High on Hydrangea this time of year

The third act of summer, maybe a little earlier this season, delivers the glory of the hydrangea to the northern garden. Besides its stunning white pom-poms, beacons of light in the yard and garden, hydrangea are a wonderful shrub for part shade, even full shade conditions, and they are a softening presence in the landscape. I think they are wonderful for taking the edge of the corners of a house or the lines of a fence. Because of their grand presence, they hold court as a focal point in a perennial border or mixed-shrub border.

PeeGee' Hydrangea Garden Drama
‘PeeGee’ Hydrangea plays the leading role in a late summer border with Russian sage, sedum and Rudbeckia. ‘PeeGee’ hydrangea can reach 6-8′ x 6-8′ feet, will take part shade, and are hardy through zone 3.

Also, the fresh-cut and dried blooms can’t be beat on the dining room table. I’ve had the best luck preserving my hydrangea blooms by gently letting them dry out in their vases, over the course of a week or two. Sometimes a bloom will wilt when you bring it in, almost immediately, and this is caused by a sap that forms over the end of the stem, blocking water flow. If you have your vase filled with water sitting near the shrub and submerge it immediately after cutting, your odds greatly improve for pert blooms, from my experience.

Two favorite varieties for your consideration:

Annabelle hydrangea
‘Annabelle’ hydrangea is a smooth hydrangea and a favorite of mine. Though it may flop over a bit, it will take full shade and give you tons of enormous blooms (a foot wide!) that dry beautifully. Cut back to the ground in spring and it will stay at 5 feet by 5 feet. Discovered in a garden in Anna, Illinois!
tardiva hydrangea garden drama
‘Tardiva’ hydrangea can reach 12 feet if kept unpruned and makes a grand presence in the garden. Its conical blooms turn pinkish and are slightly fragrant. Will take a fair amount of shade. You can also prune it in the spring to keep it in check.




5 Comments Add yours

  1. Karen Varano says:

    I have a variety that is called Kaleidoscope. This is it’s 2nd year. It isn’t even a foot tall. Is that normal? It is in a lot of sun. I love Hydrangeas and am very glad that I am following you. It just started blooming and was worried about that until I read this post. Your site has great information. Thank you.

    1. Garden Drama says:

      It is a smaller hydrangea. Can be only 3 feet tall in cooler climates.

  2. What gorgeous hydrangea bushes, they really remind me that summer is here.

  3. aubrey says:

    When is the suggested time of year to prune and how does one “blue” hydrangeas? I live on the coast of CA and have no idea what zone I live in.

    1. Garden Drama says:

      I always suggest a pruning to the ground first thing in the spring.

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