What better time to share my end-of-summer flower photography than in the freezing cold month of January? I began this post back in September but got side-tracked. So now I can post my photos of one of my favorite flowers.
I happen to love the bloom of the Pinky Winky shrub. The flower is so interesting with it’s combination of open and closed petals in colors that range from dark pink to white. The cone shape grows longer and longer as the coloring changes.
This perennial has consistently created the most blooms of all the types I grow. We’ve had a bit of a drought here in the northeastern US over the summer, but the plant never wilts. Bees love the flowers of the Pinky Winky too. For this reason it might be best planted away from sitting areas. I don’t mind bees, but some people like to avoid being near them. I feel good having such a lovely bee-feeder in my yard.
I had a tree fall and get stuck up in neighboring trees and I had to have it taken down for safety reasons. It was near my driveway, and when the guys cut it and pulled it down, it landed partially on my Pinky Winky! A branch broke off, and a few flowers, but otherwise the perennial survived. This poor plant always seems to be in the wrong place.
Now that summer is behind us and we’re in the midst of winter, it’s nice to be reminded of what waits for us in spring. Seeing the first green stems burst through the ground, and early flowering plants like the Lenton Rose, remind us of the big hydrangea blooms to come.
The huge blooms of the limelight hydrangea change from white to pale green to pink.
One hydrangea that has cone-shaped, panicled flowers is the limelight variety. I’m using my own photos on this post to show the stages of the limelight hydrangea flower, as it grows from spring through the fall season. All pictures on this page were taken from the same flowering shrubs in my front yard, but throughout their growth period.
Hydrangeas can produce some of the most spectacular light green flowers, and the limelight does not disappoint. Brides love this flower to accent any wedding theme, and it’s often chosen to create stunning centerpieces.
In spring, this perennial sends out tall stems. Eventually buds form, with many little clusters of flowers shooting out along the end of the branch. This is the panicle, which makes this a hydrangea paniculata. These tiny clusters will each grow and merge to form a resulting, huge single bloom.
The flowers are the greenest when they are first growing. The buds open from the bottom to the top, creating a flower that is a combination of soft white to light green.
My limelight shrubs are fairly new to the yard. They were planted in 2012, and I am still learning about how to prune and grow them successfully. Fortunately hydrangeas are very hardy, and even if you do something ‘wrong’ they will continue to grow nicely.
Once the blooms fill out they are mostly white, and big and puffy looking. This hydrangea creates some of the most stunning blooms you’ll ever see.
As summer passes, the white flowers begin to turn pale pink and become darker during the autumn months. They can be cut to use in an inside arrangement, or left to dry on the bush (see my last photo on this page).
My photos above and below show the pink-tinted hydrangea flowers as they appear in the fall season. The flowers are massive, and the petals that were once a creamy white are now turning partially pale green and mauve pink.
My plants are fairly young. As the plants age, the stems will fill in and become stronger. I’ve seen them staked to hold the flowers upright, as they are heavy and tend to flop downward.
The Limelight hydrangea can be pruned into a little tree, but that takes skill and patience. I have never tried to create a hydrangea tree, but they are stunning accents to any landscape. The flowers hold up well into fall and become dried garden decor.
Hydrangeas are fun to grow. You just never know what they may do, like pop out a new bloom in October! When all the other flower heads were dried and brown, suddenly a new white flower emerged from my Limelight (photo above).
I hope you have enjoyed my photos, and maybe I have inspired you to grown one (or more) of these lovely hydrangea shrubs.
Now, would you like to see the stages of the Pinky Winky blooms?
Hydrangeas with cone-shaped flowers are of the paniculata variety. In my yard I grow the ‘Limelight’ and ‘Pinky Winky’ which are both paniculata grandiflora. This type of hydrangea can be grown as a bush or shaped into a tree over time.
The flowers are long and sometimes really huge in size. My limelight bushes have produced some amazing white to pale green blooms that are stunning. And they did this the first year after they were planted! Hydrangeas are very hardy and fast blooming. You won’t have to wait for years for them to produce showy blooms. The exception to that may be fewer and later blooms after a hard winter. I have that happening in my yard this year. (See Pictures of My Hydrangea Plants 2015)
Last year the blooms on the Limelight hydrangea were huge, and as the Fall season approached, the blooms began to turn light pink. They were just gorgeous.
Because this type of hydrangea flowers on long stems, many people trim them into trees, with one or a few main branches that grow tall with hanging branches.
Do a Google search for the paniculate grandiflora and you’ll see many lovely images. The picture below shows the same flowers shown in the picture above, just later in the season.
Possibly my favorite, the Pinky Winky is also a paniculata variety which produces white flowers that gradually turn dark pink.
Here is one of my photos of a little Pinky Winky bouquet made up of cut flowers before they turned pink. Please click this link to see the progression of the bloom growth and color change in the photos on a previous post.
There are many other types of paniculatas, and the Pee Gee is very lovely with white flowers. I bought one, but it was crushed and never had the chance to grow. I can’t give you a personal account of it, but the Pee Gee is loved by many hydrangea fans. And there are many more. Search for what will grow well in the climate where you live, and be sure to plant the paniculata hydrangea in a space that can accommodate it’s growth.
My last post was about the macrophylla varieties of hydrangeas growing in my yard. Those have big, rounded blooms and large leaves. This post contains pictures of my two types of paniculatas, which are hydrangeas with elongated type flowers.
In general I have found the paniculatas to be very easy to care for. They seldom droop in a drought, as the macrophyllas (Blushing Bride and Endless Summer) wilt quite easily in hot sun, and when they are dry.
The first photo is of the Limelight hydrangea. It was taken in August 2015, and as you can see it is not flowering, but it does have buds. The second photo is from last year at approximately the same time. As you can see, this year I will not get the blooms like last year. Again, I blame this on our incredibly horrible winter. The extreme cold and piles of snow have done a number on just about everything in my yard. Some of my Hostas never grew back, and the perennials I thought had died, are still living, but they are way behind on growth, like the hydrangeas.
The last picture I have is of the Pinky Winky hydrangea. I have come to love this plant for it’s beautiful, long-lasting blooms. It is also a very easy plant to grow. Plant it and forget it.
Unfortunately, I could have chosen a better spot for this one to grow. Without a lot of yard space, I thought it would have plenty of room to expand next to the garage. Then the snow came and my plow guy pushed loads of snow over the poor thing. It came back and grew fine.
This year I had to have a broken tree taken down, and as the tree-cutters brought the big beech down, the branches landed on my Pinky Winky. It was enough to break one of the main, low branches. I will have to cut it, as it’s split. I want to wait until the blooms go by.
The only problem I have with this one is that the deer eat it – see how lopsided it is in the photo above? There is a big deer population around my house and they come up from the woods at the side of the house to check the yard for dinner. After they munch on my rhododendron, they chew down the stalks of the hydrangea. It’s the only hydrangea they eat, and I think it’s placed just right (or wrong).
So between the broken branches and deer trimming, I may not get to see this perennial grow too large before I move, but it’s still beautiful.
This is the only hydrangea that doesn’t seem to have been bothered as much by the extremely cold winter. I would love to have more Pinky Winky hydrangeas in my yard.