Monday, June 1, 2009

Hydrangea madness



I knew summer had arrived when the hydrangeas started blooming last week. That plus the fact that I stepped outside after dinner this evening and found myself soaked in sweat after being out there for only ten minutes. Ugh, that part I don't like about Alabama!





I've never counted the varieties of hydrangeas in our garden but I'd say the number would be close to fifty. Michael is the hydrangea fanatic but I have to confess that I have grown very fond of them.



One of the easiest to grow is "Annabelle". It blooms on new wood and can be cut down to the ground and will come back and bloom -



"Veitchii" is one of my favorite lacecaps. It should be covered in blooms in a few weeks -



Michael's favorite is "Purple Tiers" -



The much lauded "Endless Summer" sulked for two years but this year it is pretty impressive -



"Lady in Red" has performed in a spectacular fashion, growing very fast and blooming heavily every year -



And probably the most common hydrangea, "Nikko Blue" is hard to beat -



The oakleaf hydrangeas are excellent and more adaptable to sunnier spots. If you have limited space, try a dwarf variety, such as "Sike's Dwarf" -



I have created an entire guide on growing hydrangeas on my website. These plants are easy to grow and excellent for shady areas in your garden.

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25 comments:

Kelsey said...

Glad you are back! Great photos!

gardenerprogress/Catherine said...

I love hydrangeas, probably in the top 3 of my favorite flowers. I didn't know 'Annabelle' bloomed on new wood, that's good to know. I have at least 4 that won't be blooming this year because of late freezes. I have 2 oakleaf and one is a dwarf, love them. I agree that 'Nikko Blue' is hard to beat, it grows so fast and always has lots of flowers. I loved seeing some of your different varieties.

Rob (ourfrenchgarden) said...

Another visual treat.

I like the woodsy feel where you're growing them with Hosta and what i think is a Holly fern.

I didn't realise how much shade the oakleaf can take.

Anonymous said...

As a new reader of gardening blogs I am so impressed with all that is shared in yours. You and your partner have created such beautiful gardens, and what a lesson for those of us who are unfamiliar with gardening down South.

Thanks for sharing!

Tim said...

I certainly hope your neighbors realize how lucky they are to have all of the benefits of a park in the neighborhood! Just exquisite. It's clear you and Michael are passionate about the garden!

Darla said...

I can see why you guys are fond of the Hydrangeas...just wonderful!

Roses and Lilacs said...

I didn't know there were that many different hydrangeas. You have an amazing collection. Here in northern IL there aren't as many relaible ones. Peegee, Annabelle, and Limelite are my favorites. I wish the lacecaps and Nikko were hardy.
Marnie

Dave said...

I'm seeing all these great pictures of hydrangeas everywhere but I don't have a great spot for any. Too much sun! I need more trees to grow hydrangeas! I'll get there eventually. Everything looks great Phillip!

Mr. McGregor's Daughter said...

"Hydrangea Madness" means something very different around here. It generally refers to the lengths to which Chicago area gardeners will go to protect their Mopheads over the winter, or to acidify the soil to get them to be blue.
Your garden is a Hydrangea paradise. Absolutely gorgeous! I love them all, but especially 'Purple Tiers' and 'Nikko Blue.' The 'Nikko Blues' up here just don't compare.

sweet bay said...

Wow, so many Hydrangeas -- they're lovely.

I agree with you about the heat -- low 90's here for the next couple of days, with high humidity.

Jamie and Randy said...

Those are beautiful pictures Phillip. It seems like evertime you take a photo you get a different view.

Dirt Princess said...

I have rooted several hydrangeas this year, for next year. Quite a few veriagated lacecaps. I am amazed by your 50 hydrangeas. Do ya'll tinker with the soil at all? I don't mess with mine, I just let them be. They are all shades of blue and purples. I have 2 lacecaps that were pink when planted, and now they are a deep deep blue, and they are beautiful.

Annie in Austin said...

Maybe Alabama is just Hydrangea Heaven, Phillip? In Illinois I could get new-wood bloomer Annabelle to bloom and did well with the oakleaf, but like MMD - saw myself & friends go nuts trying to get the fancier ones to survive and keep a few buds alive over winter. Now in Austin my one puny non-blooming hydrangea is trying to commit suicide so it can get out of TX.

It's so much easier and saner to come here when Dreaming of Hydrangeas!

Annie at the Transplantable Rose

Phillip said...

Thanks for all the comments! '

Dirt Princess, I don't tinker with the soil at all. Most of our hydrangeas are in the blue range because we have more acid soil.

Annie, yeah I wouldn't think that Texas would be too kind on them. But look at all the other nice plants that you can grow!

Gail said...

Phillip, I love the lace caps best, but only grow H arborescens spps and oakleafs. They are happy here! I know over the next few weeks we are going to be treated to photos of the delightful varieties in your garden! I can't wait! gail

Les said...

If this be madness... sign me up. Hydrangeas are one of my passions.

(word verification is "paltime")

Laurie and Joshua said...

That is a lot of hydrangeas.
Its too bad that they dont do very well in Colorado.
www.lifeseedco.blogspot.com

Monica the Garden Faerie said...

It's peony madness here at the moment--the two plants always remind me of one another. (Incidentally, we Michiganders seem to be able to have hydrangeas without any extra winter protection.)

Deborah Younglao, Silk Painter said...

Oh Lovely hydrangeas! Their cool-colored blooms do take the edge off the summer heat a bit! The only variety I have in my garden is Endless Summer, which I'm very happy with, except that it's perpetually thirsty.

Layanee said...

The hydrangeas are just beginning to bud up here. Yours are wonderful. Nikko won't bloom reliably for me but 'Endless Summer' has done well. Must plant more! I think my favorite is 'Limelight'.

Chandramouli S said...

All I can do is dream of Hydrangeas in summer here. It's so pleasing to see their smiling bunches in your garden. That cool blue must be so refreshing in the summer heat! Great photos, Phillip!

Jean said...

Phillip, that last hydrangea you mentioned, the smaller one, is that also an oakleaf one? Sounds like something I should try to find. My Lady in Red is two years old and just now starting to bloom a lot. I really like it though.

Lisa at Greenbow said...

I just love your hydrangea collection. Mine don't bloom very good. I can't figure out why. I have quite a few but the variety doesn't seem to matter. They just don't bloom profusely. Your garden looks fantastic now with all those balls of blooms.

Jim/ArtofGardening said...

Can you even TAKE a bad shot in your garden? I don't think it's hydrangea madness. I think it's regular madness.

Meredith said...

Beautiful photos. I love the wooded areas of your garden! Since I love in Austin, I can't say I've seen too many of these gorgeous flowers.