The Color of Hydrangeas


I couldn’t wait to find out what special hybrid these wonderfully muted-color hydrangeas were so I could scoop some up for my own garden. The joke was on me, of course. This is simply the color regular hydrangeas turn in the fall in Portland.

It’s hard to believe that these are the same garish electric blue and shocking pink mopheads that scream out from lawns and foundation plantings across the country during the summer, but I did observe both phases on the same plant.

Hydrangea hybridizers take note: Get to work on season-long low-key colors and I’ll bet you sell a million of them. Those of us who garden in the country appreciate plants that don’t stand out so starkly from their surroundings, but rather add a subtle grace note, while looking as if they actually belong where we plant them.

Modern hydrangeas are refreshingly easy to grow, take only two or three years to reach a substantial size, bloom generously, hold their flowers all season long, and can add interest with unusually tinted (red) stems and (chartreuse) leaves.

Morphing from a hydrangea-hater into a hydrangea-lover has been an interesting journey. I hope other aficionados will join me in lobbying growers for a more artistic color spectrum.

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