Monday, June 2, 2008

Goats Have Beards? Or Feathers?

Goat's beards and astilbes. What is the difference? Let us start with the scientific names. Goat's Beard is also known as Aruncus, and astilbes are botanically known as Astilbe. There are tons of astilbe cultivars and varieties available, but not as many Goat's Beards on the market.

I purchased my Goat's Beard about five years ago from a mail order source. It has taken all this time for it to finally come into its own. Coincidentally, it is planted right next to a white astilbe. For some crazy reason, white is the only color of astilbe that does well for me in the garden. Both the astilbe and goat's beard look very similar and even grow in the same conditions. Do you need two different plants that look the same? Even grow in the same conditions and bloom in the same color? I am not sure.
Goat's beard is commonly known as Bride's Feathers, and is the host plant for the Dusky Azure butterfly. The flowers on the Goat's Beard are actually kind of feathery. I can see brides carrying them and waving them around. This plant is said to get up to six feet tall and wide. I am still waiting for that, though the plant has grown quite a bit.
The astilbe has been in the garden maybe about four years. This is an easy to grow plant which rewards the gardener with a spot of sunshine when it blooms. Astilbes like a shady spot, with adequate moisture and well draining soil. I have mine growing on the north side of the deck, in so so soil. There are quite a few rocks in this area. The astilbe does not mind and just grows as happy as it can be. It is not as picky with its location as the Goat's Beard. I am looking forward to dividing this clump this fall. The cultivar is 'Deutschland' and I like it very much. I can say one thing for growing white plants, they play well with all other colors in the garden.
So I ask you, do you think the flowers of the two plants look more like a goat's beard or like feathers? Does one more resemble feathers than a goats beard? And are the two so similar you would not grow both in your garden?
in the garden....


  1. Finally! I have tried 3 times and am also having trouble getting to the blogs. Got you, Dave (but no post yest) and Frances but still have not got into Gail's. Hope the problem is with Goggle and not my (Christy's)

    The flower does do look a lot like each other but the filiage is quite different. I see no problem at all in planting together. I think their names are a good fit.

    Hope all has a good day and I sure do wish Skeeter could send me some of her energy!!

  2. Oh lordy I have 2 typos but am sure you all know what I meant. LOL Should have read it before posting but just wanted to get it there since I has already tried 3 times.

  3. Jean, Energy all used up as of last night. LOL, I went to bed at 9:30 and slept like a baby until 6:00 this morning when the Saint’s alarm clock went off! Darn clock! I stayed up because I felt like I was on display with the blinds off the windows! LOL...

    I watered the plants outside early so as to beat the heat. Calling for humid and in 90's the rest of the week. Summer is here in the Deep South folks... argggg I am already missing Spring...

    I like the two similar plants and my vote goes for feathers! When reading the title of the posting, I was looking for a picture of a goat! LOL… I have different salvias planted beside each other. I thought Salvia was Salvia then found out differently. You learn something new every day…

  4. I've had problems all morning, some antivirus updater that I did not want to buy. It was running and opening up all the time, or google error page would appear. Try again

  5. My post this morning was to tell you Jack of all trades is not going to plow in front of the house so I have a spare spot! Yesterday I was thinking astillbe, and I still am. Like mom, I like the darker foliage. Both are pretty, wondering if the goats beard drys up well?

  6. Tina,

    At first I wondered if you were going to tell us that you were now keeping goats...if that was the case I wanted to borrow them to clear my Bush Honeysuckle forest!

    It is a lovely plant your yard naturally moist or do you have to keep it watered? The adequate moisture and good drainage is the kiss of death for plants at C&L...we have neither!

    Feathers or goat's beard? I like the plant no matter what it's called!


  7. Mom, I wonder what the problem is? I hope it gets fixed. Sorry you are having trouble. How is your garden growing? The hydrangea? Look for a post soon on it. I will keep both plants as they are nice and a bit different-but not much.

    Skeeter, Getting hot here too. I may have to break down and turn on the a/c. I sure wish you all would get some rain. I think feathers for the flowers too.

    Dawn, You should grow them both. The goat's beard gets so much bigger. Both dry well on the plant and I would assume if you cut and bring inside. You could use it for crafts.

    Gail, I can't get anymore animals-too many as it is! My yard is not naturally moist, but I do have a pretty great slope and tons of shade. I think this helps as the slope directs the water in certain ways that I utilize to full advantage. The goats beard is growing near a cedar tree, so I expect it will get dry, I may have to move it. I hope not. The astilbe is on the north side of a deck-and loving it! I think the shade is what does it. Your yard is very dry? I was thinking about your garden the other day when I was researching something. It seems you love wildflowers and I did not realize it but I also have a ton of wildflowers. They are all native and seem easy I guess. Easy is best.

