Pinky Winky Photos to Cheer Us in January

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.

pink hydrangea
Pinky Winky Flower

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.
hydrangea paniculata pinky winky
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.

pink hydrangea macro

Hydrangeas With Cone-Shaped Flowers

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)

limelight hydrangea flowers
The Limelight Hydrangea in Summer

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.

cone shaped limelight hydrangea flowers
Late Summer Limelight Flowers Turning Pink

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.

pink hydrangea paniculata
Most flowers are pink by late summer
white hydrangea pinky winky in vase
White Hydrangea, Pinky Winky Bouquet

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.

Hydrangeas in My Yard: The Paniculatas

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.

limelight hydrangea shrub
Limelight Hydrangea – Aug. 10th, 2015
flowering limelight hydrangea
Limelight Hydrangea – August 20th, 2014

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.
pinky winky hydrangea
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.

Pinky Winky 8/20/14
One year ago – Pinky Winky, August 20th, 2014

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.

Pinky Winky Blooming Timeline

All season I have been photographing my beautiful Pinky Winky hydrangea shrub. Now I am ready to share my pictures, in a blooming timeline, to show the progression of the flower color from spring (summer) through fall.

The bush is lopsided because the deer decided that the buds would be a tasty treat (darn deer), but at least they left me some flowering stems.

So here you have the white to pink progression, with a surprise late white flower showing in my last photo. After all the blooms had turned totally dark pink, a lone white bloom appeared. It looks so pretty against the rest of the bush, that I made a hydrangea poster from the image to sell in my BlueHyd store.

If you are unfamiliar with this variety, the flowers begin as all white, then gradually become pink from the bottom up. As time goes on the pink darkens to a beautiful shade, which can be seen in my last image here.

budding hydrangea shrub
The Buds in July
white flowers hydrangea
White Flowers – side branches were chewed by Deer!
white flowers with pink
Some Pink Beginning to Show
pink hydrangea paniculata
Most flowers are pink by late summer
hydrangea flowers white pink
Sept: All flowers are dark pink except for one new white bloom

I don’t have the exact dates listed, these photos were taken from the end of July through September. The hydrangeas don’t really start to grow flowers in my area (southwestern New Hampshire) until summer. The pinky winky is a fun one to watch as it changes throughout the season. This bush also attracts a lot of bees. So along with being a beautiful ornamental for the yard, I am helping to feed the wildlife – deer and bees! I don’t mind the bees, but those deer have plenty to eat without ruining my hydrangeas.