Thats enough introduction - on with the plants!
To navigate this site, use the links above, or the detailed links at the bottom of this page.
... out in the garden.
29th July 2012
Hydrangea macrophylla 'Frau Taiko'
A dry week in the garden, the herbaceous border is looking good (at least in the bits that work - lessons are being learnt) although it is rather dry.
The outstanding performance is coming from the Hydrangeas. A couple of years ago I started planting Hydrangea macrophylla forms in the garden.
They aren't very trendy among the arbiters of taste but they are becoming very popular again in the marketplace. To begin with I was determined to have
nothing but the purest blue cultivars. When they are growing in the shade they have a luminosity that is quite remarkable, and I have a lot of shade to fill.
In the first year an unfortunate number of them went pink on me, but they seem to be gathering their chromatic credentials and in the end,
all's blue that ends up blue (to coin a phrase).
'Frau Taiko' is evidence of the limits of my determination when faced with the cornucopia of wonder that is the modern hydrangea. This one was
terrifyingly pink when I bought it, but it has done the decent thing this year. I first became aware of it about ten years ago when it was grown for forcing
and rather overlooked it. Forced Hydrangeas can behave rather erratically and I wasn't convinced by the flower pattern. I was wrong, it is a good thing
and it heralded a new dawn of unnecessarily flippant forms.
Bred by Hiroshi Ebihara in Tokyo, a seedling from 'Crystal' pollinated by 'Silver Edge' it was introduced in 1998 and was very popular as a flowering pot plant,
but is now taking gardens by storm.
29th July 2012
Hydrangea macrophylla 'Love You Kiss'
'Love You Kiss' is another Hydrangea that is easy to walk away from. It makes a sensational pot plant, but the name is too sweet to swallow.
The first time I saw it I was both covetous and repulsed. It took me a couple of years to get past the promotional material and enjoy the plant.
This was where I realised that Hydrangeas were entering a new phase of development, this red edged picotee is unique and very beautiful.
Raised in Japan, it was also originally distributed as a flowering pot plant but rapidly moved on to sales as a flowering shrub. It is described
in the commercial literature as 'compact' but in the garden it has grown quite strongly upright which makes for a good garden shrub.
Breeders have had a field day with it - there is an avalanche of new cultivars appearing that have been bred from it, the picotee marking seems to be easily
I planted it well away from my tasteful blues where its unique attraction could be appreciated, and where it would conceal the rabbit fence
(Hydrangeas are very practical things).
29th July 2012
Hydrangea macrophylla 'Fantasia'
I thought I had gone as far as I was going to down the path of novel Hydrangeas, but earlier this year I was wandering around one of the countries
mega garden centres when I ran into this. It had been frosted and was discounted to clear space so I paid pennies for it and thought it was worth a try.
In 2000 Dutch plant breeder Wilhelm van der Jagt set out to breed new hydrangeas with novel colours and the products of his work are now appearing as the
Forever and Ever series. 'Fantasia' was selected as a seedling in 2003 and introduced to the trade in 2010. All H.macrophylla cultivars turn greenish
as the flowers age, but this one carries it to extremes. The new flowers are pinkish flushed with green but the pink is lost as the flower matures. I planted
it in a quiet corner, where I can enjoy it if it is good, and overlook it if it isn't. Listening to people's comments as I bought it, it isn't
It has become clear that it has another character of value in hydrangea breeding. In common with some of the newest cultivars, it will also
flower on new growth. The first flush of flowers in june and july come from old wood, but later in the year it will produce a new crop of flowers from
the current seasons growth. If you enjoy the colour, that is a good thing.
This flower is very much greener than normal, but the plant has had a stressful time.
29th July 2012
Hydrangea macrophylla Double
The double hydrangeas are another of the journeys into oddity that I took last year. Many years ago I grew the double green Hydrangea involucrata
'Hortensis' which is very lovely but not very vigorous and a little bit tender. In recent years breeders have added to the number
of doubles available and increased the colour range. At least, they might have increased the colour range. It is dificult
Last summer I was looking for a few reliable summer flowering shrubs to add to the herbaceous border. I wanted something that would give big blocks of colour
and help strenthen my rather polka-dot planting (and keep the weeds down). My local supermarket got some of these in as flowering pot plants
and that was all the excuse I needed. I bought a pink one, a blue one and a white one. None of them had names on, and this year they are all blue
(for the record, this one was "Double White"). The name doesn't really matter, it is growing fast and doing the job.
Breeders have also been working on H.quercifolia and H.paniculata . Already this year I have seen a couple of plants in gardens that I am
actively searching for. I don't think I am done with Hydrangea yet!
To find particular groups of plants I grow, click on the genus name in the table above. Click on the "Index" box at the top of the page for the full list.
I have a lot of good intentions when it comes to updating this site, and I try to keep a note
about what is going on, if you are interested.
If you want to contact me, the address is infoMONKEYjohnjearrard.co.uk
When typing the address in, please replace MONKEY with the more traditional @ symbol! I apologise for the tiresome performance involved, but I am getting too much
spam from automated systems as a result of having an address on the front page.