I have always loved Hydrangeas. My Nan and Grandad grew them at the front of their house, and so did my Mom and Dad. It’s amazing how when you see a certain flower they bring back such wonderful, precious memories. Because of my love for the abundance of showy blossoms this popular shrub produces, and because of the fond memories, I have grown Hydrangeas in my garden for some years. Although, for the first time ever, I made the most silly mistake of pruning then at the wrong time so I did not get a single blossom last year. But this year, they are back again, and in splendour.
Here are a few facts about this colourful flowering shrub, some I already knew, and some I didn’t.
- Hydrangeas go back a long way, and were here before we were. The oldest fossil finds discovered in America go back 40 to 65 million years ago.
- The Chinese and Japanese have been cultivating Hydrangeas for thousands of years.
- The first Hydrangeas were introduce to England from North America in 1736, then later from Japan in 1788.
- Of course, these are very, very, very thirsty plants. I remember my Dad dousing his in buckets of water in the heat of summer.
- I didn’t realise these were poisonous, so no eating them. The buds, flowers and leaves contain a compound known as glycoside amygdalin. It is the amygdalin that has the potential to make hydrangea poisonous, because it can break down to produce cyanide.
- The colour of the blooms are affected by the aluminum ions in the soil.
- There are around 70 to 75 different species. If only I had a bigger garden to fit them all in!
Rear garden, Staffordshire, England. June 2017.