We didn’t know it, but apparently boaters going up and down our creek in Maryland have dubbed our place “hydrangea house. ” It’s funny because I think of it as a rose cottage, but from the water, they see a solid hedge of blue blooms all across the back of our white Cape Cod house from June through August.
We inherited many of these hydrangeas and have planted others during the 15 years we’ve lived there. They aren’t anything special, mostly the good old reliable Nikko Blues. But despite winter winds that whip off the water and frequent summer droughts, they are always spectacular. This year they are five feet high and almost as wide.
Now that we’ve purchased a place in the mountains of North Carolina, we want to bring some of our favorite plants along. So my husband has been busy learning how to root hydrangeas, and he’s just planted his first batch of “babies” today. I imagine I’ll be in my dotage when they finally grow big enough to bloom.
Exciting new hydrangeas
Two other new ones are also attracting attention: Invincibelle Spirit and Incrediball, improved offspring of the popular Annabelle.
Invincibelle is the first arborescens variety to produce pink flowers. It was developed by Dr. Tom Ranney who works at the Mountain Horticultural Center at North Carolina State University, and, a then-graduate student, Richard Olsen.
While hiking through the Blue Ridge one day, Mr. Olsen spied a pink lacecap hydrangea that became an important part of their hydrangea breeding program. The eventual result was a spectacular rebloomer that produces 12-inch bright pink flowers for four months or longer.
Hydrangeas and roses at home in many different localities
After reading about this fortuitous hiking discovery, I’ve concluded the mountains and hydrangeas are made for each other. The newer varieties may be exciting but we’re partial to our Fishing Creek blue beauties. And we’re hoping these Maryland transplants will soon feel at home on high.
PSSST: Will your rose seed result in the next Peace or Knock Out? Many readers were interested in giving growing roses from seed a try, so I’ll be detailing how to do it in my next Rose Whisperer posting.
Lynn Hunt, the Rose Whisperer, blogs regularly at Diggin' It. She's an accredited horticultural judge and a Consulting Rosarian Emeritus for the American Rose Society. She has won dozens of awards for her writing in newspapers, magazines, and television. She grows roses and other plants in her garden on the Eastern Shore of Maryland. To read more by Lynn, click here.You can also follow her on Twitter.