Few flowers fade as elegantly as hydrangeas. Although they are not my favourite shrubs, I will miss them when I get back to the east of the UK and have to face drier conditions that make their cultivation problematic. It is a shame they lack fragrance but I certainly won’t hold that against them because they are in colour for so long and even when the bracts are dead and brown they have their own charm. the pinks and reds age elegantly enough but it is the blues that I find captivating. As the bracts age they usually lose their blue colouration and fade to green before they assume strawy shades.
This ‘in between’ stage when blue transitions to green is quite special and there are shades of turquoise and jade otherwise seen only in such exotics as Strongylodon macrobotrys (my how I love saying that – almost as satisfying as Metasequoia glyptostroboides) and Ixia viridiflora.
Last weekend I popped into Mount Usher and there were the hydrangeas, still providing some colour – almost as cheerful as the spinach bake and coffee!