Providing colour all the way through summer and autumn, but never really one of the stars of the garden, is the family of Hydrangeas . There are quite a few different varieties on offer at the garden centres, with new hybrids are being produced all the time.
Hydrangea macrophylla Blue Wave, such a beautiful blue, at the start of the pergola. This variety has large lacecap flowerheads, the actual flowers are very small in the centre of all the showy sepals.
A colour matched clematis keeps H. Blue wave company, with Crocosmia Solfaterre at its feet.
H. macrophylla Ayesha, which has upward curling petals like lilac flowers. This bush can’t decide if it wants to be pink or blue, I hope it makes its mind up soon as it is neither one nor the other at the moment.
A close up of H. Ayesha showing the curling petals.
Big, blowsy mophead hydrangeas are a favourite in English seaside gardens. The heads are quite large and do flop in the rain as my H. Mdme Emile Mouillerre has done.
H. Mdme Emile Moulliere is supposed to be white, but the rain has made her change colour. Some of the mopheads have a pink hue and others are looking slightly blue.
A pink mophead by the front of the house. This was the first hydrangea that I planted 27 yrs ago and is a huge bush now. I think the soil is alkaline here near the house because of the mortar from the building.
Hydrangea paniculata with cones of white flowers. This is my newest hydrangea, just 4 yrs old.
I like the cone shaped flowers. This variety gets cut down each spring as it flowers on new wood, the others flower on last years wood.
A white lacecap in the corner of the back garden. The flower heads on this one are huge, must be a good 10 inches across. The tiny flowers are in the centre even though they are hard to see.
My lovely blue mophead, next to the white lacecap. This blue one used to be pink when my mother grew it in a pot, but once released into the garden here, it soon changed colour.
Hydrangeas like moisture retentive soil, which we have in abundance, so that is probably why they do so well in the garden here. They also seem to do better with a bit of shade at the hottest part of the day, we have plenty of that too. They are one of the workhorses of the garden, don’t need much attention, just the old flower heads to come off in the spring once winter is over, but apart from that, they just get on with life providing much needed colour until the frost arrives. Even when the flowers are fading, they change colour to the most delightful shades, I wouldn’t be without them.