Few plants have as long a flowering season as the Hydrangeas. Giving colour throughout the summer, they are reliable and very easy to grow. They fit well into gardens of any size, doing well in town gardens and even in large tubs on the patio, and always do well in seaside gardens. In bigger gardens, they are ideal in mixed borders and give colour in woodland shady conditions after the rhododendrons have finished. The colour is variable, depending on the type of soil you have.
Mopheads are the ones with the big round heads of flowers. Blauer Prince and Generale Vicomtesse de Vibraye are reliable, really blue on acid soils. Gertrude Glahn is a popular pink mophead and Mme E Moulliere is a lovely white, with a pink or blue centre to each flower.
Lacecaps have flat heads of flowers, with petals only round the edge. Blue Wave is a reliable blue-purple and Blaumeise is brilliant blue in the right conditions. Miss Hepburn is a good pink and whites such as Lanarth White and the one we list as just White Lacecap are very effective, especially in shade and in the evening light of the BBQ and the patio lights as are the H. paniculata varieties, which produce conical spikes of flowers. Unique and Pink Diamond both open white and age to pink shades.
Eucryphias are little-known but very valuable upright evergreen shrubs or small trees which smother themselves in white flowers in high summer. They are ideal at the back of a bed of hydrangeas. The bees love them, and indeed give us the Tasmanian Leatherwood honey from where E. lucida grows in the wild. Pink Cloud is a rare pale pink form. Nymansay is a strong grower with large flowers, while Rostrevor is more compact.
In the woods, the very last rhododendron is covered in great white trumpets and scenting a wide area. This is R. auriculatum, one of the parents of Polar Bear which is equally magnificent and often still in flower in August.