Kaleidoscopic Colours

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I am in Cornwall, where the hydrangea is Queen of Shrubs. No seaside garden is complete without at least one; indeed many are packed with dozens of them, punctuated here and there by windswept cordylines. Love them or hate them, hydrangeas are possessed of some of the most unique flower colourings in the plant world. Which other plant carries blooms in shades of Wedgwood blue, mauve, aqua, magenta and bruised plum all at the same time, on the same plant?


I spent half an hour in my sister’s garden this afternoon trying to capture some decent shots in gusty conditions. These are the best of a bad lot, but they are special to me as this particular hydrangea belonged to my grandmother and has flowered in the same spot since I was a little boy. It must be at least 40 years old. I have no idea what the variety is called, but the kaleidoscopic colours are extraordinary and intrigue me. They will continue to grow richer and more antiquated as autumn progresses, before finally turning the colour of brown paper.


Categories: Cornish Gardens, Flowers, Photography, Plants, Trees and Shrubs

Posted by The Frustrated Gardener

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13 comments On "Kaleidoscopic Colours"

  1. love,love.love… So exquisite and the colours are incredible. I don’t have the conditions to grow hydrangeas well – insufficient shade and then trying to keep the water up in summer is just impossible with 40+ days. Beautiful plant, beautiful memories of your grandma and childhood, doesn’t get much better than this! Would love fishbowls full of these inside in every room!

    1. They do suit a fishbowl Helen. My grandmother had vases in every room full of hydrangeas, occasionally mixed with Japanese anemones, but often on their own. They certainly look good en masse and seem to like Cornwall’s damp, mild climate.

  2. Very beautiful and seaside European plant, needs lots and lots of water not for us dry Aussies :(, well maybe for Tasmania not for the mainland.

  3. Only yesterday before returning home I picked some hydrangea blooms in my fathers garden near Lelant in Cornwall. I have hung them up to dry and place in a vase for the winter. I also saw an interesting planting combination on a traffic island in Hayle…pinky purple hydrangeas and bright deep blue agapanthus…strangely it worked!

  4. I have hydrangeas – quite a few as a matter of fact. My love traces back to my grandparents’ small dairy farm and a large one they had on their front lawn with Adirondack chairs in front for sitting. I see a hydrangea and I think of them with a smile on my face. But, never have I see something as beautiful as this plant. Wow. Hope you enjoyed your visit. 🙂

    1. I did indeed. Back in London now. I am guessing the New England climate is perfect for hydrangeas? I found an old book (written in 1950) about hydrangeas in a charity shop this afternoon so I will be reading up about them and might even take some cuttings to perpetuate this particular plant.

  5. I have definitely grown to love hydrangeas since moving to Devon. Some are at their best when the blooms are going over, which probably means I don’t quite like them all yet 🙂

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