A Garden Staple

 Hydrangeas have long been staples of the shrub garden.

                    They look beautiful at summer’s height.                                

And are equally attractive in decline.

And their gorgeous fall leaf color gives them a long season of interest.

 If you like low maintenance plants, you probably already have two or three of these beauties working for you. If not, why not? New varieties are coming out almost yearly it seems. The one pictured above is a young ‘Twist ‘n’ Shout’ plant that I’ve moved twice, but now think has a permanent home right behind the purple chairs in the front garden.

I was never a fan of the old-fashioned mopheads like ‘Annabelle,’ and the only ones I liked(oakleaf) weren’t hardy in Minnesota, so I ignored hydrangeas for quite a few years.  Hybridizers didn’t, thank goodness.  And unlike my reaction to most of the newer coneflower varieties, I love that zone 4 now has so many gorgeous hydrangeas to chose from. The only thing that stops me from getting even more of them is the space requirements.  Many hydrangeas will get big and they need space to reach their full potential.photoPurply pink, OR blue, depending on soil composition, ‘Endless Summer’ was the variety that started it all—at least here in Minnesota. But with leaves like dinner plates, it needs room and at least six hours of sun to bloom well.

With enough space and sun, though, you can have hydrangeas blooming from early to late summer. And the beauty of hydrangeas is that the gardener only needs to plant them and then sit back and enjoy.

 I love plants like that.

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