The Vanilla Strawberry hydrangea provides some sweet colour to the garden.

The Vanilla Strawberry hydrangea provides some sweet colour to the garden.

Hydrangeas provide hardy addition to flowerbeds

If the constant rain has you down, think of the new shrubs and trees planted in gardens this spring.

I’m definitely not a fan of winter snow but when there’s three feet of it outside, I try to put on a positive spin by thinking of how great it is for those who love outdoor winter sports. For those who find the constant rain painful, please think of all the new shrubs and trees planted in Kootenay gardens this spring. They couldn’t ask for better conditions to help get growing!

In spite of our lack of sun, all my conifers have put forth a new flush of growth and my new hydrangeas are starting to flower.When I recently moved I wanted to bring my beautiful Quickfire hydrangea (hydrangea paniculata ‘Bulk) with me but it was too entrenched in the roots of a mature Ivory Silk lilac tree so I had to buy a new one. It’s definitely one plant I don’t want to be without!

Along with the Quickfire, I’ve strategically placed four of its cousins along the fence around the perimeter of the back garden bed; ‘Invincibelle Spirit’, ‘Pinky Winky’, (you said pinky winky…..heeheehee)‘Fire and Ice’ and ‘Vanilla Strawberry’.

These are my top choice for flowering shrubs because they bloom and provide lots of colour through most of our season – from early July through October.

I’ve spoken before about the Quickfire and am pleased to say it always is a beautiful addition to the garden. It can be planted in full sun to part shade and matures at 6 feet tall x 4 feet wide with white flowers that transform to a rich, deep pink in fall.

I’ve also mentioned the ‘Invincibelle Spirit’ (hydrangea arborescens) with its stunning pink flowers that bloom on new wood; the first-ever pink Annabelle hydrangea; will do well in full to part sun and matures at 4 feet tall and wide.

The “Pinky Winky’ (hydrangea paniculata ‘DVPpinky’) has been around for a few years so some of you might already be enjoying one in the garden.

Its strong upright red stems hold the large two-toned, white and pink flowers from drooping like the ‘Pee Gee’. It will take full sun to part shade and grow to about 6 feet tall.

The “Fire and Ice” specimen (hydrangea paniculata ‘Wim’s Red’),  a gift from my sister, is a new hybrid that will produce flower clusters, opening in a beautiful cream, maturing to pink by mid-summer and deepening to burgundy red in late summer to fall. It’s a bit smaller (3 feet tall and wide) and prefers part shade.

“Vanilla Strawberry” (hydrangea paniculata) is a new French introduction and member of the PeeGee family. The enormous pointed flower heads get underway in early July; beginning green, they quickly turn a creamy shade of white. Within a week or two they blush pink and eventually become a rich shade of rose. Meanwhile, new flowers arise all the time which creates a full range of the colours. It is large (reaching 6 feet tall and 4 feet wide), well-branched and vigorous; best in full sun and heat tolerant.  I can’t wait for this one!

All these wonderful hydrangeas are hardy throughout the Greater Trail area so can be enjoyed by all! It’s not too late to plant one, two, three or more to add magnificent, colourful blooms to your garden for the rest of the season, hopefully in lots of summer sun!

Patty Siddall operates a local garden business and shares this space with business partner Betty Drover every other Friday. Contact: 250-364-1005

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