  8. Jean,

    I was having trouble getting onto the blogs this morning as well. I think the problem was with blogger.


    I just put in one white astilbe in the shade garden. I'd like more over time but I'm afraid I'm almost out of space there! They look great.

  9. Dawn, I did'nt have any updater problem but kept getting the google error. Frustating!!

    Tina, garden doing so-so but the hrdragea is doing great. It always has done very well with no care at all. I did cut the dead wood outta it this year for the first time in years. The forsythia's that you split and planted in different locations have really gotten big this year as have all my lilacs. They all seemed to almost double this year.
    The horsechestnuts are in bloom right now and I love those trees. Wish I had one but at this point would never live long enough to see it be a big, exquisite tree.

    I have a funny story about an elm tree. A while ago we had ridden in Terri-Lynn's van to the grange
    as we met Rothwell there and then we all went to Grassianno's for supper (Rothwell's idea and treat). Coming home I mentioned the horsechestnuts and she asked me about the elm tree and the ones that were at Nana's. She said there is one lone elm tree in Harpswell and she loved it, that it was a magnificence tree. Well she turned around to show it to me and it was dark out!!! Yesterday on the way to Portland she said she always looks at it every time she goes by it. So maybe the "don't garden at all person" will someday become a gardener but somehow, I doubt it.

  10. Hi Tina --well I had to break down --not chatting with you gals was just too much. I now have another account to remember the password, lol. With my online shopping --I despise shopping locally --prefer to find girly girl clothes online so I have numerous "cool" stores I can shop at for my girl model. And, lots of passwords to remember, hahahah. The snake posting was something else --we about ran over one barefoot in the yard a few days ago. Should teach me to wear shoes --always have until we moved down south --too warm and easier:) The kiddos are actively playing baseball --we have our first official t-ball game tonight. I hope the Sidekick doesn't fall asleep before it starts, lol. It starts at 7:15 PM --his bath time is typically 7:30 PM. Should be interesting -since the practices are an absolute hoot. We've been a swimming bunch --it sure is hot now --I believe spring skipped out sometime last week. And, Tina I broke down and cut the air on 1 Jun. When the boy number 2 had a few fish die I knew it must be too hot upstairs. Hey, last months electric was PRETTY nice --but this cool air feels better than anything on paper:) I hope you are all doing well. I missed y'all! I got a whole bunch of free iris --what fun it will be when they bloom --no idea what colors they are:) I took out another dead bush (product of last years drought) and filled that spot with iris. My neighbor gave me a wagonfull of iris too:) He was thinning out his front yard --off to swim and get ready for ball. I can now answer and write =-too exciting. hahah Ciao!

  11. Hi Tina, I had trouble this morning too, couldn't even get to my own blog to made the new posting, or visit anyone else. I gave up and later it was working. It was blogger acting up again, I think. You know I have both the deutschland astilbe, it is a hardy soul, and the white goat's beard, not as vigorous for me. Maybe up north in cooler temps it grows to be that tall, although there are dwarf types. I have found the astilbe vision in pink to be extremely tough and can go with less water, astilbe chinensis types are courser stemmed and usually have pink or purple flowers, and are taller. I wouldn't put the two white's together, you can't tell it's two different plants! But if you like it, that's all that matters. ;->

  12. Frances, I forgot to say thanks for identifying the Korean Boxwood for me! I am now thinking about letting it grow if only 3 feet in height as that may not be too high above the wall. Then with Daves idea of a few pots of flowers on top of the wall, it may look really nice...

    We have had the AC on for a while now. But off during nice cool low humidity days but now I fear the humidity is here to stay... Bye Bye spring....

    I did not have trouble with In the Garden but could not comment on Dave or Jillys sights this morning. Will check in on them again now...

    As I was putting some bunny repellent out this evening, Mr Bunny was laying down about 3 feet from me watching me. Was funny and I reckon he was thinking, Ha, she thinks that stuff stinks and I kind of like it... LOL...

    New windows coming in the morning. Whoopee I am excited about that! Finally pretty white windows to match the rest of the trim on the house….

    Saint and I picked up some fence to fence in the small dogwood that the deer have been eating. I decided I like where it is located and dont want to move it again as this is the second spot for it to be moved. It is doing well where it is except for the deer so we will surround it with a fence... arggg, keep to the corn darn deer!

