There are a whole load of shrubs that make a big finale before they bow out, putting on a great show as we move towards autumn.
Hydrangeas are very good at this, there are the big mop-heads, delicate lace-caps and the paniculatas. If you like to know this sort of thing, a panicle describes the cone shape of the flower head, so they’re easy to tell from the other types of hydrangeas.
One of the loveliest of these is Hydrangea paniculata ‘Big Ben’
The large flower-heads are pink at the base, gradually fading to white and lacy at the tip.
- plenty of room is needed, Big Ben eventually reaches about 2.5m/8 x 2.5m/8 feet
- paniculatas don’t mind what the pH of the soil is, so it doesn’t have to be acid
- they’re happiest in soils that are fertile and don’t dry out too quickly
- plant them in a sheltered spot away from cold winds and early spring frosts, which will damage their tender, new growth.
prune last years growth [older stems are darker] to a pair of healthy buds, this will keep them a bit more compact and help to produce more flowers.
they’re deciduous, so it’s a good idea to plant a skirt of small spring flowering bulbs like crocus around it, a low, spreading evergreen plant like epidmedium would look lovely too.
Happy gardening, Jill
all photos: Jill Anderson