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Hydrangeas In Garden Design
Hydrangeas In Garden Design

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Read the previous part. ← Agricultural engineering and pruning of hydrangeas

Growing hydrangeas in the Northwest of Russia, part 5

Large-leaved hydrangea
Large-leaved hydrangea

Large-leaved hydrangea

Hydrangeas are a very valuable material for garden design. They are compact enough, well formed by pruning, decorative throughout the season from spring to late autumn and at the same time very unpretentious, reproduce well. Hydrangeas are unique in their abundance and flowering time.

The peculiarity of their flowering is that the main decorative effect is created not by "real flowers" with pistils and stamens, which are often called "fertile" or "bisexual", but by large colored sepals. It is the sepals that are greenish at first, and then white, blue, pink or other colors, depending on the type and variety of hydrangea, that make the inflorescences decorative even before the “real flowers” ​​bloom and after they have faded, making the “flowering” very long - up to two three months. In autumn, the inflorescences do not fade, like in other plants, but dry up, remaining decorative until frost.

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From the point of view of decorativeness, it is very important that hydrangeas are almost not affected by diseases and pests, which greatly impair the appearance of many other garden plants. The types and varieties of hydrangeas vary greatly in appearance, size, growth characteristics and agricultural technology. Therefore, in the course of using hydrangeas in the design of the garden, their specific features must be taken into account.

Tree hydrangeas in garden design

Treelike hydrangea is a typical shrub with the annual formation of a large number of zero shoots with not too great of their durability, therefore, growing these plants in a standard form is impractical. Their use in design is similar to other shrubs, which take up more and more space in our gardens.

Lush shrubs of tree hydrangea are good as an unshorn hedge around the site or to separate its individual zones, in the form of tapeworms and groups of several plants on the lawn, near the house, in the recreation area or other places. Treelike hydrangeas, abundantly covered with white and greenish flowers in early and late summer, can be a very successful backdrop for any flower garden. Large white arrays of treelike hydrangeas are very decorative and exquisite at dusk.

A very valuable property of the tree hydrangea is the ability to have a bush with a given volume. The bush is easily formed by spring pruning, quickly grows back after the death of shoots as a result of unsuccessful wintering or strong pruning of outdated bushes. In the same year, the bush blooms on the shoots of the current year. Treelike hydrangea plants tolerate transplanting even in adulthood. Despite the deep enough branched roots, they can be divided, reducing the volume, if they have grown too much and destroy the created design.

You can reduce the volume without digging out the entire bush, but separating part with a sharp shovel. This is very important when planting plants in shrub or mixed mixborders. Over time, the bushes grow, begin to interfere with each other, the conceived design changes. Not all shrubs can be kept in a given volume, rejuvenated without compromising flowering. This is very easy with the tree hydrangea. That is why they are so valuable for small and even very small gardens. At the same time, tree hydrangeas can be used to create very effective groups and arrays that do not require special care, which is important for large areas.

Like other hydrangeas, treelike hydrangeas prefer partial shade, humid, slightly acidic soils, but they calmly put up with the sunny position and with neutral soils, and with temporary drought, so they can be combined with almost any plants. In shrub mixborders, they are successfully combined with forsythia, viburnum, weigela, spirea blooming in the first half of summer. And in mixed flower beds, any bright flowers: phlox, lilies and others are well set off with their white inflorescences. Treelike hydrangeas are indispensable for shady flower beds. They go very well with unpretentious shade-tolerant perennials: hosts, astilbe, ferns and others.

The possibility of using tree hydrangeas in coniferous-rhododendron mixborders is very valuable, since the choice of plants for them is rather difficult. Such mixborders, in accordance with the requirements of rhododendrons, are arranged in partial shade on acidic soils, which is also well suited for hydrangeas. Treelike hydrangeas, not too bright, blend well in style with conifers and replace rhododendrons in terms of flowering. You can also use them in "Japanese gardens". More miniature varieties with graceful openwork inflorescences, consisting mainly of fertile flowers, are especially suitable here.

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Panicle hydrangeas in garden design

Panicle hydrangea
Panicle hydrangea

Panicle hydrangea

Panicle hydrangea is one of the most wonderful plants for a variety of designs. Its cold resistance and abundant flowering are unique. The shoots of the panicle hydrangea are long-lasting, especially the main ones, the trunk can last for more than forty years, for example, an old forty-year-old "tree" of paniculate hydrangea grows in my garden. That is why, along with the bush form, panicle hydrangea is often grown in standard form.

This is all the more convenient since zero shoots in adult hydrangeas are almost never formed. Standard plants with a stem height of 0.5-1 meter are very beautiful and suitable for a variety of design options. The disadvantage of the standard form is the danger of breaking off due to strong winds or in winter due to snowfalls, since most varieties of wood are very fragile. A way out of the situation may be to install a solid support or plant near a wall, fence.

Another option is to grow a tree with three boles, which, after tying, ensure the strength of the structure and the formation of a single crown. In general, panicle hydrangeas are very easily formed by pruning, allowing you to create bushes and trees of different sizes with crowns with different shapes.

