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The wonders of hydrangeas, explored and pictured.

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Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Under the Spreading Dogwood Tree

I went to a friend's house for dinner a few nights ago and loved the floral arrangement she did for her centerpiece. She combined flowers from a dogwood tree with hydrangeas and it looked spectacular. Even though I planted hydrangeas under my dogwood tree it never crossed my mind to combine these two flowers indoors. It made me realize I've been locked into the same few combinations from my garden, beautiful combinations, but, still, this taught me the value of branching out (so to speak).  

The dogwood tree in my yard is currently loaded with blossoms. When I drove home from my friend's house the other night I knew it would just be a matter of days before I tried to come up with my own arrangement. I did it this morning and you can see the results if you go to the page dedicated to hydrangea containers.

The hydrangeas I have planted under my dogwood tree are still baby plants and haven't done much yet in the way of flowering, but now I know that when they do, the combination will look stunning. Yay!

12:24 pm edt          Comments

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Annabelle and Jim Bob

I went to the Cape Cod Wholesale Nursery a week ago in search of some 'Annabelle's to add to a garden bed. Hydrangea arborescens 'Annabelle' is one of my favorites. I'm not alone in this. With its big white snowball-like flowers, 'Annabelle' is popular everywhere.

I expected to spot them immediately. Their huge white flowers are hard to miss but somehow I missed them. After making a complete circuit of the nursery a couple of times, muttering to myself "they must be here somewhere" I approached the staff up at the front and asked where the Annabelles were.

"Back that way," said a man, pointing. "Here, Jim Bob will show you." Jim Bob? A cheerful young man led the way. "Is that really your name?" I asked. He laughed and told me they just called him that because he looked like Jim Bob on the old TV program, The Waltons. I used to watch The Waltons all the time. I looked again at his face. "Yep," I agreed. "You do. Lead on, Jim Bob!"

Well, it was no wonder I couldn't find the Annabelles. There were just a few left. I should have got there earlier in the season. Oh well. I came home with another 'Alpengluhen', one of my favorites, so it wasn't a total loss. And I smiled as I pulled out of the parking lot. From that point on, I knew, I would never think of Annabelle again without also thinking about a cheerful young man at a garden center on Cape Cod: Jim Bob.

To see pictures of the lovely 'Annabelle' go to the Hydrangea arborescens page. You'll see why they are a plant that catches the eye.
9:50 am edt          Comments

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Flag Day

I love the look of the Stars and Stripes, and even more when paired with blue hydrangeas. In honor of Flag Day I am adding a picture to this home page showing how wonderful they look together. I hope you agree.
5:49 pm edt          Comments

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Display Garden of the Cape Cod Hydrangea Society
     Last week I made my first visit of the season to the Cape Cod Hydrangea Society's garden located at Heritage Museums & Gardens in Sandwich, Massachusetts. Our society was formed in 2007 and the first plants were added to our garden in 2008. It is satisfying beyond belief to see a hydrangea garden filled with lush mature plants when I have clear memories of the area when it was no more than two bare flower beds with a path down the middle.

     That first season we planted about fifty varieties. After the plants were ordered and before they arrived, two of us figured out where each plant should be located. Joan Brazeau, a hydrangea society member and the garden's designer, came up with a great idea of how to mark the locations as neither one of us could be there the day the plants arrived and we wanted to make sure the planting crew would put them in the right places. She wrote the name of each plant with a bold marker on a paper plate, along with a color picture of the plant. The color picture was for our benefit as we tried to stagger plants with white flowers in with the blues, pinks, and purples, and also aimed to mix the lacecaps in with the mopheads. Some plants could tolerate more sun than others and these we placed first, in the sunnier spots. It was an engrossing activity to try to place each plant where it would be likely to thrive and where it would look good with its neighbors. It took quite a while until we were both satisfied. We anchored the plates with long nails and knew they should be okay until the crew got there the next day because there was no rain in the forecast.

     I couple of days later I got a phone call from the horticulture director at Heritage. She hated to tell me what happened. One of the garden crew had spotted one of the paper plates flying around and he picked it up to throw away. At the same time he decided all the rest of the plates lying on the bare flower beds looked messy, so he picked all of those up as well. So much for our careful arrangement. "I don't suppose you have this mapped out on paper," she said, without much hope in her voice. As it happened, fortunately, we did. The sketch was rough but it clearly showed each plant in relation to the others.

     I called Joan Brazeau to tell her what happened. "You'll never guess!" I started, and told her the news. Her response? "Well, you know what they say, the best laid plates of mice and man..." We both roared with laughter. I know we wouldn't have been laughing so heartily had we not made that vital sketch that saved the day.

     Now, when I look at the garden, I remember its origins with a smile, I enjoy its current beauty, and I look forward with happy anticipation to its continued growth and expansion.

     If you would like to see some pictures of our garden, click on "CCHS Display Garden" on the navigation bar. Better yet, visit the garden if you can and see its beauty for yourself.
8:46 am edt          Comments

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