hydrangea and the old fashioned crocosmia make for
an extraordinary orange and white partnership.
hydrangea turned the gardening world upside down just a
few short years ago as gardeners everywhere became
introduced to the panicle hydrangea. Limelight is still
in the top five, and is but a trip to the garden center
will shock you with all of the other Hydrangea
paniculata choices. Just a few steps outside my office
at the Coastal Georgia Botanical Gardens I find not only
Limelight but Little Lime, Strawberry Vanilla and Baby
Lace. How could they all be so beautiful, and yet have
such a rugged persevering nature?
in Savannah, Ga., the weather has been pretty tough as
of late with absolute staggering heat and humidity. Yet
out in the garden in full sun, they have been there with
glistening white blossoms for weeks with more on the
way. If you are a hydrangea lover and lament when they
quit blooming for the year, then these are your season
extenders yielding blooms from midsummer through fall.
They are not the least bit finicky and just about
everyone in the country can revel in their beauty as
they are cold hardy from zones 3-9.
Hydrangea paniculata or panicle varieties are different
than the mophead or French hydrangea, the leaves are
smaller, and the quantity of flowers is incredible. The
flowers may be 6- to 15-inches long and most held
upright on the plant. You now have choices in the size
of your shrubs from the diminutive Little Lime to my
favorite large selection called Phantom with its10 foot
of the paniculata selections tout flowers that age to
pink or even red shades as the blooms age or mature,
Strawberry Vanilla and Pinky Winky are just a couple of
those getting rave reviews. In the Deep South most of us
just experience white with an occasional hint of pink,
but that that is fine; the white flowers are glorious.
2008, the Association of Specialty Cut Flower Growers
named Limelight the Fresh Cut Flower of the Year. Indeed
you could not ask for a more exquisite flower for a
summer wedding. But whether you choose Limelight or one
of the other varieties, they are all great for cutting
and drying as well.
growing conditions are fertile, well-drained soil with
morning sun and afternoon shade. In the landscape, plant
it among other shrubs 72 to 80 inches apart in
odd-numbered clusters for a terrific, eye-catching
display. At our gardens, we are growing about a
half-dozen varieties in a number of combinations, but
the orange and white partnership of Limelight and the
old fashioned crocosmia this year was extraordinary.
They scream to be combined with shrub roses, buddleia or
plant your hydrangea, dig the hole two to three times as
wide as the rootball but no deeper so you can plant it
at the same depth it is growing in the container. Apply
a good layer of mulch to conserve moisture. Once
established, youíll find your panicle selection is
less dependent on water than its big-leafed cousins.
pH does not affect the color of the flowers like it does
with the blue or pink big-leafed hydrangeas. Any flowers
left on the plant do provide winter texture and
interest. Limelight and the other panicle varieties
blooms on new wood, so prune in late fall or early
spring. A medium pruning that removes one-third to
one-half the plant size gives a better structure for
large blossoms and the new season ahead. Feed your
hydrangea in early spring as new growth resumes.
North to South everyone loves hydrangeas, and now with
dozens of panicle varieties there is no reason your
garden canít show out until frost and the vase on the
dining table always stunning.