Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Ode to hydrangea

For more inspirational finds, please visit www.quatrefoildesign.com

Perhaps it is because of the mild winter we received, or the recent rain that has fallen, but the hydrangea in Atlanta are particularly beautiful this year.  They have slowly but surely become one of my favorite flowers over the past few years, so when we designed the landscape of my yard last year, my request was to incorporate hydrangea bushes wherever possible.

In the area close to the house, my landscape architect specified white annabelle hydrangeas, as he wanted a predominantly white and green look to the yard.  The delicate lacy bloom of the annabelle hydrangea is a beautiful addition to the yard.  I love the softening effect of the hydrangeas, as my landscape has so many clean lines and geometric shapes.  Most of the annabelle that were planted in the fall made it through the winter, although a few of the plants had to be replaced in the spring (and the replacements look as if they are struggling a bit).  The ones that are thriving are doing quite well, and in a few years I imagine that we will have thick covering of these beautiful plants.

Where our lot begins to slope, mophead hydrangeas were planted.  Most of them are white, but interestingly a few of them are coming in with a distinct pinkish hue.  When doing a bit of research on hydrangeas, I learned that for the pink and blue variety of hydrangea, the color of the flower is determined by the ph balance of the soil.  According to http://www.hydrangeashydrangeas.com, it is possible to change the color of pink and blue hydrangea plants by changing the acidity of the soil – although the website notes that it is easier to change from pink to blue than blue to pink. Maybe in a few years when these are more established, I will see if we can change the ph to make these blue – I much prefer blue hydrangeas to pink.

A few weeks ago, I had a fundraiser at the new house, and one of my co-hosts brought over white hydrangea blooms from her garden.  I am normally the worst flower arranger you can imagine – I tend to trim the bottom of a bouquet, and plop in a vase hoping for the best. However, I had recently read an excellent flower arranging guide from Goop – and I was able to create lovely and simple arrangements of hydrangea in the cube shape vases that I purchased from Home Goods.  I recreated the arrangements for another gathering I had at the house last week with freshly cut blue hydrangea from a friend's garden.  Here is one of the arrangements in my side entrance – it is a bit past its prime, but still looking good.  I know it looks simple, but creating any kind of flower arrangement is a small victory for me!

Maybe next time I will try a dramatic arrangement like this one, from a room designed by John Saladino for a Veranda feature. I remember seeing vases like these at the Mart, although I don't remember who makes them!

As much as I like blue hydrangea in vases, my favorite place to admire them is in their natural state.  Although this is not quite natural state, it is one of my favorite images of hydrangeas – an allee of hydrangeas, planted in giant pots. 

A little more realistic are the images I have captured on my iphone when walking my dog around Atlanta this month.   This picturesque fence was adorned with all different shades of hydrangea, both pink and blue.

A lush and loose arrangement of blue hydrangea frame this lucky homeowner’s driveway.

An unstructured profusion of blue hydrangea take up the entire side yard of this corner lot.

A small peek of the blue hyndrangeas on this property can be seen through the gates.  I featured this house on my blog a few years ago, when it was on the market.

Here is the back yard from a picture taken a few years ago; the white and blue hydrangea must be incredibly beautiful right now. Landscape design by John Howard.  To see the blog post, click here.

A few more pictures found around the web just to round things out…this pretty white hydrangea allee is from designer Loi Thai's pinterest board of white gardens.

This one is from Loi’s pinterest board too…I could spend hours looking at his curated collection of images!

This is how I am hoping my white hydrangeas look some day. Source.

A stunning picture found on the web, showing a nice range of colors of mophead hydrangea (source). 

Designer Suzanne Kasler’s back yard, from a recent article in Architectural Digest. Note the beautiful blue hydrangeas flourishing behind the clipped Korean boxwood.

Recently, Veranda contributing editor and author Danielle Rollins snapped a picture of the hydrangeas in her yard and posted on her facebook page.  For those with great memories for magazine spreads, this view might look a bit familiar…

Danielle’s house was featured in Town & Country in 2010, and was decorated by legendary designer Miles Redd.  Danielle’s book Soiree: Entertaining with Style is available for pre-order on Amazon, and will be released in the fall.  I see that there is a turquoise garden bench in the recent picture, which was not in the magazine spread. I think it adds the perfect touch to the space, but then again I am partial to garden benches (as this post confirms)!

I could go on and on, but I think you get the idea!  Do you have hydrangeas in your area? I don’t remember them from my teenage years in Connecticut, but then again I did not really notice these kind of things back then.  If you have any inspirational images of hydrangeas from your neck of the woods,  I would love to see them.

QD collage

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  1. Love hydrangeas. We too use Annabelle around our home. The blooms are sooo big and last all summer long. They look great against a boarder of boxwoods, just like in your home. You are lucky to live where you do, as in Indiana this year most of the hydrangeas were damaged due to temperatures in the 90's in early March, and then freezing in April. All of the new growth was sadly lost this year. Great photos. Thanks for sharing!

  2. planted Annabelle and autumn ferns in our garden last year and they are thriving. Also love limelight hydrangea....sorry to miss them blooming in a friend's Atlanta garden during a recent visit. Interestingly, just down the road from Boxwoods


    Great post. Noticed some of your pictures cannot be "pinned?"

