Hydrangeas, emblematic of summer, come in a wide variety of color, size, and shape, making them among the most versatile of shrubs. The flowers can be small or large, round or cone-shaped, in colors ranging from the familiar blue, pink, purple, and white to the more unusual red, pistachio, and strawberry.
Hydrangeas are widely used throughout the United States — in the Pacific Northwest,
and the Midwest and South.
“The hydrangea was first cultivated in Japan [famous for its hydrangea forests],
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but ancient hydrangea fossils dating back to 40-65 million years ago have been discovered in North America. Hydrangeas didn’t appear in Europe until 1736 when a colonist brought a North American varietal to England.” http://www.proflowers.com
Today, throughout Europe, hydrangeas can be found gracing doorways, fences, windows, and tables.
“Having been introduced to the Azores, hydrangeas are now very common, particularly on Faial,
which is known as the ‘blue island’ due to the vast number of hydrangeas present on the island.” http://www.en.wikipedia.org
Hydrangeas are often planted in clusters where they form walls or hedges, providing dramatic swaths of color.
There are also climbing versions that can be used to adorn the side of a house or garden trellis,
and potted hydrangeas can offer an interesting touch to gardens and doorways.
One of the most spectacular uses of potted hydrangeas is found on the grounds designed by Furlow Gatewood in Georgia. He lined the driveway there with shades of potted blue, creating a work of art that is utterly magical — elegant, wistful, and dream-like.
An added benefit of hydrangeas is that they are easy to dry and can be used in wreaths and arrangements to bring a touch of summer to the winter months.
Voluptuous, homey, elegant, humble — the colorful hydrangeas of summer offer the gardener an artist’s palette of possibilities.