12 June 2011

Hydrangea Gratitude

Plants can evoke memories of a personal event or a person. A gift plant is permanent - marking an event or symbolizing thanks long after a gift basket is eaten or a floral arrangement has dried out. I have a few such plants in the yard and will write about others at a later time.

My miniature rose bush [28.5.2011] was one such thank you gift, and the Oak Leaf Hydrangea (Hydrangea quercifolia) was another. This plant was given to me by an artist friend for helping her with a web site of her work. She heard me mention in passing that I was going to eventually get a hydrangea, because other friends previously promised a piece from their yard but never delivered.

The hydrangea came in a medium sized pot with extremely thick stems resembling tree trunks, but was otherwise healthy. It had been cut back severely in the past, probably because it was outgrowing its home. I was afraid the roots were too shackled to pull through the transplant, but it grew and bloomed for the past three years.

The friends that promised a piece of their plant keep warning me of the monsters these can become. I have been carefully watching it and strategically trimming in the fall. It still has more space to grow into.

It is a native to southeastern deciduous U.S. forests, and is at home in my partially shaded back yard. An added bonus from this plant is the ruby red leaves in the fall. The hydrangea is also available in white or light pink blossoms now, and also in double blossoms. The one I received came with no other name on its tag.

The 10-inch long (25 cm) ice cream cone flowers (as a neighbor's child calls them) were more numerous this year, but not as vibrant white. I attribute this to the dry weather. I am recovering from surgery last week and could not tend the gardens for a while. The plant wilted as blooms started. Water saved it, but the flowers still exhibit a brown tinge. I have read that it does not like heavy clay soil, but so far is happy and healthy in my partially-amended Virginia clay.

For The Record:
  • Heavy clay soil with mulch and organic amendments
  • Partial shade
  • No bother from pests or diseases

Garden Calendar:
  • Blooming: hydrangea, larkspur, geranium, nicotiana, orange daylily, marigold, cleome, coneflower, hosta,
     asian lily, salvia, poppy
  • Vegetables: tomato and Pepper blooming & setting fruit
  • Harvested: 1 onion, lettuce


flwrjane said...
I love these. my neighbor and I planted one the same summer. Hers is a beauty. Mine lasted about 5 years but got too much water due to ahem, drainage problems.

I hope you recovery goes well and your garden thrives. We have a beautiful day today don't we?

xo Jane
Janet, The Queen of Seaford said...
Glad to hear you are on the mend.
I love Oakleaf Hydrangeas too. Their fall color alone would be a great reason to have one. There is one down the road that swamps a large pickup truck! It is in the middle of the yard and they can hide their truck behind it. It is perfectly shaped and full of blooms. I can't begin to imagine how old it is.
NellJean said...
They do reach some size. Tara Dillard prunes hers up into a tree shape. The blossoms turn from white to pink, then tan. I cut off the dry beige blooms, personal preference. Some people like them.
Swimray said...
You too, on the size thing! Maybe I should get out ahead of this move the plant to an area where it can spread while it is still manageable.

Again with the size. You know, you are right on the color! Blossoms are turning a slight shade of pink as they die. I never noticed that before. (What kind of gardeners am I?)
Swimray said...
I enjoyed that day. No work and no gardening. Just sitting on the deck under the umbrella and chillin. (The pain killer drug helped too.)