sarah's favourite hydrangeas

Join Sarah for a walk through 'Hydrangea Alley', where she discusses her favourite varieties for long-lasting colour and interest.

This is what we call 'Hydrangea Alley', and of course, hydrangeas are just fantastic against a north face of a house or in a shady corner, because throughout the summer and autumn they completely transform what can be a really dull – you know, deadly dull – boring place into something that’s just so full of life and colour.

And here, there are several hydrangeas. The first is this rather elegant, sort of more bony one which is called ‘Wim’s Red’, and it’s because it’s got this beautiful crimson red stem and then these rather light lacy delicate flowers that are ivory washed with pink; beautiful, and that goes the most lovely slatey colour in the autumn, really lovely like kind of pewter a sort of grey/brown, really fantastic.

This crazy one next to me here is called the rather kind of hmm name called ‘Incrediball’, because it is incredible, and it is a huge ball. These are a new breeding from the grandiflora heritage like ‘Annabelle’, but they’ve been bred to have really strong necks, so they hold their heads completely vertically, because you know that thing with hydrangea ‘Annabelle’ when it’s wet it looks a bit dank and not so good and you can really see that here that it’s just so upstanding. So much so my kitchen’s just in there and when I’m doing the washing up I keep thinking there’s someone looking through the window and in fact it just turns out to be one of these crazy ‘Incrediball’ bobbing around slightly in the wind, but I couldn’t more recommend that because it’s just so spectacular for July, August and September.

And then through there we’ve got ‘Limelight’, which rather than being round, it’s pointy, and that goes through the most lovely succession of colours. So it opens ivory, sort of ivory green, then goes whiter, and then gradually goes pink before it browns, really in the winter. So between these three varieties just in this small corner here you totally transform a boring, shady north-facing corner. In a town garden or a country garden they fit perfectly.

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