    1. Thank you for the comment! I see what you mean about some of the images not being able to be pinned. Must be because of the watermark - which I was experimenting with - I will play around with it tomorrow and see whether I can remove it.

    2. actually, I'd love to know how to watermark to prevent pins...would love to use for my professional artwork. Have used metadata but that does not prevent pinning

      By the way, love your bluestone patio surrounded by lush green

    3. I used http://picmarkr.com to put the watermark on - it's free - not with the intent of preventing pinning, and did not configure anything, but clearly that is a side result.

    4. thank you for the source, going to try using the watermark

  3. I love hydrangeas...mine are equally vibrant this year, I think the mild winter and lots of rain certainly has helped. Your new garden looks beautiful, Holly!

    1. Thanks, Doug! We made the decision to start with young plantings, and let them grow - it saved quite a bit in our budget. Our landscape architect told us that our garden would look much better in 2-3 years!

  4. Blue hydrangeas are my very favourite flower. They're not too common around here - I've had one plant for about 5 years, and bought 2 Tellers Blue hydrangeas last summer. They're all budding leaves, but I'm worried that they won't have flowers this summer. We had a super-warm week in March, and then it got cold again and I think that may have effected the production of blooms. We shall see....

    I add aluminium sulphate to the soil to make the blooms blue. I actually usually end up with a range of colours on one plant from blue to purple to pinky-purple.

    Enjoy your hydrangeas this summer :-)


  5. Happy to see happy hydrangea in your backyard. Blue is the favorite at our house. Bought some "turns hydrangeas blue" fertilizer. We'll see. I'm blogging our 2 new hydrangea "pups."

  6. http://media-cache3.pinterest.com/upload/215187688415628257_EOdNwTfj_f.jpg

    I found this image on pinterest a while back and thought I'd share. Pretty amazing if you ask me.

  7. Hydrangeas are one of my very favorites Holly; and yes especially the blue/lavender shades!!
    Wonderful images!!

    Thought you would enjoy...Interview with Leslie of Segreto Finishes and her fabulous Book Giveaway!

    Art by Karena

  8. Hi Holly..funny I was thinking of you the other day...hope alls well and that you are setttling into your home. Your yard is gorgeous! I am with you on the hydrangea bandwagon, especially white. Though I love them in all colors I find white to be particularly gorgeous. And they are really like the gift that keeps on giving, with so many blooms all summer long and they double in size summer to summer. As we are working on our landscape plan, I have specified plenty of them myself. Take care!

  9. I share your hydrangea love! I have a row of annabelle's and a few other types scattered about my yard. Gorgeous.

  10. Your photos are gorgeous. I love hydrangeas. They are one of my faves. I can't wait for mine to bloom. At Cape Cod there is a house called Hydrangea Walk. They have an expansive front lawn with a brick walk that extends the width of the lawn and blue hydrangeas adore both sides of the entire length of the walkway - it's breathtaking! xo

  11. Well - I absolutely ADORED Hydrangeas before, but this collection of images has absolutely blown my mind!!! A wonderful, inspiring and truly fabulous post!
    With best wishes and much admiration from England,
    Paula x

  12. Maurie@GraciousInteriors.blogspot.comMay 22, 2012 at 8:23 AM

    Nice to see a blog from you. I love the clean lines and geometrics in your garden softened by the hydrangeas! Spying your garden bench in the photo, reminded me of all you have taught me! Thank you!

  13. I am so glad that hydrangeas have bloomed. Mine are slowly, but surely getting there.

  14. I am impressed that so many of the beautiful pictures in this post were taken with an iphone!!!! Great post, enjoyed it.

  15. I love hydrangeas. Such a visual feast here.

  16. Hydrangeas are beautiful and there are so many around Atlanta! On the corner of Pinetree and North Hills in Garden Hills, there is the most beautiful deep purple hydrangea....if you are in the area, you should search it out...gorgeous!

  17. Danielle RollinsMay 22, 2012 at 10:01 AM

    Thank you for the kind words, posting the photos of my favorite quiet spot and awesome book mention! I truly appreciate (and yes I did take that photo with my iphone while 3 dogs were jumping all over me! Apple should be quite proud!) Danielle Rollins

  18. Our Oakleaf hydrangeo are absolutely spectacular this year...around the lakeview side of the deck. I planted 22 bushes around the barn/garage and they will be prolific! This is really a flower for "all seasons" with (my variety) green, pink, blue and finally deep red. franki

  19. Wow, what a beautiful post, I adore hydrangeas! LOVE the drama of the blue in the tall vases! Thanks for sharing.

  20. This is such a gorgeous post - thanks for sharing! Your backyard looks amazing!

  21. This is indeed a good year for them. Ours are flourishing for the first time in several years and I'm delighted.
    Ours are Mopheads and Oakleaf, with a few Lacecaps thrown in the mix for good measure. But I do have Annabelle's in a couple of huge old stone pots on the back porch. With these, I cut them down to about five inches in Febrary, something you cannot do with the others. This gives me basketball size blooms in June and they are divine for drying.

