hydrangeas in my garden

by Sharon Santoni


We have entered our hot season here.  Not hot by many of your standards, but on a Normandy scale, Very Hot.  From the second half of July through August, it can be a challenge to keep the garden really colourful, but one family of plants that can be relied upon are hydrangeas.

I have hydrangeas all around the garden, the first to flower is the huge climbing hydrangea which first blooms in May, and then continues to flower, although not so fully, through until the fall.At this time of year, the overwhelming huge flowers are long gone, but we still have these daintier versions of a recent glory.


In front of our terrace I have planted four Annabelle hydrangeas, and despite being in full sun, they seem to like it here.   They require water on a hot day, and I really should stake them to stop them bending under the weight of their giant blooms.  I love them as cut flowers to bring inside, and for the way they frame the front of the house.

When you have very tall roses along a barn wall they tend to get leggy and bare around the knees, and I find that this huge Hydrangea Paniculata Quercifolia is great for filling up that lower space.  It needs no maintenance, no staking, not that much water and I am a big fan.

As well as having hydrangeas planted in the ground, I also have quite a few in pots on the terrace, including some rather large Raspberry and Cream Paniculata varieties.   Pots have to be watered regularly, but these are great for giving shape and texture to the terrace.

And how about you?  Do hydrangeas grow in your part of the world?   Is it a long season?   I’d love to know.



Josephine July 23, 2019 - 12:24 am

I love my Limelights hydrangeas, they still have not bloomed yet

Dee July 23, 2019 - 4:09 pm

I have 9 Limelight and they are just starting to Bloom this year. A little slower than last year. My one LA Dreamin hydrangea, now 5 years old, has never bloomed flowers! I am in Michigan.

Cindy J July 23, 2019 - 12:32 am

Live Limelight hydrangea. This is my second year with Bobo a smaller variety of hardy hydrangea. It is blooming.

Jeanne July 23, 2019 - 12:52 am

Beautiful, I love them and hope to have every variety planted. J

Marie Batson July 23, 2019 - 12:54 am

I love my hydrangeas…..this year I did not get enuff of the acid additive in the soil for the deep blue color I love but was rewarded with three colors on one bush, pink, lavender and paler blue! I have a gorgeous white with huge blooms, a lace cap pink, and my latest which is a burgandy with small balls of blue in the center. I am amazed at how easy it is to do cuttings to root for adding to my landscape. I do have a climbing variety that has not yet bloomed in several years….not sure why?

Nancy Smith July 23, 2019 - 6:25 pm

It took five years after planting date for my climbing white lace cap to bloom. Now it blooms faithfully every year. I am in CT. I have read this is common for this type. Nancy Smith

Kris Ortega July 23, 2019 - 11:41 pm

I live in middle Tennessee and I am having a hard time with my hydrangea..clay siol augmented to the max. Morning shade mixed sun /shade the leaves curl up and the plant dies..i check soil dayly for moisture and insects..i desperately want large white hydranges.HELP!!!

S Rye July 24, 2019 - 7:55 pm

My white hydrangea has leaves which have been nippled and flower’s not doing the same as last year

DD July 23, 2019 - 12:58 am

Your garden is just beautiful, and what I love about your house and garden is that it is obviously a home! Not staged, but lived in and loved…
Keep the ohotos coming!

Rhonda Reeves July 23, 2019 - 1:10 am

Hydrangeas are my favorite and I have many. Lovely in bouquets and to dry where they keep me company over the winter.

Sandy w July 23, 2019 - 3:22 am

Hydrangeas are my favorites because they last so long and you get different colors on same plant throughout the summer. I love my Annabelle’s and also Ayesha. It is so different. Almost like a lilac.

Aurora ward July 23, 2019 - 1:15 am

I love your hydrangeas. They are just beautiful. My yard is full of rodys. But I plan to plants limelight hydrangeas. Like you I like to cut them and bring them indoors I also love your wisteria. Mine is not that large yet. Thank you for sharing

Susan Collard July 23, 2019 - 1:49 am

I live in the Pacific Northwest and Hydrangeas LOVE it here! I have all kinds of Hydrangeas planted in my cottage gardens. Mop heads, Lacecaps, Pee Gee (Limelight, Pinky Winky, Vanilla Strawberry) and Climbing Hydrangeas. Even though some of them are right next to each other they are all a different color. The Nikki Blues are outstanding around my gazebo, they are especially vibrant this year. Probably because up until now summer has been cool. The Pee Gees love full sun and handle heat well., they are planted in the south facing front of my house. I adore Pinky Winky, it is my absolute favorite. I reminds me of Victorian lacework and turns a fabulous tan/burgundy in autumn. I have enjoyed your magazine! It was such a treat to receive it in the mail! Thank you!

