Tag Archives: ninebark diablo

Plant combo of the week: Ninebark ‘Diablo’ and Astilbe ‘Deutschland’

I know that the plant combo of Ninebark ‘Diablo’ and Astilbe ‘Deutschland’ is fantastic.

Want to know why?

Because Nan Ondra told me so.

The author of one of my favorite gardening books, “The Perennial Matchmaker” featured this combo on page 46 of her book and used one of my photos.

That is some serious validation.

The combination of the dark foliage of the Ninebark and the bright white blooms of the Astilbe personifies the use of color contrast in the garden.

I’ve previously dedicated an individual post to both Astilbe ‘Deutchsland’ and to Ninebark ‘Diablo’ so if you want to read up on either of those plants, now would be a great time to do so.

I’ll wait.

Ninebark ‘Diablo’ typically blooms (here in zone 6B) near the end of May and into early June.

Those blooms quickly devolve into red seed heads that add a different ornamental dimension to this deciduous shrub. At that same time, the Astilbe blooms first emerge.

Personally, I prefer the look of the white blooms with only the dark foliage as the backdrop, after the seed heads have disappeared, or after I, gulp, have removed them by hand.

My combo currently resides in a partial shade location that stays consistently moist and both the Ninebark and Astilbe seem to love it. As you may know, the Astilbe will fry if kept in too much sun or without consistent moisture.

In late winter, I heavily prune the Ninebark ‘Diablo’ by removing about 1/3 of the old branches to the ground in order to keep it in bounds. The Astilbe are all cut to the ground in late winter as well with new foliage emerging in April.

I wouldn’t consider this combo low maintenance yet the one time pruning and water maintenance is well worth it.

 

Through the Seasons

Each season has its own unique beauty in the garden and dammit, that is why I love this gardening thing so much. It is never dull and in constant motion in a wonderfully subtle way.

With that theme in mind, there are some photo sets below depicting the same section of garden at different times this year. The first photo in each set is from current day. The subsequent photos then move backwards in time throughout the 2014 gardening season.

Enjoy.

Eupatorium maculatum (Joe Pye Weed) in front of Miscanthus ‘Morning Light’:

after7

joe pye

grass

joe pye and miscanthus

winter10

 

Sedum ‘Autumn Fire’, Viburnum carlesii ‘Aurora’, Miscanthus purpurascens (Flame Grass) and Miscanthus ‘Gracillimus’:

after10

garden

garden4

full5

vib whites

 

Panicum ‘Rots’, Viburnum bracteatum ‘Emerald Lustre’, Miscanthus ‘Variegatus’:

after

grasses fall color

garden2

grasses

yard

ornamental grass snow

 

Weigela ‘Wine and Roses’, Purple coneflower, Perovskia (Russian Sage):

after4

garden7

 

Similar plants as listed above but from a different angle:

after3

garden8

 

Barberry, Iris versicolor, Clethra ‘Hummingbird’, Monarda (Bee Balm), etc.:

after6

garden2

garden

full2

 

A little bit of everything:

after2

garden

garden

 

Looking through Physocarpus (Ninebark) ‘Diablo’ to the aforementioned Joe Pye Weed/Miscanthus combo:

after11

garden

winter20

Enjoying fall while it is still here

Ignore what I wrote on Friday. There were no bulbs planted this weekend and I blame it on the following:

  • 50% weather – we had a ton of rain late Friday into Saturday
  • 25% familial obligations – soccer game, kids Oktoberfest events
  • 15% smarts – maybe a bit too early for bulb planting here
  • 10% wanting to soak in the autumn-ness – time spent smelling the roses grasses

In regards to that last one, I am typically not one to “enjoy the moment” when it comes to my garden. I am either looking towards the future when yet again moving or adding a new plant or hating on my current day plants that are underachieving.

But this weekend I reminded myself that fall is possibly the greatest time of year in the garden, yet it is oh so fleeting. A famous man once said “Better enjoy the crap out of it while is here.”

With that in mind, more autumn photos for your viewing pleasure.

itea and clethra

Itea ‘Henry’s Garnet and Clethra ‘Ruby Spice’

 

ninebark

Physocarpus ‘Diablo’

 

ninebark2

Physocarpus ‘Diablo’

 

hydrangea

Hydrangea ‘Lady in Red’

 

hydrangea2

Hydrangea ‘Endless Summer’

 

iris

Siberian Iris

 

viburnum

Viburnum bracteatum ‘Emerald Lustre’

 

amsonia

Amsonia tabernaemontana

 

amsonia2

Amsonia ‘Blue Ice’

 

amsonia3

Amsonia ‘Blue Ice’

 

 

 

Update on pruning Ninebark ‘Diablo’

Six weeks ago I had written a post that had me wondering aloud as to how I would prune my Ninebark ‘Diablo’. After many sleepless nights and hours upon hours of research, I finally made a decision.

Here she is in current state:

With the differing branch colors indicating older versus newer “wood”:

And then we attacked with the pruners, and here is the end result:

I went with the “not too drastic” approach as I cut out about 1/3 of the older wood at the base of the shrub hoping to keep it in bounds along my foundation without losing all of the blooms and the subsequent seedheads.

In a perfect world, I prefer to let my shrubs grow as they will without any interference. But I have had this particular Ninebark for five years now and it has been chowed to the ground numerous times by the deer. Now that it is hidden along my foundation planting, I am keeping it here for good and will do my best to maintain the appropriate size.

