A THOUSAND WORDS - Alex Waterhouse-Hayward's blog on pictures, plants, politics and whatever else is on his mind.


Hydrangea quercifolia 'Snowflake'
Sunday, May 14, 2006

For at least 13 years, I have been going to the UBC Botanical Garden Mother's Day Plant Sale. It opens at 10 am but I line up around 7:45 so I can be in the front of the line and I have a good chance of getting the plants I want. This year, if things go as planned, I will be returning home with Hydrangea involucrata 'Hortensis'. This is a rare hydrangea cultivar rarely offered in the plant trade. I may have around 25 varieties of hydranges in my garden and I am most proud of Hydrangea serratifolia which is a species from Chile. I have a fondness for hydrangeas because they are the plants of my youth in Buenos Aires. Since Buenos Aires is in a similar latitude to South Africa many of the plants that grow in South Africa grow in Buenos Aires. Here in Vancouver it is warm enough that we can grow most hydrangea species. In my garden they can thrive in deep shade. Not mentioned in most plant books is the fact that many hydrangeas are fragrant and smell of honey. This is the case with Hydrangea quercifolia 'Snowflake'( a double flowered sport, above) which is from a species that thrives in the US South. As long as hydrangeas get lots of moisture during the growing season (no problem in Vancouver) they are carefree as they are not affected by pests. Unlike with roses, pruning these plants is very easy. Quercifolia means literally "like an oak leaf". Quercus is Latin for oak.


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