Hydrangea Highlights

Hydrangea ' Limelight' in A Garden For All by Kathy Diemer https://agardenforall.com

Huge blooms of Hydrangea ‘ Limelight’ (photo credit: Kathy Diemer)

Fall is the time to celebrate hydrangeas, a versatile shrub with many assets. Hydrangeas typically produce lush, prolific blooms, that dramatically illuminate a yard or garden setting throughout the summer and well into autumn. Yes, I grow several hydrangeas for their easy care, but more importantly, because they decorate my gardens with beautiful, textural blooms that add superb ornamental value even as they brown in winter. Hardy in zones 4-8, some prefer shady sites and some love the sun, so no matter what your exposure, there is a hydrangea just waiting to light up your landscape!

Annabelle Hydrangea in A Garden For All by Kathy Diemer https://agardenforall.com

Annabelle Hydrangea in Spring (photo credit: Kathy Diemer)

Hydrangea arborescens ‘Annabelle’ is an old garden favorite, and for good reason.  Annabelle stays a bit more manageable (grows up to 6′), so it is happy in a smaller setting, as well as out in the landscape.  Although she will enjoy some sun, Annabelle prefers afternoon shade, and actually shines quite brilliantly in a shadier setting.  The abundant, crisp flowers on Annabelle are more oval, sort of flat topped and can grow up to 10 inches across.  Annabelle is a deciduous shrub that blooms on new wood and dies back almost to the ground each year.  I do prune it hard in the early spring, but usually allow the dried flowers to stay on the stems until then.

Pee Gee Winter Cheerleader in A Garden For All by Kathy Diemer https://agardenforall.com

Winter Cheerleader ‘Pee Gee’ (photo credit: Kathy Diemer)

Hydrangea paniculata ‘Grandiflora’ (commonly known as Pee Gee) is more of a tree form that grows up to 10′ or more.  They prefer sun, tolerate dry soil, and produce bountiful, handsome conical shaped creamy white flowers that eventually turn a deep fuchsia pink as the weather cools.  Like Annabelle, the generous blooms linger long into the winter months.  Reminding me of a standing cheerleader with pom poms raised high, Pee Gee’s dried blooms are a happy sight in the months when other plants are hidden under the snow.

Fall Hydrangea Limelight in A Garden For All by Kathy Diemer https://agardenforall.com

Pink Fall Hydrangea Limelight (Photo credit: Kathy Diemer)

Another paniculata cultivar; Hydrangea paniculata ‘Limelight’ is a Proven Winner’s choice that I whole-heartedly embrace.  Limelight adds pizzazz when paired with darker shrubs like wiegela ‘Wine & Roses’ or Cotinus (smoke bush).  The contrast of the colossal chartreuse blooms next to burgundy wine foliage is stunning beyond words.  But don’t limit your exposure, plant ‘Limelight’ (which grows up to 8′) anywhere you desire; it will ignite the location in a profusion of bright shades that will delight you for months on end. Limelight’s flowers turn a rose pink later in the season, and like Pee Gee, if left untrimmed, they will hold long after old man winter blows in.

Oak Leaf Hydrangea in A Garden For All by Kathy Diemer https://agardenforall.com

Burgundy foliage of Oak Leaf Hydrangea (photo credit: Kathy Diemer)

For fabulous foliage, the Hydrangea quercifolia (commonly known as oak leaf) will astound you with rich shades of purple, red and burgundy you never thought existed in a plant leaf before.  By themselves, the showy, oak leaf shaped leaves are sensational enough to be considered one of the most ravishing fall shrubs in my gardens.  But then you add the flowers and the fall foliage, and WOW, now you’ve really got a plant worth growing!  Similar to Annabelle, the oak leaf hydrangea is more shrub-like, grows up to 8′ in a shady, well drained situation, but, unlike it’s cousins, this baby is only hardy to zone 5.

By no means are these the only remarkable hydrangeas out there.  I chose these cultivars because they are hardy and bloom year after year with out fuss and protection, but I would love to hear from you with any new recommendations that have been successful in your gardens ♥

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