    Happy Spring!

  22. I'm so with you 100%.. Nothing is prettier in my opinion.. I love all colors and breeds!
    What a beautiful post.. thanks for putting it together.. I love the older post on hydrangeas as well!

  23. When I stepped into the showroom, I felt like I was in Provence.

    The scent of lavender and the sound of running water from the antique limestone fountain along with the incredible selection of French garden antiques were really impressive. If you are looking for very large garden ornaments, French planters, etc. this is the showroom to visit. A total of 15,000 square feet of the most incredible French garden antiques, French limestone fountains, fireplace mantels and the most selective collection of planters from France with immediate availability. Each piece feels real, the atmosphere is so calming and rural. A true and unique gem to be found in West Palm Authentic Provence will awaken all your senses with its most complete and genuine collection of the most distinctive French garden antiques and home décor the Mediterranean has to offer, carefully chosen by its owner an appassionato European art historian.

    Authentic Provence reflects an intimate portrait of (the south of) France where the outdoor living is saturated with the most refined yet simple garden antiques (savoir faire). Visit www.authenticprovence.com for more information.

    Beach! Their website is www.authenticprovence.com

  24. We must be dreaming and posting in hydrangea's I did a post as well. We live to see these blooms don't we? They are gorgeous in your garden and you've selected so many other lively ones as well which mean they are loved and grown in many places. Mine are beginning to "pop" as well. Lovely post.

  25. g l o r i o u s post...... and i feed mine and thy turn into jack and the beanstalk... your garden is lovely...xx

  26. Hi Holly - Your garden is so elegant....just like you and your blog ;-) Very European!! My Annabelles suffer so much from the sun. This will be their third year...will see how they do. Please let me know when you are next here visiting Heather....will have you over for a garden tour. And, thanks for the shout-out re: my pinterest board. Cheers! Loi

  27. I wrote a post on the Rollin's home in Burckhead. Such a stunning home.
    Holly, these images are amazing. Is there anything more beautiful than hydrangeas? I think not. I love to make arrangements from them, especially the white.
    Happy Wednesday.

  28. Lovely blooms! I love the blue ones.

  29. So funny... I moved to CT after having grown up in the midwest. I thought that hydrangeas were a New England flower since I didn't remember them from my teenage years in St. Louis!

  30. FYI Habersham Gardens is having a hydrangea talk on Saturday.

  31. I love hydrangeas, especially when they turn that pretty green color...don't know which variety that is or what the soils ph must be. I have the blue variety now and sometimes late in the season they will turn green. They are going nuts this season, I am wondering if it's because we didn't have a freeze and they were not able to be cut back?
    Been thinking of you lately....hope all is well and you are off to a grand summer!

  32. We have hydrangeas in the yard of our new home. We have a blue and a white one on each side of the front porch. Love them! I was wondering if you would mind sharing your exterior paint colors? We are going to be renovating soon and I think I'm leaning towards a white and cream exterior. I did some searches of your blog and could not find a post. If you have already shared them, please point me in the right direction. Thank you!

  33. I so love hydrangeas and am keeping an eye on mine.....probably another month before they are in full bloom. I love your white and green landscaping....simply gorgeous.

    Thanks for the heads up on Danielle's book...sounds right up my alley. Will definitely pre order it. Having just met and chatted with Dara Caponigro, EIC of Veranda, this is especially timely!!!

    Have a wonderful MDW!
    xoxo Elizabeth

  34. Amazing photos..hydrangeas are so old fashioned

  35. Hydrangeas are by far my favorite addition to a garden! I love all varieties and all the colors they are available in. I am currently restoring a property built in the late 1780's and will definitely incorporate several varieties in the final landscaping plan. Great inspirational images!

  36. I love your garden! Those blue and white hydrangeas are indeed very pretty.

  37. So pretty. One of my favorite things about Atlanta. Your hydrangeas are going to be just bursting in a few years! Greta roundup of images.

  38. Blue hydrangeas will go pink during extreme drought, even with irrigation, due to aluminum uptake.

    Your Anna Belles should take 3 years to fabulous with good soil prep. Here, it includes granite grit.

    Great, collection of curated pics. Did you go on the Hydrangea Society tour yesterday?

    Don't use mopheads too often in designs anymore, water issues. I will put them in pots near a back door. Instead I use, oak leaf, anna belle, pee gee, tardiva.

    Hydrangeas do great in pots here all year. Love the drive lined with pots of hydrangea, one for the memory bank !

    Garden & Be Well, XO Tara

  39. Painted brick on houses, brick on paths, rail fencing and hydrangeas....what could be more beautiful?

  40. Hydrangeas are my absolute favorite flower! Like you, being from Georgia, seeing hydrangeas in bloom instantly makes me smile! Your yard is absolutely gorgeous and bravo on your arrangements! My favorite mix of hydrangeas are the pretty blue and purple ones. I recently saw them used as the flowers in a wedding and I thought it was perfect!

  41. TONS of hydrangea here in Connecticut!! Mine look like they're on steroids this year!! Your landscaping is looking lovely and loved the little neighborhood tour!!


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