In The Garden Now….. A Handful of Hydrangeas

Friday, September 14, 2018

‘Double Delight Star Gazer’

‘Endless Summer’ and ‘Double Delight Star Gazer’ and ‘Zorro’ 
‘Sweet Summer’ and ‘Plum Passion’ 

Text and photos by Victoria Gilleland

Over the last several years I’ve been adding hydrangeas to our garden borders. These easy to grow summer bloomers come in an array of colors, sizes and types. Hydrangeas bloom from late spring through summer and often into fall.

The one thing that all hydrangeas need is ample water…… at least as they are becoming established. Once they’ve developed a substantial root system many thrive with little additional water.

Grouping hydrangeas in one area of the garden will make it easier to keep them watered in the hottest driest months. You could designate a certain bed or area of your garden as ‘Hydrangea Heaven’ so that watering tasks are consolidated. 

Many of these beauties will thrive in containers for years and usually stay smaller than if grown in a garden bed. Most like part sun to part shade although many will thrive in full sun given enough water.

Endless Summer
When it comes to predicted size for a particular hydrangea don’t be fooled when the tag or label suggests the shrub will be 4’ x 4’. Many hydrangeas will soon outgrow their “tagged” size. I have one hydrangea ‘Endless Summer’ which is supposed to be a compact 4’ x 4’. 

After 8 years mine is at least 6’ high by 10’ wide. It has been pruned annually but it always ends up a large shrub! The blossoms are plentiful and gorgeous so it stays in the garden although I’ve had to move some other plants out of the way so this one can have the space it needs. I have another bully on my hands!

Double Delight Star Gazer
The showiest of the Hydrangeas I’ve added to our garden recently is ‘Double Delight Star Gazer’. It has gorgeous blue and white variegated double flowers. In neutral soil the blossoms may be pink and white. 

I’m told this shrub will be a compact 4’ x 4’. Time will tell! It may be more compact than some. Blooms are produced on both old and new wood so no worries about pruning.

I’m a sucker for an interesting plant name. I was attracted to ‘Zorro’ initially because of the name. This striking Hydrangea sports shiny black stems and intense deep blue lace cap flowers in our acidic soil. 

Mine grew very nicely in a large pot for the first two years of its residence, the advantage being that those unique black stems and gorgeous blue flowers were lifted to eye level in the pot. 

I decided to move 'Zorro’ into a garden bed when it became evident that this guy was going to be quite tall. The flowers were being carried well above eye level in the large pot. Zorro is currently quite upright, about 5 feet tall and still reaching for the sky. 

Since I pruned it last winter it has sent up the expected shiny black canes 4-5’ tall. In a sunnier garden Zorro would probably stay more compact. 

Sweet Summer
Hydrangea paniculata ‘Sweet Summer’ is one of my favorite whites. Dense flower blossoms start off green, turn white and then shades of pink as summer turns to fall. 

The shrub blooms profusely and may be wider than it is tall. At three years my plant is currently 5 feet wide and 4 feet tall and has done well in partial sun.

Plum Passion
Hydrangea ‘Plum Passion’ is an aspera hydrangea. It has a purple under leaf as well as purple tinted upper leaf surfaces if grown in enough sun. 

Be warned that Plum Passion is a fast grower and wants to be a large hydrangea. It’s offered as a shrub that reaches 5 to 6 feet tall and wide. That’s a conservative estimate! 

We moved one 5’ bush that had outgrown its place in the garden to the west slope in back of our house. Within two days it had been chopped down to 12 inches by one of our resident mountain beaver. 

We thought that was a “Sign from the Animal Gods” so we moved it again to another location…… away from the slope, and saw it rapidly regrow to nearly 5’ in a year’s time. There are lots of blossoms on the newly recovered bush and no further assault by our beaver neighbors. I guess we just need to stay out of their territory!

Any of these five long blooming beauties could add months of glamour to your garden. Give one a try!

Botanical Name:

Hydrangea macrophylla ‘Endless Summer’
Hydrangea macrophylla ‘Double Delights Star Gazer’
Hydrangea macrophylla ‘Zorro’
Hydrangea paniculata ‘Sweet Summer’
Hydrangea macrophylla ‘Plum Passion’

Victoria Gilleland is the owner of Cottage GardenDesigns, a Garden Design company specializing in redesign of Residential Gardens, Garden Consultation and Coaching. She has been designing gardens in the northwest for over 25 years.


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