The Gardeners Eye
Observations of our garden ecology
By Valley View Designer Jim Kenyon.
Volume #2 “Don’t panic, get panicles!”
What are all those large, loosely branched flowers in mid to late summer, on big Hydrangeas?
Those flowers are called panicles, and are features of a group of Hydrangea known as Panicle Hydrangea. These are a reliable, tough group of Hydrangea, unlike the sometimes finicky macrophylla or “mophead” types, like the Nikko blue .
The Hydrangea Paniculata is a widely cultivated group, including favorites like the ‘tardiva’, ‘pinky winky’,’ limelight’, and ‘quickfire’. They are winter hardy, with none of the worries about it being too cold for the plants to thrive. They are also tolerant of drought once established, and don’t wilt every time the sun comes out.
The cone shaped flowers attract bees and butterflies, and provide habitat for birds. The white flowers fade slowly to a pale pink, or even deep red, toward the end of the season. They are a great cut, dried flower for floral arrangements. Pruning is easy, just cut off old flower heads, new growth will flower in the same year, no problems pruning in winter or even early spring, plants will still flower later in the summer.