Many people think that the site should have its own "main tree", but choosing such a tree for a small site is a big problem. Planting a standard panicle hydrangea would be a good solution. With appropriate pruning, it will retain the desired shape and size for many years, and will look like a real tree against the background of a small area. You can also grow a fairly large panicle hydrangea with a height of more than four and a crown diameter of more than three meters.

The bush and standard forms of panicle hydrangea are well suited for creating tapeworms and groups on lawns, in a recreation area, near a veranda, a porch. Not too large plants are good in coniferous-rhododendron mixborders, "Japanese gardens", mixed mixborders of almost any style. Under hydrangeas with sufficiently high boles, you can arrange various low-growing shrubs, perennials, creeping conifers.

Tall specimens can be a good decoration for the walls of buildings and high fences. The creation of a flat crown parallel to the wall will save space, and the formation of a sufficiently high trunk will make it possible to plant bushes of a tree-like or large-leaved hydrangea under them, or create a small mixborder. With a long wall or fence, it is good to combine hydrangeas with suitable lianas: petiolate hydrangeas, girlish grapes, princes, climbing honeysuckle.

A few years ago, the choice of varieties of panicle hydrangeas was very small, mainly the variety or garden form of Grandiflora was grown. This hydrangea is the standard for panicle hydrangeas, and it is with which other new varieties are compared. Grandiflora has all the advantages typical of panicle hydrangeas: abundant long flowering, large white, turning pink by autumn, dense inflorescences, amazing unpretentiousness and cold resistance.

Recently, we have many new varieties of panicle hydrangea. They differ in the structure of the inflorescence, for example, they can be denser with a large number of sterile flowers or more airy with bisexual flowers. There were varieties that blush not only in autumn, but also at the beginning of flowering, shorter varieties, varieties with more durable vertical shoots.

Look advantageously next to varieties with a sharply different structure of inflorescences or their color. Collections of panicle hydrangeas are not only beautiful and refined, but also allow you to compare varieties in terms of decorative properties and their stability in the North-West of Russia, to select varieties for different conditions and design features. In most cases, the Grandiflora panicle hydrangea is an unsurpassed plant for garden design, and an increase in the number of new varieties does not give a significant gain.

Large-leaved hydrangeas in garden design

Large-leaved (garden) hydrangeas, unfortunately, are not yet widespread in our gardens. There is an opinion that they are too whimsical, thermophilic, unreliable in flowering. Therefore, even professional designers often abandon them in favor of more reliable types. However, this is hardly justified. No other type of hydrangea has such large, bright, varied in color inflorescences. A good choice of the variety allows for an annual and very abundant flowering. First of all, it is worth paying attention to the old varieties and garden forms that have been growing for a long time in our gardens and are well adapted to our climate. In our garden, several varieties of such hydrangea have been growing for over 40 years and bloom profusely every year.

In recent years, a whole series of new relatively winter-hardy varieties of large-leaved hydrangea have appeared, which are very popular in America and Europe and are widely used in garden design. Many of them will be able to decorate our gardens.

Unlike treelike and paniculate hydrangeas, large-leaved hydrangeas are less versatile. They are very large, bright, and other flowers can be lost against their background. Therefore, it is important to find a suitable place for them and create an appropriate environment. Large-leaved hydrangeas are very effective, they can be planted in the ceremonial places of the site in the form of tapeworms and groups, make a flowering hedge, combine hydrangeas of different varieties and types in one area. Deep pink, crimson, blue hydrangeas allow you to create large color spots in the garden. These hydrangeas are very successfully combined with rhododendrons.

They have the same requirements for growing conditions, similar sizes, their combination allows them to have very bright accents in the flower garden throughout the summer. Large-leaved hydrangeas go well with phlox, astilbe, hostas, conifers and spring-flowering compact shrubs that do not have a very powerful root system. The use of thermophilic hydrangeas is influenced by the need for winter shelter, in this case there are the same restrictions as for roses. Heat-loving varieties that do not winter in our soil, usually more compact, are grown in containers. The containers can be installed on open terraces, at the entrances to the house or in any other semi-shady places. For the winter they need to be removed to a frost-free room (basement).

Serrated hydrangea

The serrated hydrangea is very close to the large-leaved, therefore, everything that was said about the large-leaved hydrangea also applies to the serrated. But it is less whimsical, the inflorescences are more graceful. Serrated hydrangeas often fit more easily into the chosen design than large-leaved ones. The combination of large-leaved and serrated hydrangeas looks interesting.

Petiolate hydrangea

Petiolate hydrangeas are woody perennial vines and are widely used for vertical landscaping in warmer climates. They look good on brick and stone walls, can decorate gazebos, grow near old trees and wrap around them. They bloom annually and very profusely. But in our cold climate, they have problems with wintering. If for the winter they are removed from their supports and laid on the ground so that they winter under the snow, then in this case they can ensure their good growth and flowering. But this dramatically complicates care, and even lifting heavy vines on the supports every year, it is difficult to preserve their beautiful appearance. It is known that in warmer areas, old specimens freeze a little and bloom, constantly remaining on supports. Thus, petiole hydrangeas still need observation, selection of more favorable conditions and suitable agricultural technology.

Tatyana Popova, gardener

+7 (904) 631-55-57, +7 (812) 272-87-66

Photo by V. Popov

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