    Night all...

  13. Hi Dave, Wonder what is up with Blogger? Anyone know? You'll love the astilbe in the shade garden, smart not to fill it up and have to move them later.

    Mom, Neat story. I think you don't have to be a gardener to love living things and maybe this is Rothwell. Glad the hydrangea is doing super. You should take a picture and send me one-is it near to blooming?

    Anonymous, I was about to send out the posse and see where you were! I know you are busy with the kiddos but how can you not come and chat? Glad you are back. I am coming to that side of town tomorrow-for sure! I can stop by-early in the morning? I have a 1030appointment and am visiting another garden prior to that but would love to stop and say hey-in person! I broke down and turned on my upstairs a/c today. Yes, when fish start dying, it is maybe a bit too hot! I guess you could tolerate if you don't move. lol Why did you need a new password? Not understanding this. Hope sidekicks game went swimmingly. I can see him getting in to sports. Super congrats on new irises! You have been busy. Surprises are nice.

    Frances, What is it with blogger? I remember you showed me your astilbes and the difference between the Chinese and regular astilbe. I am looking everywhere for one of those coarse stemmed ones because I liked it very much. Yes, I think it might be a bit hot down here for Goat's beard and maybe it grows better up north. I did move mine last year and it has helped a bit.

    Skeeter, I am excited for you with new windows! We need them too-doesn't almost everyone who does not live in a new house? The view will improve without those dividers. I hate that and the noise. Mr. Bunny is laughing at you for sure. I hope the fence helps keep the deer away. Pesky critters! I am saying the same about weeds-too many of them! I need some pine straw like you. Spring is gone...hello humidity. On a good note, the heat loving plants are growing pretty fast.

    I finally planted my summer crop tonight. Boy, I forgot what a pain it is to plant seeds. I am using more than normal this year. Not sure why. Sore and tired. Tomorrow is a day out of the garden...nice.

  14. Like you Tina, I'm very tired. Cleaned out back of house so I could put my potting table under the eve where it's shady, cooler & out of the yard. Now to put my potting soil container {which is a very large trash can on wheels} where it will be close. Maybe dig out some more Pinecone Ginger, Hmmmm. Not to worry there is plenty left.
    I've had trouble comment today. Was about to give up completely. Hope this one goes through. Quite a few people have had puter trouble today for some reason. Some of it was like Dawn had. Maybe tomorrow will be back to normal.

  15. Welcome back Anonymous. I missed hearing about the kiddos and your fun with them!!!! Hope you can get a quick break each day.

    Tina, it was not Rothwell that is having such a time over the elm tree....your sister!!!! Rothwell actually loves plants and flowers, just does not tend too much to them himself as he hires people to do it. But Terri-Lynn could care less in any way about them.

    I was outside all afternoon today and did'nt get too much done but did get the solar lamps outta basement that you gave me. Put up a new bird feeder pole with 4 hooks. Looks good. But really what looks great is at the end of the house. Christy came down and we trimmed that huge honeysuckle.
    It was so big and has a, probably20ft. half circle where Christy had planed different hostas a few years ago and they have gotten so big but you could not see them cause the honeysuckle was covering them all. Now to get the 6 or 8 large piles of the trimmed stuff outta there. I have a guy coming at 9am in the morn with 7 yards of loam for down back. Then to spread it all out and then I can get my veggies all in. Don't know if I can use the tomatoes I started or not as they are quite the jungle!!! May have to go buy some. The watermelons will be okay, so that is good. I did'nt start peppers so will have to buy some. Rest of stuff will just be seeds in the ground. Now if nothing eats it all, I will be lucky. Never had veggies that close to the woods before so I am worried. If I have to I will get some fence but hope I don't have to. Better go to bed so I can get up early.

  16. The flowers on each plant look so similar that it's hard for me to tell the difference. The leaves on the plant are different, but I like the goat's beard more. The flowers are nice, but they seem lighter and fluffy to me. :)

  17. Lola, I think it is the time of year, busy season and with the heat it gets to be a bit much. Hope you can rest soonest! I see the light too!

    Mom, I was so unclear about who exactly you were talking about. Terri will begin gardening once she retires I am thinking. Right now she doesn't have the time. Who knows, maybe she will get involved in Nana's garden.

    Mom, you sound amazing out there in the garden. Better put Papa to work spreading that loam. I will let you tell Skeeter what it is. 7 yards is a TON! Better for your garden though.

    DP, So you vote feathers for the goats beard? I think so as well. They are nice plants and a bit different. The flower spikes stay a long time. Always important.