Heavenly Hydrangeas

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.

Oakleaf Hydrangea

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.

Hydrangea ‘Frillibet’

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.

Hydrangea ‘Annabelle’

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!

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