Above is one of my favourite garden photographs. I took it in Cadhay Gardens in East Devon some years ago. These gardens are only open on Friday afternoons from Easter to September each year but they are certainly worth a visit. Perhaps I will do a post on the gardens at some time in the future, but right now I’m going to talk about Hydrangeas, a plant which is so ubiquitous in our UK gardens that it is sometimes overlooked for its beauty.
“Hydrangeas,” says The Hillier Guide to Connoisseur’s Plants, “are noted for their long flowering period in summer and autumn. Essentials for their success are moisture retentive soil, as they are rather thirsty shrubs and, for the large-leaved species.”
There are several varieties, but mainly they are dome-shaped (sometimes called mop-head) or flat (sometimes called lace-cap). The hydrangeas beside the carp pond above at Cadhay is a dome-shaped (mop-head).
The Hillier Guide says that excellent companion plants for hydrangeas are hostas (plaintain lilies) as they like the same conditions and provide dramatic contrast with their large bold foliage and spikes of lily-like flowers.
Whenever I see hydrangeas in gardens I always want to photograph them, and I’m always attracted to the blue flowered varieties even more so than the pink, although admittedly the pink of those in the photos above look rather good against all the greenery and the reflective waters of the carp ponds.
I took this photo of a lace-cap hydrangea in Knightshayes Court Gardens (National Trust) some years ago, and I love the varying shades of pink and blue in this lovely plant.
These three examples above were in Trelissick Gardens (National Trust) in Cornwall, photos taken two years ago.
A great mound of Hydrangea at Saltram House Garden, near Plymouth and, below, in close up …
And then the one we bought this week at the Avon Mill Garden Centre, near Kingsbridge, Devon.
I am now looking forward to planting this (or getting husband to plant it for me, an even better idea) once I have chosen the right place for it. As we have a north-facing back garden with a huge walnut tree in our tiny garden, finding the partial shade that these plants enjoy shouldn’t be too much of a problem.
And finally … my header photograph showing hydrangeas in the gardens of Berry Head House Hotel and in Battery Gardens, Brixham …
Have a good weekend, everyone.
Until next time.