Author: Glyn Church

Publisher: David Bateman

The author of this book is both friend and colleague of ours (he lives in Oakura), and reading it is like listening to Glyn talk with his gentle Somerset accent. His writing style is personal and easy to read and even if you start off being a little lukewarm about hydrangeas, (some of us view them rather as utility plants) his complete enthusiasm for his topic will win you over and have you looking afresh at the charm and possibilities of the plant genus. The text is backed up by many photos which are enticing and a source of ideas for gardeners everywhere.

I did not know about remontant hydrangeas (repeat flowering through the season) – useful in climates where buds can get frosted off or where people do not know how to prune their plants to ensure flowers. Remontant varieties can put up new flowering spikes throughout the growing season rather than just flowering on last year’s wood.

This book is a complete rewrite of the author’s 1999 book on hydrangeas, not just an updated edition. It covers the history and origins, propagating, planting and general care, uses in the garden and wider landscape along with detailed descriptions of individual varieties including the rare species. There is a lot more to hydrangeas than the blue moptops we see flowering along our Taranaki roadsides. Even if you don’t grow them yourself, it is a pleasing book to have on your gardening bookshelf.