July 22, 2013

Hydrangea Envy at the Jersey Shore

The hydrangeas are in full bloom right now at the New Jersey shore, in colors from pinks to blues to greens, in rounded and elongated forms. How I love these plants that have grand masses of color in the garden, and how I wish I could grow them....but it's too cold in Vermont for these beauties. I get to enjoy them with my eye and my camera when I visit my family during the summer. This Lacecap hydrangea, with large blue flowers surrounding smaller ones at center is in my mother's garden.

A rich salmony-pink one was in a pot on her porch, now planted.

My sister's garden has a marvelous array of varieties; the rest of the photos, except the last, were taken there. White-edged bright pink petals are dotted with a white center.

On this plant, the flower petals softly shift from white to pink.

Another Lacecap, here with the large flowers pink and the center sprays of yellow on blue.

The subtle color variations of pink-violet-blue give the flowers the look of a delicate watercolor. The flower color is determined by the soil acidity, with blue in a more acid soil and pink more alkaline, so I wonder why there's a mix of color––some pink, some blue, some violet––in the same garden; perhaps by using soil amendments.

Then there's the grand drama of the Oakleaf hydrangea, with their very large, open, long flower heads. There were pink and green flowers, which I believe are more mature....

...than the simply green ones, towering over our heads.

This is back at my house: a mass of Annabelle hydrangeas along its east-facing side. Annabelle grows beautifully in my zone 4 garden; I dry large vases of the greening flowers later in the summer. But oh, how I'd love to have some of those blues and pinks!


  1. I share your envy

  2. Altoon,
    So glad you got to see them before they fade. This heat wave has put tremendous stress on the blooms.
    I don't supplement aluminum to the soil around my hydraneas. I think the variety and the amount of water helps dictate color. I originally planted in soil rich in humus and add composted manure to all my beds each spring.

    1. Thanks for the explanation, Cheryl. I also read online, after posting this, that neutral soils, neither very acidic nor alkaline, can have a variety of color, even on one shrub, which yours do.

  3. I have all of these hydrangeas in my yard except my lace cap is variegated. Of course, I am at the Jersey Shore. When you are visiting please come see the John F. Peto Studio Museum. That is how I found you because you mentioned the artist in one of your posts.

    1. Sarah, I remember you telling me about the Peto museum last summer. I looked it up and unfortunately their hours are so limited that I couldn't visit.