Lovin the Limelight

My hydrangeas took a horrendous hit this past winter. We had sustained cold blast, followed by a tricky warm period, which was followed promptly by another sustained cold spell. All but one of my macrophyllas and lace caps did not bloom this year.¬† Since I am so heavily invested in hydrangeas, I had a marvelous display of brown twigs to show off this year. This is a split photo showing 2014 atop 2013. Fortunately, there was green leafs at the crown and the plant did green out by summer’s end. It just didn’t bloom:

One of many hydrangeas that under performed in 2014
One of many hydrangeas that under performed in 2014

Fortunately my love for my mother’s favorite plant, caused me to diversify my hydrangea collection. I have two Oakleaf hydrangeas that did very well and were not affected by the late frost. Last year, I bought a Limelight hydrangea and its first year, it set out a couple of blossoms, but nothing spectacular. This year, my sole Limelight must have sensed my hydrangea deficiency, because it delighted me throughout the summer.

I didn’t detect too much lime in the limelight. The blossoms which arrived in late July and August looked like they came right out of a bridal catalog!

At first the limelight blossoms were almost a perfect white!
At first the limelight blossoms were almost a perfect white!
This limelight, close up with a macro lens, is fit for a bride, don't you think?
This limelight, close up with a macro lens, is fit for a bride, don’t you think?
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The panicles were bright and puffy
This limelight panicle showed just a feather's hint of pink
This limelight panicle showed just a feather’s hint of pink
This one demonstrated the signature subtle lime color
This one demonstrated the signature subtle lime color

I just had to bring them indoors to enjoy, using some variegated hydrangea foliage that did not bloom this year!

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I was conflicted in cutting and removing any of these blooms! As the ones that remained aged, they began to intensify their colors of lime and pink!

I think I have a new favorite variety!
I think I have a new favorite variety!

Yes, the summer of 2014 was less than spectacular for my reliable show-stoppers – the lacecaps and macrophyllas! So glad another hydrangea decided to hog the limelight!

Pearly Everlasting

Given to me by a friend in Pennsylvania, this wildflower is lovely alone and great for arrangements
Given to me by a friend in Pennsylvania, this wildflower is lovely alone and great for arrangements

This is a flower given to me by a friend in Pa. I had forgotten what it was called and had to do some detective work. The Latin name is Anaphalis margaritacea or the wildflower known as Pearly Everlasting. They grow on study stems with alternate leaves, and the flowers are tiny,1/4″ wide and nearly round. Mine begin to bloom in June and they make wonderful accents for arrangements, especially with hydrangeas, which bloom about the same time. They kind of look like a bigger baby’s breath, and convey that delicate effect.

I have dug them up and transplanted them elsewhere, and they have done fine. They do like sun, and can tolerate dry conditions. The blooms are sturdy, the white petals will stay fixed through wind and rain, and keep their bloom for about a week, before beginning to turn brown at the edges. Several clusters will appear on each stem.