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A Different kind of Hydrangea

by Malachy - Horticulturist CountryLife Dungarvan | Jul 15, 2016
Pink Annabelle is another variety that was introduced to the market much to the delight of gardeners looking for a bit of colour
I have spoken about how much I value hydrangeas as a plant in my garden. They are an extremely reliable plant that put on a fantastic show with very little input from gardeners. In my eyes they are great and I find myself constantly recommending them to customers that come in to CountryLife looking for plants for tricky spots in the garden. 

While hydrangea have always been popular with Irish gardeners in the past few years I have noticed that customers are starting to look for more unusual varieties when they call in to the garden centre. Luckily there are a number of hydrangea on the market now that offer something slightly different to the standard varieties that everyone is familiar with. 

Hydrangea arborescens is a popular collection of hydrangea which produces large clusters of flowers that have great impact in a garden. Annabelle is the best known variety of Hydrangea arborescens. This hydrangea is just coming into flower now which helps to add more seasonal interest to the garden.

Annabelle is a stunning white hydrangea, often producing heads over 10" in diameter. Unlike the better known blue and pink hydrangeas (macrophyllas), Annabelle flowers every year on the new stems. This means prunning is extremely easy each year. When you are ready to prune the plant you simply cut it all right back to about 1 foot above the soil level. 

Don’t worry, as it a fast grower and can reach 4 to 6 feet tall in one year. With this in mind though it is important to give it enough space in a flowerbed to grow properly or you will soon find it overshadowing other plants in the bed. I have seen Annabelle grown in large pots before but they do require constant watering and feeding if they are kept in a pot so often this method of growing them creates more work. 

Pink Annabelle is another variety that was introduced to the market much to the delight of gardeners looking for a bit of colour. The flowers are a deep pink colour that would almost pass for red it is so intense. As the season goes on however the flower fades in intensity and becomes a much softer shade of pink. 

No matter what hydrangea you decide to grow the most important thing is regular watering and regular feeding. Hydrangea do not handle drought very well so it is important to make sure they have a regular supply of water, especially during warm dry weather. In my own garden I like to feed hydrangea with a granular seaweed feed that you can pick up in store. I find that a seaweed feed not only helps to produce healthy flowers but also gives you lush green leaves.

Written by Malachy

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Malachy's Bio 
I have been gardening since I was 5 years old when my mother gave me a part of our garden as my own. I have studied horticulture in the National Botanical Gardens in Glasnevin and was a winner in the young horticulturist of the year competition. I have worked in Several plant nurseries and garden centers such as Mount Congreve in Co. Waterford. My special interests are plant propagation and Cacti!