• Helen Bell

June 2021 Gardening Tips

8 June 2021

A Garden Tip from Helen...

I visited a friend’s yard not so many years ago and was struck by the fact that their shady yard had such dramatic impact at a time when very little was in bloom. The highlights, it turns out, were created by many varieties of a single species – the hydrangea. So naturally, I found a few spots in my garden where this plant would brighten some rather lackluster areas. As with the Japanese maples that I spoke about last month, there are many different varieties with just the right size and shape to fit almost any situation.

Hydrangea arborescens ‘Annabelle’ is a late bloomer – late July and August – and gets to be sizable quickly. It is classified as a “smooth hydrangea” and is native to North America. The blooms are symmetrically oval and cover the plant so completely you get a startling burst of white during an otherwise subdued month.

Another robust white variety is Hydrangea macrophylla ‘Wedding Gown’. This variety is characterized as a “bigleaf” and is native to southeast Japan and southern China.The picture illustrates its conically shaped footlong blooms that open progressively during its blooming period.This hydrangea loves the sun as does its cousin, Hydrangea ‘Limelight’.The stunning attribute of this plant is the size of its blooms – humongous – and they last for weeks and weeks!

Wedding Gown Hydrangea Limelight Hydrangea

Hydrangeas also come in various colors, the most familiar being the old-fashioned blue or pink ones – color being dependent on the soil acidity. To change blue hydrangeas to pink, add ½ cup of garden lime per 10 square feet to raise the pH.

See All the Pretty Colors!

But, yes, there are even bright red ones now! I have one called “Fire Light’ that is classified as a ‘panicled hydrangea’, native to China, Japan, and Korea. It is diminutive compared to its white cousins.

Firelight Hydrangea

So think about planting hydrangeas to add spectacular blooms to your garden during the summer season.

Happy gardening,