Were we to host garden weddings here (which we will not), I would be targeting white hydrangeas for easy care summer display in semi shaded areas. The compact white moptop Immaculata is very, very good but perhaps just a little clichéd in a bridal sense. Hydrangea macrophylla ‘Libelle’ is looking equally good this week.
Libelle is a large grower. This plant is well over two metres even though I prune it every winter and it is growing in competition with an adjacent tall hedge. Its flower heads are appropriately large and abundant. It is a lacecap which means it has a flat head. The true flowers are the small blue clusters in the centre. The outer rim of large, white individual flowers are sterile (which means they do not set seed) and technically they are sepals. The blue and white contrast is a very clean and attractive combination. Later in the season, the white will turn to pink tones in that olde-fashioned antique colour range that hydrangeas do so well.
Hydrangeas are a wonderfully obliging plant family that is often taken for granted. But after the unrelenting rains of last week, when pretty much every other bloom was sodden and disintegrating, the hydrangea flower heads just serenely continued as if nothing would bother them. They can last for a long time on the bush and make a splendid cut flower as well.
First published in the Waikato Times and reproduced here with their permission.