Tuesday, August 12, 2014

The year without hydrangeas

Hydrangea Macrophylla
in bloom in my garden in 2013

Well, it hasn’t exactly been a year without hydrangeas. Some of my lace caps and my oakleaf made it. But this year, the hydrangeas I love the most (hydrangea macrophylla AKA mopheads) were nowhere to be seen in the gardens of the Delaware valley.

It was not only the hydrangeas in my own garden which I sorely missed. I loved seeing all the gorgeous blooms in gardens all over my neighborhood. Northwest Philadelphia is a beautiful place overflowing with mature trees and flowering shrubs and I hadn’t realized how much I enjoyed seeing all the hydrangeas in the neighborhood gardens--both those well-tended and those seriously neglected. Once established hydrangeas will bloom forever—unless they’re subjected to a brutal bud-blasting winter such as the winter of 2014.

But in gardening for every disappointment there is always a consolation. Usually the oakleafs start out bright white, fade to pale pink and then turn brown—usually sometime in early to mid-July. This year, probably due to all the rainfall, the oakleaf panicles are still pink.
Oakleaf hydrangea, 2014

And the late blooming hydrangeas which tend to be very hardy are starting to bloom

Tardive hydrangea,2014

But we gardeners are always looking towards the next season and next year I hope to see Nikko Blue again. Two years without my beloved mopheads would be too cruel.
Nikko blue blooming in 2013

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