The Afrikaans name for hydrangeas is Christmas Roses – appropriate, as they dominate gardens in so many parts of the country during December. Last Saturday our Rotary Club hosted the annual Christmas lunch for pensioners, and each table had a large flat dish of baby blue mopheads, three white candles and a sprinkling of thread-like silver tinsel. Not quite the way northerners picture Christmas – but very appropriate in South Africa!
Personally I tend to favour a well-grown lacecap to a mophead, as the plant is more graceful. Having said that, I collect every hydrangya I can lay my hands on. But I have yet to grow a climbing hydrangya successfully – I suspect few other have because one seldom sees them for sale, and I have never seen H. aspera, which I truly crave, and several other famous species and cultivars in South Africa. Above is H. serrata ‘Blue Bird’ in the Cottage Garden, and below H. macrophylla ‘ Blue Wave’ and H. quercifolia grow above the wall below the big house.