At the Highland Park garage sales last weekend, I couldn’t help but notice how many homes had beautiful hydrangeas in their landscapes. I also noticed they were all Annabelle’s (H. arborescens). Up until not terribly long ago, Annabelle’s were really one of the only hydrangeas that would bloom reliably well in Minnesota.
You know those huge gorgeous blue hydrangeas (H. macrophylla) like these, grown by Danielle of Finding Silver Pennies?
Yeah, those don’t grow here. Well, you might be able to get them to grow, but they definitely won’t flower much. I’ve always been so envious of southern gardeners that could grow these!
Several years ago a new variety of H. macrophylla came out, the Endless Summer. It blooms on new wood, unlike the older versions and therefore is supposed to bloom in colder climates. We all rushed out to buy them. I put in two, nnK put in a whole row of them, Sue put several in her garden also. But honestly, they don’t do all that well either. This year I have a grand total of three blossoms on mine so far. Do any of you other northern gardeners have better luck with them?
In the excitement over finally having blue and pink hydrangeas rather than just white, I kind of forgot about my old Annabelle’s. I moved one of them out behind the Carriage House into the cutting garden. But after seeing so many of them in Highland Park, I realized I need to move some front and center again. Maybe put one or two next to the potting shed.
I moseyed out behind the carriage house to the cutting garden to see if my Annabelle was doing well back there, and look!
Completely covered in flowers, despite a total lack of care on my part. These will look amazing for quite a while. Then the flowers will dry and I will use them in my winter window boxes. Sometimes these traditional old fashioned varieties are just the best. That’s probably why they became so popular in the first place.
I may never be able to grow a huge hedge covered in blue hydrangea blossoms, but for now, I’m going to enjoy the more subtle beauty of the Annabelle. At least until the Limelight’s (H. paniculata) start blooming!