Michele Cherie July 23, 2019 - 6:48 am

Yes, Pacific Northwest hydrangeas are lovely—I know the climate is much like parts of Bretagne and Normandy. I was dying a Strawberries and Cream variety two weeks ago but my daughter talked me into a fig tree instead. Now I’ll have to keep an eye out for the Pinky Winky—it sounds gorgeous!

Natalia July 23, 2019 - 2:09 am

Sharon,your garden is absolutely lovely!!
With your words and gorgeous pictures,
you always manage to fill our imaginations with both beauty and wishes to recreate at least some of that wonderful joie de vivre for ourselves.
Our porch is bordered with pink,blue,and white hydrangeas,interspaced with(after all these years here,now
mostly antique)roses,which also fill the garden,along with Birds of Paradise,fruit trees, and honeysuckle.
We renewed our vows for our (then)50th anniversary under the jasmine covered arch to the garden’s entrance .
We wanted to create our own nirvana,and are so blessed
that it has been just that for us.
What joy to write about this.
Thank you for giving me the opportunity!

Gudrun July 23, 2019 - 2:27 am

I planted a white hydrangea bush about 7 years ago and it has been a gorgeous addition to my country garden ever since. We have had a lot of rain this year, so it grew about two feet. I know that because one left over bloom from last fall hung on and is still up there, so it has become my measure point. I, too have them all over my garden. They are such beautiful plants. Thank you for sharing yours Sharon.

Barabara July 23, 2019 - 2:37 am

Hello Sharon,
I live in West Virginia, USA.
I love hydrangas, too. I have 2 Limelight’s. They are blooming now.
We have just gone thru an incredibly hot spell. Heat index was sitting around 106.
But, as I write, we are getting a very nice rain that should allow all of us, flowers and people, alike, to breathe a sigh of relief.
I am a new reader, and love your magazine and posts.

Lisa D. July 23, 2019 - 4:57 am

Just heavenly.

Jenny Brown November 22, 2019 - 9:20 pm

My Team Leader at work visits Paris for a few months each year. He is retiring in January and last night at our office Christmas party expressed a longing to find ( here in Sydney but has had no luck so far ) the hydrangea he admires most in France. He described it as having large white conical flowers. It could be the paniculata / quercifolia / limelight /bono but as you live in France could you suggest the most likely type/s and how I might be able to track down plants to buyfor a retirement present? Can I buy seed from France? Thank you.

Sunflower July 23, 2019 - 8:56 am

I recently received hydrangeas in a bouquet and they are exquisite and something I had never thought of using. They were placed with simple greenery and long woody bare twigs.
My only problem was finding a long stemmed vase to fit them all in, luckily I had just one base and they look stunning on my dining table.
Sharon, I’d love to see how you take these blooms indoors to display them – you’re so good at finding unusual receptacles to place flowers in. Any ideas please?

Pamela Andrews July 23, 2019 - 9:09 am

So glad to see a post about your garden, I loved seeing your home and dogs and hearing about whats going on in your life. I only have three Hydrangeas , they bloom for ages but they do seem to drink a lot and go droopy if I forget to water them.

Lesley Mclellan July 23, 2019 - 9:15 am

I have the paniculata quercifolia and snowflake and Annabelle and limelights growing on my Hydrangea Highway, a part of my Waiheke Island ( New Zealand) garden which is quite clayey and rocky . So far they delight ,me, but are not as lush as yours , Sharon. So I have had a manuka tree removed and hopefully with feeding and more light they will improve. Do you cut all your hydrangeas back after their performance ? Your garden is breath taking . Thank you for the visions you give us.

Maggie Valois July 23, 2019 - 9:48 am

Love your garden Sharon. Here in New Zealand I will be pruning my Hydrangeas soon. I have several white ones and pinks and blues. I must remember to lime my pink one as it was starting to change last year. My soil is more acid so the blues are always great. So many beautiful varieties around they can be hard to resist at the garden centre. Limelight is one I would like to get this year.

Victoria Castura Boylan July 23, 2019 - 12:19 pm

Hydrangeas are my most favorite garden plant. I had many in my old house and they’re one of things I miss the most. I am currently at the south Jersey shore, and the hydrangeas are blooming in all their glory.

