My Hydrangea Obsession

I’ve written about why I became interested in growing hydrangeas and I wonder now if it has gotten a little out of hand! Yesterday, I walked my three-quarter acre property and tallied up my hydrangea collection. Sixty three and counting! Here’s the list!

4-Little Limelight – local nursery

3-Macrophyllas lacecap 2 blues, 1 purple

1-City Line “Mars” 2011

5-Schnee balls macrophylla, (white blooms, ruffled blossoms) 2011

1-Limelight panicle

1-Mom’s hydrangea (funeral bouquet 2001)

1-Oak-leaf Ruby Slippers (2004)

2-Mariesii variegated

1-Little Quick Fire Proven Winners (2016) local nursery

1-Oakleaf Syke’s Dwarf

2-Blue Billows Mountain Hydrangea – original parents Wayside Garden

2-Endless Summer (ES) Let’s Dance Blue Jangles (2019)

5-Macrophyllas propagated from cuttings (2018)

1-Walmart rescue (purple) (2018)

1-Gift macrophylla propagation (2019)

1-Vanilla strawberry (2017)

2-ES Proven Winners Tuff Stuff Ah ha, double bloomer (2019)

1-Annabelle (2015) MG Plant Sale

3-Macrophyllas unknown variety, traditional

2-ES variety unknown. Slow growing

8-Blue billows mountain by propagation from original parents

1-Mountain lacecap Greywood – Wayside Gardens (2002)

1-Oak-leaf Snow Queen (2017)

1-Mystery layering

1-Pinky Winky (2018) Local nursery

2-Nikko Blue (2002)

2-Incrediball h.arborescens

4-Pistachio

1-Merritt’s Supreme (2017)

2-Oak-leaf “Snowflake” double bloomer (in transit 2019)

I’ve obtained these specimens from local nurseries, mail order, propagation from friends, and those I have created myself from layerings and cuttings! I currently have a dozen cuttings in a tub and it looks like all but two will make it!

The challenge now is to find a place for all of these. I would say half of my collection is small and in that “getting established” period of its life.

Back when I did not know what I was doing, I planted some macrophyllas in high heat, strong sun locations. Most are doing okay, but take daily and sometimes twice-a-day waterings. I doubt at this stage they would take to transplanting, but in leaving them where I have, I am creating additional work for myself down the line. I have taken layering and cutting samples from all of these, as I may try to replace them with paniculata.

Here are some of my favorite photos:

Little Quick Fire panicle hydrangea

Proven Winners Little Quick Fire panicle
Variegated Mariesii. This layers very easily. Much of the new growth is not variegated.

Blue and cream flowers on CityLine “Mars”

Proven Winners City Line “Mars”
A hot house hydrangea grown into a large blue shrub
This was a pink florist hydrangea bouquet that was for my mother’s funeral in 2001
Unknown blue macrophylla in foreground. Oakleaf “Syke’s Dwarf” in background
For me a “generic” macrophylla, bought and planted before I knew to record the variety!

Pistachio

Proven Winners “Incrediball” hydrangea arborescens

A young Merritt’s Supreme blossom

Twist and Shout
Oakleaf, I believe is Snow Queen is decidedly lime in July first summer bloom!
Pinky Winky
Pinky Winky first year in the ground! Wiley’s Market Middletown, Delaware

Little Quick Fire July
Vanilla Strawberry or Strawberry Sundae from Wayside aGardens ma order

Ruby Slippers oakleaf. Last year, I did not water this faithfully and it went from white to brown quickly this year I am watering it every day and it helps sustain the pink part of its season.
Little Lime in early July. Despite its 4 foot maximum height, mine are shooting up stems that are over 5 feet!
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Pollinator power!

This is a beautiful Clearwing hummingbird moth, which mimics the colors of a bee. Here I was lucky enough to capture the moth in mid flight enjoying a native plant, bee balm.
humming bird moth on beebalm

My wonderful hydrangea addiction

I just bought my 40th hydrangea shrub. That may or may not seem like a lot unless I factor in my .73 acre lot! There isn’t a garden center in the area I haven’t patronized!

Some recent redesigning of our landscape, including the removal of a diseased tree and a long narrow raised bed along a fence line, provided an excuse to go out and fill up my backseat and haul home new family members.

At the onset of my hydrangea condition, I wasn’t very good at chronicling what I purchased. I tried. I’d collect the plastic labels or containers, neatly stack them in the garage whereupon my husband would toss them out in the trash. Many of my earliest cultivars are mysteries.

One is this beautiful lacecap! In 2007 my husband and I traveled to Pennsylvania to visit his mother on Mother’s Day and we stopped by a local nursery to get her something for her front yard. She didn’t have any hydrangeas and we both fell in love with a stunning 2ft tall blue lacecap, just loaded with the most intensely blue blooms. We got one for his mother and one for me to take home. I planted her facing south, probably not the best idea, but we have enough trees in the front yard to provide some shade. The heat is what gets her, rather than sun, so we have to be generous with the water.

Delaware in USDA Zone 7b has of late had its share of late frost in early spring. My blue beauty, now nearly 5 ft tall is vulnerable and can only boast three or four show-stopping years in her blooming career. The last few have been duds. But 2018 is a good recovery year! She’s started off with a good showing of azure blossoms, some with the flat pan in the middle, others with it missing. I might never learn the cultivar, but I call her Marian’s Pennsylvania Pretty, in honor of my mother-in-law who we lost in 2008.