aruncus aethusifolius, could be invaluable in a shady spot and those leaves would look wonderful alongside e.g. hostas or the “smoother” leaved ferns. I know I’ve come across it before, but I had managed to completely forget about it. Having looked it up and seen it will cope with even dry shade, I hope I don’t forget about it again!

    As to the “plantaholic” approach (lots of different plants) vs the drifts and blocks, I think you are right, the formality of the evergreens plus the immaculate lawn and edging gives structure to show off your plant collection. Personally I find I am veering more and more towards the fewer different plants but of more of each approach, and lack the attention to detail to make your kind of detail work for me (though I think FIL would find you a kindred spirit). But that’s the joy of gardening, the rich diversity of it all. Thank you for showing the context in which you garden, it helps to make sense of everything.

  6. I love dwarf goatsbeard. It looks like moss when it emerges in the spring and turns orange in the fall–great plant. I am a fan of massing, but the first principle for any home gardener should be do what you like and makes you happy–the heck with the rules. However, if someone isn’t happy with the effect of their plants, massing can help.

  7. Oh, Alistair, WOW!!! I LOVE it! Yes, perfection!

    I also love your Goat’s Beard. I have that same one growing with white, deep rose, and pale mauve astilbe. It’s a wonderful combination! I will say though, that the Goat’s Beard has made a beautiful ground cover in some areas of the garden… it’s spread like crazy and we are enjoying it!

  8. Alistair, I so love looking at your garden…you picked another winner in aruncus. lovely form…I love the formality of your garden…I think you have nailed it as we say here…the evergreens give it beautiful structure so you can highlight all the lovely plants…well done!!

  9. I find it difficult to work out the size of your garden. Sometimes it seems small and sometimes very large, depending on the angle.

    It’s clever how you’ve tied two very different styles together – and that you’ve managed to grade the size of plants too – not easy unless you buy them all at the right stage of growth on the same day!


    • Hi Esther it has been an ever changing garden from the word go. It is difficult to judge the size of our garden, the back garden is made up of four separate gardens with two or three other nooks and crannies.

  10. Your garden is a delight to behold. One or two of a plant works where you have an eye for placement and colors. Aruncus does not grow here but it is a pleasure to see it growing in yours.

  11. Alistair, I agree with Donna that the evergreens give a beautiful structure to your garden – and it is all beautiful. I also love the goatsbeard and will look for it to add to my new shade garden.
    We started our garden with evergreens and build around them as we wanted to be certain to have something to enjoy in the dead of winter.

  12. Your garden looks incredible! How do you manage to make everything so neat and trim?? I too consider myself a plant collector more than a garden designer, so I tend to have one of each plant, and drifts are impossible for lack of space. You have been much more restrained though, and you are right, repetitions of the same plant do bring a border together and make a bigger impact…

  13. A lot of people must see your garden. It should be open to other gardeners to source some inspiration. In this country that style only happens with resorts and gardens of the rich and famous, haha! If i am just near i hope i can always visit and take photos.

  14. False Goatsbeard is one of those plants I have always wanted and could grow! Saw one at Kew that must have been 6 feet – is yours a miniversion or will it block out the Astilbes which are complementary companions? Formatlity at the front and more wayward at the back is a neat way of maintaining an orderly border – rather like when I clean up and throw things into cupboards out of sight

  15. Hi Alistair,
    A garden can teach you things about yourself. For instance, I have learned that I prefer symmetry to asymmetry. There is just something I like when a shape, whether it is a plant pot on a pedestal, or pompom of grass has a visual echo. I see you find repeated shapes and colors pleasing as well.
    Your garden is so neat and tidy. It puts my jungle to shame! That little bit of formality helps give the whole a great sense of order.
    I have both forms of goatsbeard. The larger form can be a bit monstrous in scale. It is definitely not for the small garden. Aruncus Aethusifolius is newer to my garden. I am already a fan.

  16. Goats beard – never heard of it but looks like a great way to fill a gap. Re the advice that we should plant at least 3 of everything – there should be no shoulds (except this one) – your garden is lovely and expresses your vision.

  17. I have just discovered your website. Your garden is amazing!. I live in Portland, Oregon and believe our climates are similar. I am going to use some of your ideas.
    So excited to find you.

  18. I have very little gardening experience, and I’ve been trying to find something to make my north facing front flower bed look better than the barren wasteland of small hostas that it currently is. Would you tell me what other plants you have in the flower bed on your north facing garden? It’s beautiful!

    • The dwarf aruncus does well in a north facing position
      Skimmia Rubella
      Pots with Begonia
      Although our back garden is North facing the large border is far enough away from the house to give a decent amount of sunshine.

  19. Hi! I love your gardens! Could you list the names of all of your plants in your back garden around the dwarf goats beard? Thank you!

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