Taste of France July 23, 2019 - 12:36 pm

I have always adored hydrangeas and was quick to get some when I got a house. But it’s too hot and dry in the south of France. After a few years, I transferred the ones in pots to a shady spot on the north side of the house, but they still wilt in the heat waves. The upside of our dry climate is that we don’t have mosquitoes. We aren’t under watering restrictions that have affected other parts of France but even so I water only my potager; for the hydrangeas I use water from cooking (from washing vegetables or, after cooling, from cooking them). It’s probably good for them–they have gotten enormous.

claudia fahey July 23, 2019 - 1:14 pm

I have a limelight hydrangea that has gotten over 8 feet tall on the north side of my house (I am on the eastern shore of the united states) beautiful big heads of white with just a hint of green…i cut it back and the next season its almost as tall again…very hardy has withstood a few tropical storms

Terri Arbutina July 23, 2019 - 2:16 pm

I also love hydrangeas, however, I have problems getting them to bloom! Currently I have 6 and only 3 have bloomed. I would love to know your secrets!

Marion Trollope July 23, 2019 - 3:02 pm

Are they Mopheads? Do you have cold winters? Mopheads bloom on the stems that were produced the previous year. A cold winter will kill these. It will not kill the hydrangea, which will produce lots of lush new growth the following season, but no flowers. The Annabelles, the paniculatas, the oakleaf hydrangeas and specially bred mopheads bloom on new growth so are better for northern winters. Climbing hydrangeas also grow on old growth but mine still doesn’t flower. I don’t think it’s getting enough sun. I adore hydrangeas. Sadly, roses are difficult in eastern USA.

Pam Beach July 23, 2019 - 3:03 pm

I just love these hydrangeas,
Got rows of Annabels and limelights roses(David Austin) are so beautiful too, they complement each other.
Enjoy the nice weather, cant get ENOUGH of the big white clusters.

Karen McCarthy July 23, 2019 - 3:58 pm

There’s no such Hydrangea as a ‘Paniculata Quercifolia’. They are each a district species. What you have pictured _is_ a H. Quercifolia’/Oak Leaf Hydrangea. There are quite a few smaller ones (under 4′) just perfect for what you describe, hiding unsightly bottom growth of climbing roses. I adore H.q. ‘Ruby Slippers’ exactly for this reason.

Andi July 23, 2019 - 4:08 pm

We just returned from a trip to Nantucket. The flowers are beautiful there and the fragrance in the air was delightful. I had never seen so many Hydrangeas in one place and some were huge!! As always, your garden is beautiful and I enjoy sharing it with you through your photos.

Sandra Sallin July 23, 2019 - 7:13 pm

Don’t kill me but I’m planning on buying some beautiful fake Hydrangea. I have beautiful grasses around my home but no hydrangeas. I love the way they look indoors. My garden is all perennial grasses. But I love the look of hydrangeas indoors. You garden is stunning. Do you dry your flowers and bring them indoors? Do you give the dried ones as gifts?

Zofia July 24, 2019 - 4:58 am

I love hydrangea.

Pamela July 24, 2019 - 9:14 am

Love hydrsngeas and yours are beautiful but the Australian sun is so hot and scorching in summer that it is really hard to grow hydrangeas in the garden unless they have quite a lot of shade. Some of my potted hydrangeas (under shade cloth) were doing so well they were getting too big for their pots so I plantrd them out in the garden where they get some shade. But during the hottest days the leaves snd flowers were burnt by the sun, even though we have an automatic dripper system that keeps the roots well watered. In desperation I kept sprinkling the leaves but it didn’t help much. Someone suggested putting up garden umbrellas over them in the heat of the day! Maybe I’ll try that next summer! Best wishes, Pamela

noreen July 24, 2019 - 6:31 pm

I remember seeing swathes and swathes of giant, beautiful old fashioned hydrangeas years ago (also called Christmas Roses as they bloom in our summer in South Africa). Since our terrible drought last year. I have only seen them as smaller plants grown in pots, as more and more people have changed to waterwise plants.

Debbie July 25, 2019 - 5:10 pm

Any tips for picking hydrangeas – mine wilt almost immediately.

Sandy July 26, 2019 - 5:01 am

We have too many deer and they LOVE hydrangeas

Lucia Donahower July 30, 2019 - 4:25 pm

Sharon, your Hydrangeas are beautiful! They make your home look wonderful.
Have a lovely week.

Mary July 31, 2019 - 1:14 pm

Your hydrangeas are breathtaking! I have one Annabelle hydrangea and a Pink Diamond hydrangea that do well here in northern Michigan, USA. I love them and would love to plant some other cultivars


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