Hydrangeas are definitely up there on my plant love list. There are many cultivars and they provide for lasting beauty, especially in a shade or part-shade garden. They also make wonderful cut flower arrangements.
I purchased some ‘Blue Billow’ hydrangeas years ago at a nursery in Long Island, which unfortunately no longer exists. These plants have thrived in my garden in both part-shade and full-shade locations. They tend to sucker a bit which has enabled me to cut out sections and then create more colonies of them along the woodland trail. I just love seeing sweeps of periwinkle blue dotting the landscape! They are particularly attractive when paired with a contrasting texture and color like that provided by Osmanthus ‘Goshiki’ or Aucuba. I even like how the blue blooms fade to a muted mauve late in the season.
|Blue Billow Hydrangeas with Aucuba|
Another favorite is the oakleaf hydrangea. Not only is the conical white flower stunning, but the leaf shape is spectacular. The peeling bark adds special interest to the winter garden.
I purchased some Frillibet Hydrangeas from Hydrangeas Plus on the West coast www.hydrangeasplus.com a few years back. They have loved my shady slope and are rewarding me with pale blue blooms.
Last but not least is Hydrangea aborescens. Interestingly enough, a few years back I thought I was purchasing an ‘Annabelle’ hydrangea. Much to my surprise, the plant was actually the straight species – a lacecap variety. This single plant is now a specimen plant in my garden and has performed extremely well.
Of course I had to buy some ‘Annabelle’ hydrangeas too and they are happily sited where you would expect them – along the woodland trail! I find the Hydrangea aborescens perform best when cut to the ground in late winter. This seems to make their stems a bit stronger and better able to hold the weight of the large blooms.
I suppose I would be remiss if I didn’t acknowledge the big leaf hydrangea. Of course I have them in my garden too and am always amazed by the bloom color which changes depending on the acidity or alkalinity of the soil. In a way it’s a reminder of how much influence the soil has on the plants we grow! You can see that my soil varies quite a bit since bloom color ranges from vivid blue, to purple, to pink!
|Bigleaf hydrangeas in more acid soil|
|Bigleaf hydrangeas in more alkaline soil
Please let me know which hydrangeas are your favorites. I would love to hear from you!