The most perfect floral display in our garden this week has been Hydrangea Immaculata – such an appropriate, if somewhat Roman Catholic name. A smaller growing, compact variety, being about a metre high and a metre wide, its moptop flower heads are pristine white. It is best grown in the shade where it will light up a dark area because it tends to burn in our intense summer sun. Beyond that, there is nothing fussy or difficult about this summer perfection. It is just one of the common macrophylla types and as the flowers age, they often develop a pretty rose pink tinge. Cuttings are easy to strike, even for the novice gardener.
Hydrangeas are a wonderful source of colour in summer and ideal in verdant Taranaki with our combination of high sunshine hours and summer rain. Because our soils are acid, most are blue though as you drive northwards through the Pio Pio and Te Kuiti area, you may notice that their hydrangeas tend to pink which indicates alkaline soils in their limestone country.
We just happen to have an international expert living in our midst here. Glyn Church at Woodleigh Nursery and Garden near Oakura is probably better known overseas than here (ain’t that just the way?) but locals at least have the chance to go and see his garden in person. Mark was there a few days ago and can vouch that it is full of summer colour and looking great with some gorgeous hydrangeas. Bloody Marvellous was a showstopper in purple. Glyn is working towards being accredited as holding the national collection of hydrangeas in New Zealand which means he has a wide range. He has targetted the summer garden and the floral display goes well beyond hydrangeas. His garden is open by appointment.