|Big Blues: Lacecap, 'Endless Summer'|
This time of year, another one comes to mind: A certain kind of gardener always makes me think of the mophead hydrangea, which is peaking in my garden.
What kind of gardener? Well, one like me. Excessive. Never buy one of anything, when several more can be had. Often, I see, I like, I buy – even if I don't have a clear idea, no, not even a clue, where I'll put the load of plants I just had to have.
This excess includes hydrangeas, of course. At last count, I was at about a dozen, including lacecaps, paniculatas and the severely dramatic mopheads. Most dramatic is the cultivar 'Endless Summer,' which lives up to its name; I've even seen it bloom in November, and when cut and put in water indoors, the blooms are so endless, their stems have rooted during winter months.
Like mopheads in general, this one has blooms with large, nodding heads that make you smile; they turn a brilliant blue, lighting up any shady spot. Amazing, this hydrangea is so excessive, I need only one; it grows on a slope in back of the herb garden, its intensity shouting to anyone within earshot.
As many hydrangea growers know, mopheads not only look dramatic, they also fill the air with drama, swooning when the sunlight and temperature rise, sending gardeners to the watering can and hose.
Years ago, I visited a gardener who, with a mixture of art, cleverness and practicality, fashioned umbrellas for his mopheads, raising the colorful swoon preventers at midday, then lowering them when heat subsided.
While I saluted his creativity, I'd never pamper my hydrangeas that much. And, while I admit to sharing the excessive nature of hydrangeas, I avoid falling down or out on hot afternoons. At least, so far.