More photos to come in the near future as she begins to leave out and hopefully the shape will remain appealing after the haircut it has been given.

Pruning Ninebark ‘Diablo’

I ventured outside early this morning with the intention of … well … I actually had no real intention. It was -10 degrees with the wind chill  (maybe a slight exaggeration) and I wanted to see how quickly my nose hairs would freeze. A fun little test of my intestinal fortitude.

Conclusion: It was cold and it hurt like hell.

I lasted about two minutes and then headed back inside. However, I had enough time to check out my Physocarpus ‘Diablo’ and started thinking about how I was going to prune it in the near future.

And that consumed me all day, all the way up until I started to write this post this evening.

I have considered pruning Ninebark ‘Diablo’ back hard to within a foot of the ground to get nice fresh and vivid foliage this spring. Of course, that would mean sacrificing any blooms and subsequent red seedheads.

I have considered cutting out only the dead wood and some of the older branches to the ground to keep the shrub’s somewhat upright shape. You can easily spot said older gray branches in the photo below:

 

OK hold on a minute. Let me take a step back and think this through a bit and provide you some background before I make any pruning decisions.

Here is how the Physocarpus (Ninebark) looked this past summer:

 

Already at its ideal size after only three years in the ground.

And how good do the dark colored leaves look against the other shrubs and perennials in front of it?

 

 

 

 

Nice, huh? I wish I could do nothing and it would stay exactly as it looked this spring/summer. But we all know this shrub grows like mad and precautions need to be taken to keep it in bounds.

Another factor in the pruning Ninebark decision is whether or not I care about retaining the blooms each season. Here they are. They look nice up close:

 

But I won’t lie, I think they leave a little to be desired from a distance. Quick conclusion = I can survive without them.

By the way, this deciduous shrub looks pretty fantastic in the fall:

 

 

And the bark is fantastic when exposed in the winter:

 

What was I getting at again? Oh yeah, “to prune or not to prune” or really “to severely prune or not to severely prune”. That, my friends, is the question.

… and you will have to wait for an answer for a few more weeks. Some more in depth analysis is required.

UPDATE: Here is the link to where I went with my pruning – Pruning ‘Diablo’

 

The garden is coming together

This weekend was the first time I noticed that the garden was starting to “pull it all together”. By that I mean, it is becoming less and less about the individual plants and more about how they act together as a whole. A collection of plants is becoming a “garden”.
Here are some samples of the “garden”:
Panicum (Switch Grass) ‘Rotstrahlbusch’, Monarda (Bee Balm) and Juniper ‘Wichita Blue’

Achillea ‘Moonwalker’, Sedum ‘Matrona’ and Sorghastrum (Indian Grass) ‘Sioux Blue’ 

Too many mention

Astilbe ‘Deutschland’ and Physocarpus (Ninebark) ‘Diablo’

Mountain Mint, Panicum (Switch Grass) ‘Rotstrahlbusch’ and Monarda (Bee Balm)

Itea ‘Henry’s Garnet’ and Miscanthus ‘Variegatus’

Itea ‘Henry’s Garnet’, Viburnum ‘Emerald Lustre’ and Amsonia (Eastern Bluestar) ‘Tabernaemontana’

Again, too many to mention

Viburnum ‘Aurora’ and Miscanthus ‘Gracillimus’

Itea ‘Henry’s Garnet’, Chasmanthium latifolium (Northern Sea Oats) and Panicum ‘Northwind’

Geranium ‘Brookside’, Asclepias Incarnata (Swamp Milkweed) and Itea ‘Henry’s Garnet’

Astilbe ‘Deutschland’ and Nepeta (Catmint) ‘Walker’s Low’

Little of everything

Angerus sisterium and Runningus brotherium

Revengus brotherium (rare cultivar) and Runningus sisterium

Slipanslideium

Slipanslideum (Male version, less hardy)
Keep these plants active and outdoors and they agree to photos like this:
 
And they even eat lunch sitting NEXT to each other:
A great weekend on many fronts.
John 

Blooms, Blooms, Blooms (And no more peony talk)

Just to prove that I am not completely fixated on my peonies (that didn’t sound right), here are some other blooms in and about my garden during this fantastic time of year.
Veronica just about on its last legs but hoping the periodic deadheading will extend it a bit further: 

Physocarpus (Ninebark) ‘Diablo’ just started blooming and looks OK; I still value it mostly for the foliage:

Geranium ‘Brookside’ which I’ve been rather critical of in the past, looks good now that it is allowed to roam wild a bit:

Itea ‘Henry’s Garnet’ doesn’t blow you away in bloom, but it is reliable and performs so well in my native bed where it is consistently moist/wet:

I know I am going to enjoy Amsonia ‘Blue Ice’ for years to come as six of these were planted just last fall as tiny plugs and they already look fantastic. Not to mention they are ignored by the deer and the rabbits and survived wet feet this past winter:

Blooms nice, the rest … not so much. I am losing it for Tradescantia (Spiderwort) ‘Sweet Kate’ so they better shape up soon or they are gone:

Penstemon ‘Husker’s Red’ just about to bloom in full; give it about a 7 on a scale of 1 to 10:

First blooms on Hypericum ‘Albury Purple’:

Spirea ‘Snow Storm’ … hmmmm … takes up space … blooms are “decent” … suppresses weeds since better than bare ground … guess she can stay: