Hydrangeas: Horribly effective

Hydrangea ‘Curly Sparkle’ red

I have mentioned before how hydrangeas are growing on me. I always admired them for their ability to provide clouds of colour for ages and I even like the way many of them age, providing interesting texture and form in the autumn garden. I tend to prefer the way the blues age, becoming suffused with green, to the reds but I wouldn’t be too picky and there are always exceptions.

Hydrangea ‘Adula’ blue

What worries me is that I have always associated them with non-gardeners. I tend to associate them with small front gardens at the front of terraced town houses where the tiny front plot is concreted over or covered in gravel with a diamond- shape of tired old soil that has never seen a scrap of organic matter. The nearest to fertiliser it ever gets is its use as a cat toilet.

Hydrangea ‘Ningbo Blue’

And yet the hydrangea thrives. In spring a few daffodils bravely bloom and perhaps some London’s Pride or some straggly aubrieta tries to escape from its captivity. But the hydrangea is the pride of the garden.

And, despite seeing hydrangeas used in so many ways, there is something so totally artificial and urban about them that I cannot really take to them. They are useful, easy, colourful, effective but not quite for me.

Hydrangea ‘Cabaret’ blue

Well at least until now. As the possibility of creating a new garden creeps ever closer (please solicitors, read this and get your arses in gear) I am considering planting hydrangeas. Not one or two, but toying with the idea of hydrangeas in rows, clumps, as hedges and edges, as backdrops and focal points.

Hydrangea ‘Sweet Fantasy Violet’

There are so many to chose from and so many ways to manipulate their colour. These photos are just some of those I have bought. I fear I am getting obsessed.

Hydrangea ‘Selena’

I am half hoping this is just a phase brought on by stress – we will see!

Hydrangea ‘Benxi’




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4 Comments on “Hydrangeas: Horribly effective”

  1. alifesgayventure
    September 6, 2017 at 7:56 am #

    i did not realise there are so many varieties, it would be great if u would plant a hydrangea garden and include all the different varieties. though i noticed that like now where i am, (and funny u said it is usually grown in pots in city gardens, i live in london,with concreted areas, haha, because that is what it is here) the hydrangeas are all overgrown , with no flowers and just twigs.so your special hydrangea garden will be bare periodically for some time as they go through a period where they need to be pruned, and then there will be no flowers at all till the new growth matures.

    • thebikinggardener
      September 6, 2017 at 7:28 pm #

      The best way to prevent the lack of flowers you describe is to cut out about a quarter of the old stems every spring to thin out the growth. That way you avoid the year without any blooms at all and also prevent a build up of twiggy, weak growth and small flower heads.

  2. digwithdorris
    September 6, 2017 at 10:56 am #

    What about some of the newer versions?

    • thebikinggardener
      September 6, 2017 at 7:26 pm #

      All the pics are of very recent or brand new varieties. I am not use if they are good garden plants yet. They certainly offer variety and contrast to some of the older types.

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