Thursday, July 8, 2010

Hyperventilating About Hydrangeas

   I'm not sure why fall leaf peeping gets so much hype when the summer hydrangea season (in full bloom right now on the east coast) gets so little. In the fall families, couples (myself included) take weekend day trips or plan holiday-like vacations around the time of the colorful foliage. It's pretty to be sure but to many there's nothing like a hydrangea in all its blooming glory!
   The colors are just as lavish and the season just as limited  - enough at least to make hotels market 'hydrangea peeping weekends' much the way they do in the fall. I'm not sure why they don't. 

  A couple of summers ago we were in Martha's Vineyard for a few days vacation. We stayed at the Harbor View Hotel in Edgartown which is less than a mile from the main part of town. In July, the walk from the hotel to the charming shops and restaurants in Edgartown is a hydrangea-lovers delight. One home has a large hydrangea hedge in glorious shades of blues and purples. Located on the water side of North Water Street, with Chappaquiddick Island just across Edgartown Harbor and sailboats peeping through the trees and hydrangea bushes, this beautiful Massachusetts home must be seen in person!

   I was out on eastern Long Island this past weekend where the hydrangeas were glowing. My photos are from my sister and brother-in-law's backyard. 
   The Jersey shore is another spot where you can see some spectacular shrubs. The town of Spring Lake, about an hour's drive from Manhattan (also accessible by train from Penn Station), has many lovely Victorian homes and clusters of hydrangeas that span the palette of possible colors. Check out the Breakers Hotel along the ocean waterfront. From there you can walk up and down the tree-lined streets and check out the blooms.

   I have a couple of bushes in my yard that were dong really well. Then for three years, the bushes stopped flowering. My daughter-in-law's mother ( also a hydrangea fan) suggested that they not be pruned back in the fall since hydrangea flowers like to grow on old branches. I informed my gardener, who didn't trim them, and this year I have my flowers back!

•"Hydrangeas for American Gardens" by Michael A. Dirr 
(Timber  Press, $29.95, 2004); 
•"Complete Hydrangeas," by Glyn Church 
(Firefly  Books Ltd., $24.95, 2007); 
•"Encyclopedia of Hydrangeas," by C.J. van  Gelderen and D.M. van Gelderen 
(Timber Press, $32.97, 2004) Hydrangea Farm Nursery, 
at 86 Madaket Road, Nantucket can be reached by  
the public island shuttle and is open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
 Tuesdays,  Thursdays and Saturdays from 
May 1 to Sept. 30. 

Tomorrow: Something really easy to make for yourself or as a gift for a friend.  

1 comment:

  1. There has to have been hydrangeas in Jane Austin's garden , every English garden had them .