I am unfamiliar with the climbing form of hydrangea, or at least I was before I researched it for this blog post. I will be moving soon into a house of my own where I plan to do lots of gardening so I need to know what is available for my area of the country. I live in growing zone 5 so my plants have to be able to withstand cold and lots of snow cover. Always check before you buy plants online to make sure they are suitable for your area.
The petiolaris, or climbing hydrangea plant, can be used as a ground cover as well as a climber. The blooms are white and lacey looking and show up around the month of June and the leaves are heart-shaped and green. If you want this flowering vine to climb, then plant it near a sturdy structure that will be able to bear the weight of the full grown bush which can be up to 50 feet in height… yikes! That is big, so think long term when planting this one. It likes shade or semi-shaded areas which is good to know since my new yard will be surrounded by trees and I’m assuming will be quite shady most of the day.
I like the idea of planting it to cover an unsightly tree stump (I have a tall one in my new yard) or some other part of the yard that isn’t very nice looking. According to what I’ve read, it takes a year or two to get established and then it takes off and grows like crazy.
Recently our weather in the northeast has improved greatly. After a very rainy and quite cold June, July is off to a much better start and the hydrangeas love it.
Here are my latest photos of the hydrangea plant I propagated in 2009. It’s doing great and I’ve been waiting for the buds to pop open so I can see what color they will be. Sometimes the soil difference will cause the flowers to change color, but in this case the blooms are blue, just like the parent plant it came from.
If you have a favorite hydrangea shrub, or know of someone who has some beauties growing in their yard, try your hand at propagating (starting one plant from another) yourself. I’ve only done the root layering method and actually it had already rooted for me on it’s own, but taking leaf cuttings is another way to do this and the Nantucket Hydrangea site has a useful section on how to start plants from leaf cuttings.
Below is another photo of this same bush in growing year #2.
Hydrangea bouquets are stunning. July and August are the peak time for seeing loads of blooms in my area of the country and as the summer fades the blooms begin to change color. Unlike most every other flower, when the hydrangea flowers begin to die they can become even more lovely. Their blue colors can change to lavender and green (as in my bouquet here) and the white flowers can be pinkish or tan. If left on the bush, they can still decorate the landscape as dried specimens for months.
With such beautiful, big flowers, you don’t have to be a floral designer to make a very pretty cut flower bouquet. Be sure to treat them correctly to keep the bloom from dying quickly. Add some other flowers from the yard or even the woods. You could add greenery too. Experiment with what you have and you might be surprised how nice your little arrangement looks. And a single flower in a vase would look just fine.
If I buy flowers from the local grocery store, I usually go for the Alstroemerias, or Peruvian Lily, which are sold in bouquets and will last a very long time if they are fresh.
Check your local yard sales and swap shop (we have one at the transfer station – a fancy name for the dump) for little vases to hold your flowers. The vase in my picture was purchased from an artisan at a local fair. I prefer a few small arrangements scattered around my house to a large, overwhelming one. Even a few hydrangea blooms can make a big bouquet and as Fall approaches (we don’t want to think about that yet) the blooms will change color and make an even bigger impact.
If you love to bake and have the time to decoratively frost your own cupcakes, try this simple and pretty idea for making hydrangea cupcakes.
I’m always on the lookout for a rare site or blog that shows (with great pictures) how to make hydrangea related goodies.
These hydrangea frosted cupcakes, from the awesome site “Glorious Treats”, are so cute and relatively simple to create. They combine the pretty blue and lavender colors commonly found on hydrangea flowers, but the color of the frosting is up to the baker. Try out various color combinations to make realistic-looking sweet treats. Blue and lavender or purple is a common color scheme to see on hydrangea flowers, or white with light pink. If you are clever with the icing, you may even find a way to create the light green shades that are so coveted.
Serve them up at a birthday party or bridal shower and I’m sure they’ll be a huge hit. Yum!