Hydrangeas: a Southern favorite

My fondness for hydrangeas began years ago when my parents’ next door neighbors planted 2 of these bushes facing our carport. Every year they got a little bit bigger and its blooms grew even larger, like huge blue pom-poms. That cornflower blue has always been one of my favorite colors, and blue can be an unusual hue to find in the garden. So I was thrilled when I bought my house and found that the previous owner had also loved his hydrangeas: there were eight or so already growing here!

I’ve seen powder blue, bright white, pale green and even purple flowers, but I absolutely love this pop of pink from this florist hydrangea I bought on the “dead plant”, er…clearance rack at the local garden center. A lot of people told me not to even bother planting it next to the established hydrangeas because most of the florist or gift hydrangeas won’t really grow more than 2 feet and may never flower again, but this one is now 4′ tall with big, showy blooms. Last year it was violet, but this year it has reverted back to the pink it was when I bought it. Did you know that hydrangea flowers’ colors are changeable according to the soil balance?
Mine are pretty easy care: I prune them in February removing the dead leaves and flowers and any crispy-looking stems, careful to protect the little buds that will lead to new leaves in a few months. Some people choose to prune these all the way back to the ground to keep the plants compact: they bloom on new growth, so you will still get blooms if you hard prune them. But I like mine sprawling over the grass border, too heavy to stand up on their own. Ivy and vinca grows beneath them like a natural mulch, providing protection to the roots in the wintertime.
Perfect for kicking back next to in the lounger this late May with a tall glass of tea and the Kindle.

2 thoughts on “Hydrangeas: a Southern favorite

  1. Hi Cat, Hydrangeas seem to be on of my favourite subjects for photography. I love the way that their booms catch the light. Every year I add to my collection.

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