It was a dry spring, but based on the weather pattern we’re in now it won’t be a dry summer. That’s fine with me since I hate watering, but others with different summer plans will disagree. I took advantage of a break in the rain today and finally cut the grass. Pretty much everything is lush and thick due to the extra water and the hydrangeas are no exception.
I grow “Annabelle” in a couple places around the yard but here at the edge of the orchard is the plant that seems happiest.
I think this plant came from a small shoot I felt bad for and stuck into the ground while planting daffodils. It does well amongst the weeds and always puts on a great show with these volleyball sized bloom clusters. “Annabelle” is one of the arborescens type hydrangeas. Hydrangea arborescens is the species and it’s a different species than the less hardy florist hydrangeas (the blue/pink or purple ones), oakleaf hydrangeas, and the late summer h. paniculata (the big white or pinkish late summer bloomers). They’re native around here and are commonly found along creeks and streams, just in a little more modest bloom form. “Invincibelle spirit” (pink) and “incrediball” are also arborescens types that have recently come out, but the first has a pink color that I’m not crazy over and the second just hasn’t found its way into my garden yet (it’s supposed to be less floppy). Arborescens hydrangeas are easy and reliable bloomers. I cut mine back completely in the spring and that’s about all I do and still get a great show. Water is about the only thing they might ask for. Mine are in full sun and in years of less regular rain the plants wilt, die back, and the blooms get crispy edges due to my neglect.
“Annabelle” has been around for a while. She was found back in 1910 in the wilds outside of Anna Illinois by Harriet Kirkpatrick, and it was her and her sister Amy that brought the original plant into their garden. After decades of passing along from gardener to gardener “Annabelle” hit the big time in 1962 when she was introduced to the nursery trade. She’s still a great garden plant. This is a larger clump that slowly spreads a bit each year via short runners. If I had a big yard with a little shade I think I’d have to spread these out to fill in a huge swath of white.