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Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Hydrangea Hunt Pays Off, Year After Year



This image is why I love this hydrangea this time of year. Its colors, faded in the way that says elegance, beauty, simplicity, demonstrate nature’s unique design talent. Too, the branch says aging can be beautiful, and the dings and wrinkles are just natural consequences of time and life.

I grow more than a dozen hydrangeas – mopheads, paniculatas, oakleafs – but none with blooms that color up like this in autumn. 


I first saw this color in the fall of 1987 on the Isle of Wight. Back home in America, I tried for years to find that plant, without knowing its name; I only knew the delicious color that made me stop and stare. I could have described the plant to a nursery owner, but I wanted to find it on my own, just as I happened to see it when Lyn and I walked across the countryside that chilly October day. 

At last, I found it. Eight years ago. Thus began an annual ritual of photographing these blended colors that just get better with age. Like fine wine.

16 comments:

  1. What a rich, opulent, Victorian color! Do you know what the name of this hydrangea is now?

    How lucky to find it -- isn't that a kick when you stumble across something you have always wanted, and it is perfect.

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    1. Glad you like its richness, Laurrie. I do not know its name. If I find a tag or happen upon it in bloom at a nursery (assuming it's still "in style"), I'll be sure to let you know.

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  2. Nothing so satisfying as to find your prey. She is quite a beauty. Luscious colorful blooms.

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  3. Absolutely beautiful, Lee! No wonder you were so taken with this beauty (looks a bit exotic).

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    1. Taken then, taken now, Beth. Cheers.

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  4. Nothing is better than hydrangeas. You'd well know that, living in 'Hydrangea City' for so many years. The Fall color is as pretty as the Spring. Does it have black stems?

    Some times the best ones have no name or a name lost. Gorgeous all the same.

    Many years ago I searched for a plant I had seen in the conservatory at Birmingham Botanical Gardens. I wrote its scientific name on a piece of paper I carried around with me for years.

    Finally, I found it in what is now your neck of the woods, Logees Greenhouse. Ordered it in a four inch pot. Tabernae montana 'divaricata'. It is in the gardenia family. Many years ago their small catalog was a jewel, every name listed was the scientific name. Wonderful reading for plant nuts. Finally there it was. It is very large now, about 6 feet tall. The pot is heavy, but I strain and struggle to take it inside every Fall and back out in Spring.

    Determination will pay off, eventually. It'll never see the compost pile.

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    1. Barbara, that's an amazing story of patience and accomplishment; you're a helluva plantswoman. No black stems on this one, though I do have one black-stemmed one.

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  5. Jon Pringle - Essex, VTSeptember 20, 2012 at 7:23 PM

    Hi Lee, Are you willing to share where you purchased this fine variety?

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    1. Heyyy, Jon. This is amazing. It was Salem Country Gardens, in Salem, Connecticut. Amazing because as I went to the site to send you the link, the only page there was a Going Out of Business announcement. How ironic.

      When hydrangeas are in late stages of bloom in Vermont you might just see one like mine at one of your favorite nurseries. My first stop would be Von Trapp Greenhouse.

      The hunt is worth it. Good luck.

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    2. Lee: Good recommendation. On your next visit up during the season be sure to check out Cady's Falls Nursery: http://www.cadysfallsnursery.com. Thanks, Jon

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    3. Thanks, Jon and good luck. Thanks too for the nursery site. I'm always happy to find another one. Cheers.

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  6. So gorgeous!! I had to pull my hydrangeas because they were frying in a heat island and I really miss them. LOVE the color.

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    1. Thanks, Tammy. Understand on heat and hydrangeas. I know a man who used to put umbrellas over his in the heat of the day. Hope you find a suitable spot.

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  7. What a provocative bloom.Your aesthetic sensibilities and passionate writing have really given me an insight into the type of person/gardener you must be. I hope that one day we will meet face to face. Until then, please continue gardening, writing, and inspiring!

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    1. Mario, your good words are a perfect way to end this perfect day in the garden. Thank you. Your insight fits what I've always believed: See the garden; know the gardener. Whether in pictures or up on its feet.

      Know that I appreciate *your* inspiring – and that I'll write and garden as long as I can put fingers to keys. And, yes, here's to meeting. Cheers!

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