Tuesday, 2 July 2013

summer flower: hydrangea

On a page in one of my notebooks I have written down two words: Hydrangea - heartfelt. I must have come across one of those 'language of flowers' charts in a magazine (if that's your thing you may want to get a copy of Shane Connolly's book The Language of Flowers). As I was attending to our pink roses yesterday, which are looking much healthier than they did last year when we moved in, I was reminded of this nugget of mine. Unfortunately, our garden contains no hydrangeas, but do not worry, I see hydrangeas in its future.

I have already told you how drawn I am to blue flowers this season and blue hydrangeas are no exception. In my opinion, hydrangeas are the perfect summer flowers. I took the photo above of pages 102-103 in my new book Bringing Nature Home . The arrangement to the right also contains alliums, lavender and honeywort. Blue and beautiful!

Interested in growing hydrangeas? The acidity level of the soil used to grow them determines the colour of the flowers:
[F]or most French hydrangeas (Hydrangea macrophylla), the flower color indicates the pH of the soil. In strongly acid soil (pH below 6), flowers turn blue. In alkaline soil (pH above 7), flowers turn pink or even red. In slightly acid or neutral soil (pH 6 to 7), blooms may be purple or a mix of blue and pink on a single shrub. Keep in mind that selections vary in their sensitivity to pH. For example, 'Ami Pasquier' stays crimson in all but the most acid soil and 'Purple Tiers' remains purple.
from an article in Southern Living, May 2012

You cannot do anything about white hydrangeas, but if you have no idea what kind of a soil is in your garden you can simply grow the hydrangeas in flowerpots, where you can control the acidity level.

I will finish this post with a photo of mop head hydrangeas in France from one of my favourite and newly discovered blogs, The Room Outside, by garden designer Lisa Cox. She gives plenty of advice and her photography is beautiful.

photo credit:
1: House and Leisure / 2: Lisa Hjalt (photos in the book by Ngoc Minh Ngo) / 3: Jose Villa Photography via Style Me Pretty Gallery / 4: Yolandé Marx Photography via Style Me Pretty Gallery / 5: Real estate photo of a French 16th century manor house via Pinterest / 6: Lisa Cox of The Room Outside


  1. Oh, they are so beautiful and delicate! I'm thinking of just how much care and work one has to put into one's garden (or flower pots for that matter). It's like with everything else, if you put soul into it, it shows.

  2. they are lovely. if I remember right, you can bury old iron nails underneath them and they turn blue. not sure if there is a trick to turn them pink...

  3. Yes, Blue only Blue Hydrangeas... remind me of my childhood spent running around my aunts garden! I have a space for them against the back fence under some shade (because of the heat)! :)


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