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Tuesday, 25 June 2019

Hydrangea Heaven

Hydrangea aspera

One plant that will catch your eye coming into flower now in July and extending on until October is hydrangea. Mop heads, lace caps and the large paniculata and arbourensis varieties can look dramatically spectacular. 

Arbourensis Annabelle

If you visit the wonderful Cotswold Hidcote gardens make sure you see the display in the Hydrangea walk. The Hydrangeas look very natural in the woody and wild area.. 
Some years ago I happen to have an area of ground underneath a willow I felt needed of a good impact shrub and it offer me the perfect hydrangea space. It is quite a dappled shaded area though not dark and not dry. I planted not the showy bright mopheads (macrophylla) that are lovely and belong in my opinion to a more ornamental garden or pots but the wild looking Aspera  ssp Sargentiana, the fuzzy leaved giant with lace cap style flowers which can still retain their bluer tones in limey soil.

Hydrange aspera
I  have yet to squeeze in, or should I say provide a large amount of space for, a H. Arborescens ‘Annabelle’ but  I will!. 
Hydrandea 'Annabelle'

 This is the most classic and compact of the arborescens,  white beautiful and natural looking with heads that are large and bold. I may plant this by the fence which will provide a bit of support should it get heavy heads. This can be grown like a hedge and cut back every year to about 18”, the aim is to encourage strong stems that will support the amazing heads. A ‘Pink  versions of ‘Annabella’ is available and these make an equally wonderful shrub.

I also would like to get the oak leaved H. Quercifolia established.
Hydrangea Quercifolia
 This has the most wonderful woody character and beautiful leaves with large white but graceful and delicate flowers. There is nothing brash about this plant, it is very natural and the leave turns a lovely rich Autumn colour. It hates cold wet feet when trying to establish so I will overcome this problem by adding some bark (not wood chip) to the soil or roughage.  Once established it should thrive in my little woodland glade.

As we approach the latter end of summer out burst the paniculata hydrangeas. Lime light is a favourite and new varieties appear to appear all the time. Long enormous white heads of breath taking fresh flowers below and many beginning white and changing to pink and shades of burgundy over time

Hydrangea pan. Vanille Fraise
Hydrangea pan. Magic Candle begins cream and then fades to pinks or blues depending on the soil acidity. Most paniculata varieties reach about 1.25cm to 1.75cm tall. 
Hydrangea pan. Early Sensation 

Not all have the large  solid flower heads some are more Lacey.These large conical lacey flower panicles also begin creamy white and flush to dusky pink. They are all beautiful definitely the shrub to incude in your garden and take you through into late summer and autumn.

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