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Michael Perry's Gardening Blog

Hydrangeas, September 2012


Hydrangeas - could they be the UK’s favourite shrub? We’ve certainly seen ‘Schloss Wackerbarth’ fly off the shelves in recent months.

Hydrangea macrophylla 'Schloss Wackerbarth'

But did you know that there are so many different types to choose from… whether you want a patio feature (look at ’Tivoli and Bavaria’) or a great big border specimen (try out ’Incrediball’), maybe even try growing them as a hedge.

Hydrangea macrophylla are perhaps the better known ones, and mopheads are definitely the most popular. 'Avantgarde' is the most spectacular, with over-sized, almost steroid-packed flowerheads. They just get bigger and bigger as the season progresses too, swelling up to a foot across.

Hydrangea macrophylla 'Incrediball'

These hydrangeas are a bit magical too; on acidic soils the flowerheads will be blue, whilst on alkaline soils they’ll be pink. Now how cool is that?! You can have fun with ‘Schloss Wackerbarth’ too, as those psychedelic colours will look wildly different depending on your soil, but always spectacular!

They love some shade too, so are ideal for difficult corners! Do be careful with pruning of hydrangea macrophylla, only prune off the faded flowerheads, don’t cut down the whole stem. If you do, you won’t have any flowers the next year!

Hydrangea paniculata 'Vanilla Fraise'

Now, hydrangea paniculata are a different animal. They thrive in sun and are less fussy about pruning. They also look quite different, with conical, often creamy-pinky blooms. They make nice big robust plants, which can be used as hedging or even pruned into a ‘tree’ form! Try ‘Vanilla Fraise’ and ‘Limelight’.

And, another interesting hydrangea is the climbing hydrangea petiolaris. This is a climber which will survive in the most shady, most inhospitable areas of your garden! Pretty, lacy blooms come from early summer!

Lastly, have some fun with the popcorn hydrangea ‘Ayesha’ - this is a macrophylla type with curled blooms, blue on acid, pink on alkaline!

Follow me on twitter @gardening_greek keep up to date with all the new plant developments!

See you for now,

Michael Perry, New Product Development Manager, Thompson & Morgan

Hydrangea 'Avantgarde'

Hydrangea 'Avantgarde'

Hydrangea 'Limelight'

Hydrangea 'Limelight'

Hydrangeas 'Bavaria' (left) and 'Tivoli' (top and bottom right)

Hydrangeas 'Bavaria' (left) and 'Tivoli' (top and bottom right)

Hydrangea petiolaris

Hydrangea petiolaris

Hydrangea 'Ayesha'

Hydrangea 'Ayesha'

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