Hydrangeas in the landscape–a tour of a beautiful garden

A June tour of hydrangeas in bloom

Marion Shaw has loved gardening all her life.  She learned from her mother and grandmother.  This week (June 7), she had suggested that it was a good time for me to bring  Dekie and Sylvia and Randy Eidson for an evening viewing of her blooming hydrangeas. (Sylvia’s garden is featured here)  I’d like to share the tour with you.

Hydrangeas provide an abundance of color in the late spring.

Hydrangeas provide an abundance of color in the late spring.

First off, Marion loves all living things—except snakes.  The dogs and cats (and probably some ants and earthworms) followed us as we walked around the beautiful mountain garden.  Marion has been working on this particular landscape garden for almost 20 years.  She has done almost all of the work herself.  I was honored to be told that I was the only landscaper to ever work on this yard, and then humbled when I realized that all I did was install a rock walkway.  I had taken my camera for a tour of the garden earlier in the year on February 20.  You may wish to see that article here.

 I fell in love with the “lace cap” hydrangeas.  I love the way the blooms form as a small mass in the center and then open from the outside to the inside.

The "lace cap" hydrangea forms its bloom in an interesting and lovely manner.

The “lace cap” hydrangea forms its bloom in an interesting and lovely manner.

Marion told me that she only bought a few of her plants and then rooted cuttings for the rest.  Here is a photo of the wild “woods hydrangea”.  I guess this is where all of the unique varieties come from.

The "woods hydrangea". This must be the mother of all hydrangea varieties.

The “woods hydrangea”. This must be the mother of all hydrangea varieties.

Below is a picture of the low growing blue lace cap, “Beni-Gaku” It is very hard to find blues for the garden. Marion said that it turns a bright red in September.

The low growing Beni-Gaku, a blue "lace cap" hydrangea

The low growing Beni-Gaku, a blue “lace cap” hydrangea

The Annabelle hydrangea flower comes out a brilliant white and then turns to a light green as the season progresses.

Annabelle blooms are a pure white, later turning into light green.

Annabelle blooms are a pure white, later turning into light green.

I had to stop and take a picture of this lichen covered bench.  I don’t know about sitting on it, but it sure is neat looking.

How to cultivate a lichen garden on an old bench?  Neglect it.

How to cultivate a lichen garden on an old bench? Neglect it.

I saw a big patch of red on the hillside and asked about it.  Marion said it was “monarda” or “bee balm”.  She told me the variety was “Jacob Cline” and that she liked it because it wasn’t as susceptible to fungus as are the other varieties of monarda.

monarda "Jacob Cline"-- fungus resistant.  Also known as "bee balm"

monarda “Jacob Cline”– fungus resistant. Also known as “bee balm”

Further up on the hill was a grouping of Oak leaf and Nikko blue hydrangeas with a spot of yellow daylilies.  Marion said she was going to take out the daylilies because the yellow, while pretty, was out of place.

Oakleaf, Blue Nikko hydrangeas background for yellow daylily.

Oakleaf, Blue Nikko hydrangeas background for yellow daylily.

“Feel the blooms on this Ayesha hydrangea”, Marion said.  They are soft and pliant like a sponge.  We all got a feel and grinned.

hydrangea "Ayesha" bloom--soft and spongy.

hydrangea “Ayesha” bloom–soft and spongy.

We moved on to another specimen “Beni-Gaku” hydrangea.  I think this could be one of my favorites, but there are so many to choose from

"Beni Gaku" hydrangea, just beginning to show off

“Beni Gaku” hydrangea, just beginning to show off

A wall of oak leaf hydrangeas forms a screen from the neighbors on the other side of the driveway.  Some varieties other than the old fashioned oak leaf are “Alice”, “Haye’s Starburst”, and “Snowflake” which is a double oak leaf.

Using hydrangeas for a summertime privacy screen

Using hydrangeas for a summertime privacy screen

I was taken with the “Haye’s Starburst” which, she told me, “holds its head up even in the rain.  It starts as a brilliant pink, turns to white, and then to a blue in the fall.”

Oak leaf hydrangea, "Haye's Stardust"

Oak leaf hydrangea, “Haye’s Stardust”

Here’s a close up of the bloom on the blue lace cap.  I love the way the blooms form.

blue lace cap hydrangea

blue lace cap hydrangea

Another oak leaf hydrangea was sticking its head up over a rock wall.  This one, with lime green leaves is called “Little honey.”  The light green leaves add a nice focal point to the garden.

hydrangea, "little honey"  I like the lime green leaves as a garden accent

hydrangea, “little honey” I like the lime green leaves as a garden accent

The “Lady in red” is named for its red stems that add color to the winter garden.

"Lady in red" hydrangea.  Provides colorful stems for the winter

“Lady in red” hydrangea. Provides colorful stems for the winter

A pink lace cap is inter planted with southern woods fern.

Southern woods fern and pink "lace cap" hydrangea

Southern woods fern and pink “lace cap” hydrangea

As the available light was going away, I stopped and enjoyed this multi level planting of southern woods ferns, pink lace cap hydrangea, and a climbing hydrangea which will bloom later in the year.

woods fern, pink "lace cap" hydrangea and climbing hydrangea in an arrangement

woods fern, pink “lace cap” hydrangea and climbing hydrangea in an arrangement

After the tour, as we enjoyed a glass of sweet tea on the veranda, Marion told me about having her garden featured in Southern Living in June of 2002.  I told her that lots of gardens get featured in Southern Living, but hers is one of a very select few to be chronicled in Johntheplantman.  I enjoyed that.

If you wish to see how Marion’s garden looked in February, click here

 I hope you got some good ideas, or at least enjoyed the tour. Is it any wonder that I love my job?

Got Questions?  Enter a comment.  I always try to answer.

I try to put up a new article every Sunday. Stay in touch.  Share it with your friends.

If you live in or around the northwest Georgia area and would like to have a consultation with johntheplantman, you may contact John Schulz by email at

wherdepony@bellsouth.net .  Do not send pictures or attachments as they will be deleted.

As usual, I would just love for you click here to go to Amazon and purchase the ebook edition of my wonderful book, Requiem for a Redneck to go on your Kindle. I have also noticed that Amazon now has a free Kindle app for iphones and tablets. Is that cool or what?

6 thoughts on “Hydrangeas in the landscape–a tour of a beautiful garden

  1. John, you said I would love this and I surely do. That lace cap is new to me and so lovely.

    My oak leaf hydrangea is different from these. I will have to send you a picture. One thing I love about hydrangeas is that they do so well in the shade. I just have one tree, a maple, and under it are the oak leaf and a blue hydrangea, lilies of the valley, and several hostas. This place in my garden is almost hidden, but I go to the edge of the porch, behind the swing, and have an eyefull of beauty.

    A private garden is special.

  2. Enjoyed the hydrangea tour. I was looking for information re: ayesha hydrangea and got your blog. Am getting better at getting my hydrangeas to bloom. When to prune to get them to bloom is always a puzzle to me.

    • I’m sort of puzzled about the right time to prune them, also. I think right about now in September is right.
      The blooms form on the new buds for next year. Cut just above the new buds.

  3. Pingback: Deadheading and pruning hydrangeas in January « johntheplantman's stories, plants, and gardening

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