"She refused to be bored, chiefly because she wasn't boring." Zelda Fitzgerald

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Hydrangeas Don't Have To Be Blue

 We're getting to the end of the heady blooming season for most gardens. All that really seems to be left are the hardy, and ever optimistic black-eyed-susans. In our garden the same is true, although some previous owner left us one botanical trump card, two stunning hydrangea trees. They're not really trees...in the classical/botanical sense of things, they're shrubs, but over the years somebody worked hard to prune them into beautiful fountaining tree shapes, and with very little care on my part they're the late-season garden stars.
 I love how amazing it feels to be underneath them, the world barely visible through the emerald umbrella the arching stems. They are perfect little dream-houses, wonderful places to play on hot days when the boys are scheming up a world of secret kingdoms.

The Latin name for these hydrangeas (in case you're interested in hunting one up for your own garden corner) is H. paniculata 'Grandiflora.' I love them for being such lush, spectacle bloomers (check out those blossoms as big as my head in the shots above!), their carefree nature, sweet scent, and the way my honeybees are drunkely stumbling all over themselves to get back and forth from the blooms to their hive. Some of my sources tell me that this hydrangea which is a garden plant over 150 years old is out of vogue, and has been overdone in many gardens. I say, baloney! You can't overdo the classic plants, and the only thing it could do to impress me more would be produce fruit. I'm a wild fan.
 The blossoms are positively humming with visitors, tiny butterflies, shimmering irridescent flies and of course the girls from our hive, I even saw a ladybug there, doubtless eating some less fortunate visitors.
I am thinking about trying to dry some of the blossoms this year and hoping for some kind of artful arrangement. I love the delicate, papery way they can end up, like a million tiny wings. See here, here and here for examples of what I'm dreaming of. I could do that, right?

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