In this month's Product Profile, we're taking a look at astilbe, which is currently in season. With its delicate feathery plumes, it's a popular filler flower, perfect for adding texture to designs.
From the Saxifragaceae family, the name 'astilbe' comes from the Greek 'a' meaning without and 'stilbe' meaning brilliance, which is quite surprising considering the flower's elegant nature. Some people put it down to the fact that the name refers to the lack of showiness in the original Chinese flowers, whilst others comment that it's because each flower on its own is very tiny and insignificant.
Astilbe is available in white, pale pink, dark pink and red, with the most in-demand variety being the powdery pink, Europa. You'll usually find this delicate bloom at the Market from May to September/October, in wraps of ten stems.
As plants, from the end of March until mid May, they're available in white, pink and red.
Here are some of the varieties which you'll find at the Market...
Elisabeth van Veen
Washington (sometimes you may see it referred to as Whashingthon)
Ronny at Bloomfield says: "Astilbe like a lot of water, as they originally used to grow in bogs. And if you're not careful, their foliage can dry out. So make sure that you keep the vases they're in topped up with water."
To help to avoid the tips of your astilbe going brown, you can dip their stems in Quick Dip when you condition them. And if you find that your astilbe starts to droop, try re-cutting the stems and placing them in warm water.
More often than not used as a filler flower in hand-tied bouquets, table arrangements, candelabra designs and bridal bouquets, this frothy flower can also hold its own as a focal flower. Check out this stunning bridesmaid's bouquet.
Here are some examples of beautiful designs using astilbe...
(Source: Scarlet & Violet)
(Source:Catherine Muller Flower School London)
(Source: Zita Elze)
(Source: Tony Marklew | By Appointment Only Design)
(Source: Jay Archer)
(Source: Paul Thomas Flowers)
(Source: Sweet Pea Flowers)
(Source: Tammy Weaver | TMS Events)
(Source: Tania McLaren | The Kitchen Table Florist)
(Source:Sophie Townsend Flowers)
We'd love to see photos of arrangements that you've made using astilbe from New Covent Garden Flower Market. Simply send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org, stating your company name and website address. Or if you prefer, you could post your photo on Twitter and copy us in, by including @MarketFlowers in your tweet. We'll then upload your photos into this section.
I hope you've enjoyed reading this month's Product Profile. Please do ask away below if you have any questions or would like to make any general comments. As always, we'd love to hear from you...
P.S. Did you know that the common name for astilbe is false goat's beard?!