Friday, July 30, 2010

The Most Impressive Hydrangeas

This is the time of year the big ones show their stuff!  They do not bloom all summer but when they do, they are show stoppers.

This is Limelight Hydrangea.  I cut it down in March in a semi-circle so that it will bloom throughout the plant and not just on top.  It grows to about 7 feet tall and just as wide.  Limelight enjoys full sun but will bloom in part shade.  Fertilize with an acid fertilizer in the spring and again in the early summer.  The blooms begin a white with a tinge of green, then turn greenish and then pink to rose to tan in the winter.  I cut them at three stages and leave some dried tan for winter interest.  The is a spectacular plant and will draw many comments from those who pass by.

The flowers are large and fluffy, somewhat pendulous but not bending to weigh the plant down.  If not shaped in the spring it will get many blooms on top and tend to look top heavy.

This is Unique Hydrangea and it can grow to eight feet or more.  I shape it to about two feet tall in the spring and it grows to about six feet on my tight north side of the house.  I love this one, it is so Victorian, white, then white with pink then rose.  It is unusual because it has many seed heads showing amongst the florets.

The panicles are about twelve inches long and last for years when they are dried.

This is my daughter-in-law's Pink Diamonds Hydrangea.  We shaped it in the spring because it had been let go to the point where there were only blooms at the top.  It will probably take another year before it is a full shape with flowers throughout.  It is more upright than Unique, not as pendulous, flowers not as large, but does go through the full range of colors until the end of the seasons.

You can have beautiful hydrangeas with the proper shaping and feeding.  All of the above hydrangeas grow on old and new wood so it can only help each year to cut out any dead branches, not to worry about bringing them down to a size that will work on your property, don't forget to feed!


Anonymous said...

Dear Eileen, As you may imagine, I love your hydrangeas. The H. 'Limelight' reminds me of H. 'Annabelle' which is one of my absolute favourites in the garden. Yours looks so vigorous and healthy that I am not surprised that passers-by stop and stare!!

RainGardener said...

Eileen your Hydrangeas are lovely. I'd like to get more but hate to ask Bob to dig more holes. ;-) He's so tired from all the work I cause him to do. Your post was very informative, I like that because I learn so many new things in the garden.

Gatsbys Gardens said...

Edith, the flowers are not quite as round as Annabelle and the color changes are more involved. It is also much taller, at least in our area, so I really only have room for this one accent planting.

There is a new introduction called Incrediball which is supposed to replace Annebelle because of its stem strength (no flopping). Have you heard anything about this one in England?


Gatsbys Gardens said...

Rain Gardener,

I went looking for some smaller ones the other day, and there is nothing available that doesn't look dried up.


Roses and Lilacs said...

A very timely post, for me anyway. I passed a house yesterday that had a Limelight growing and thought it would be perfect for the east side of my house. I'm really considering adding one this fall.

Gatsbys Gardens said...

Hi Marnie, The Limelight has to be my favorite because it is so lush and goes through so many colors. When I cut them, I give to neighbors, family and myself and still have some left on the bush for winter interest.


Anonymous said...

Dear Eileen, No, as yet I have not come across H. 'Incrediball'[!!] but it does sound rather promising. I shall report back if it comes my way.

meemsnyc said...

Wow, we've never had any luck with hydrangeas. We've had 2 that died in the heat! Yours is so lovely!

Gatsbys Gardens said...

meemsync, most hydrangeas like a little shade. One that will withstand full sun is Limelight, and this year there was another full sun introduction but I do not remember the name. Even the ones that will grow in part sun will wilt in very warm weather. They usually perk up with a little water when the sun goes down.


Carolyn Gail said...

What you said, plus a lot more !You forgot to say the best hydrangea in a century, Eileen
:-) I've sung the praises of 'Limelight ' ever since I met it a few years ago. I've got three in my small urban garden.

Tatyana@MySecretGarden said...

Eileen, they are outstanding, indeed! Limegreen is a pure delight! Very good pictures!

Gatsbys Gardens said...

Carolyn, I am looking for some space in my back garden that I could sit out on the patio and look at Limelight.