I love this time of the year when the Mophead Hydrangea blooms start to change colour and are ready to be used as dried flowers. I have several plants in the garden; a large pink one in the front garden…
…a smaller pink in the back and a beautiful white one in a pot on the patio.
I would like to have a blue variety, as a happy reminder of my youngest daughters wedding – she had them as table decorations and the bridesmaids bouquets.
Whilst the white hydrangea will always stay white, to obtain the blue they must have acidic soil. Not possible in my garden, which is heavy clay and alkaline. If you have neutral or alkaline soil and want blue flowers, hydrangeas will grow quite happily in containers with ericaceous compost and watered with rainwater.
Now we are on the cusp of autumn, the white hydrangea flowers are turning shades of pale green.
The pink hydrangeas are starting to take on their antique shades and are just asking to be dried for indoor displays.
If picked at the right time the blooms could last for up to a year. It is getting the time right to cut them that is important, too soon they are still full of water and too late they will lose their colour and become a dull brown. The end of August to early October is the best time. Try and pick blooms without spots or marks on the petals – which in my garden is difficult. Place long stems in about 10cms of water in a vase with a good space around each flowerhead. Place away from sunlight and allow them to dry slowly as the water evaporates over 2 weeks, adding more water if necessary. The whole point of drying them out in water is to prevent them from drying too quickly and losing colour.
I always keep Mophead flowers on my shrubs throughout the Winter and then prune them in the Spring remembering that hydrangeas flower on old wood.
I am aware that they are not everyone’s favourite but I find they are a great all year round shrub and a beautiful plant for late Summer borders.
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