Blogger Rona of Flowerona tells us all about this popular summer flower…
Hi there! Beautiful hydrangeas are in full bloom at the moment, not only in our gardens but also in shops.
They remind me of my summer holidays in Devon, where I’ve seen them billowing over garden hedges on narrow country lanes by the sea.
The name hydrangea comes from the Greek words ‘hydro’ for water and ‘angeion’ for vessel. And these cottage garden flowers really do like a lot of water!
Mophead hydrangeas, as featured in this month’s blog post, are the most common variety that you’ll find here in the UK. If you look closely, you can see that each flower head is made up of small star-shaped blossoms.
These particular hydrangeas are the only type whose blooms change colour depending on the type of soil that they’re growing in.
Alkaline soils produce pink flowers and acid soils produce blue. There are white mophead hydrangeas but their colour remains the same, regardless of soil type.
There are also lacecap hydrangeas. Together with mophead hydrangeas, they come under the same botanical umbrella of Hydrangea macrophylla or Hortensia.
Lacecap hydrangeas have little buds in the centre of the flower, with large blossoms around the outside.
Other types of hydrangea include oak-leafed ones called Hydrangea quercifolia, ones that climb like Hydrangea petiolaris and Hydrangea paniculata which has cone-shaped flower heads.
As cut flowers in your home, a few stems of hydrangea can look beautiful simply massed on their own in a large bowl.
Alternatively, you could arrange some hydrangeas at the base of your design and place tall flowers like delphiniums coming up through the centre. You can see a stunning example in this blog post on Flowerona.
And a little tip…if your hydrangeas start to wilt, put the whole stem and head in cool water for an hour or so, and they should perk up.
As well as seen in gardens, hydrangeas are perfect houseplants. And I’ve often bought them for gifts for friends that we’re visiting. Once they’ve finished blooming inside, they can be planted in your garden.
With regards to the meaning of hydrangeas in the ‘Language of Flowers’…
I was quite surprised to find that hydrangeas have a number of unfavourable characteristics. They represent heartlessness, vanity and boastfulness.
But on the postive side, they can symbolise heartfelt emotions and can mean ‘thank you for understanding’.
For their new Autumn/Winter 2012 collection, Laura Ashley has a beautiful range of hydrangea-inspired products available.
The Hydrangea Embroidered Cushion on the left below really stood out for me at the Press Show this summer, as a ‘must buy’. I loved the intricate stitching of all the individual flower heads using ribbon and beads.
Clockwise from top left: Hydrangea Embroidered Cushion, Hydrangea Set of 3 Storage Boxes, Hydrangea Print Bedlinen, Hydrangea Set of 4 Corkback Placemats, Hydrangea Seat Pad, Set of 4 Hydrangea Corkback Coasters, Hydrangea Magazine File.
And a little taster of how wonderful Hydrangea could look like in your home…
So, I hope you’re enjoying the summer, whether you’re holidaying abroad or at home.
If you’re travelling down to Cornwall, I highly recommend a visit to the wonderful Lost Gardens of Heligan, where you’ll find some lovely hydrangea bushes growing.
P.S. Do look out this autumn for the beautiful more vintage-looking hydrangeas that you’ll find in florist shops.
(Images : Rona Wheeldon for Flowerona)