Published by David Bateman
Hydrangeas are back, big-time, and this book, hard on the heels of their renaissance, is a timely addition to the gardening library.
Renowned Taranaki horticulturalist and gardening writer Glyn Church offers reasons for the new found popularity of this durable favourite. Among them is the emergence of new, hardier H. macrophylla cultivars, the colours now available and the realisation that hydrangeas are a fine source of long-lasting cut flowers. No matter whether it’s macrophyllas, serratas, or the new varieties of paniculatas and quercifolias he’s discussing, Glyn’s knowledge and enthusiasm shines through.
“Hydrangeas have so many winning attributes,” he writes, “it’s hard to imagine an easier group of plants to grow or any other flowering shrubs capable of providing vibrant colour for so long a season.”
There’s lots of practical stuff here, too. The different requirements of various types is spelt out, while factors, including soil conditions and climate, are mulled over. And for those who puzzle over the phenomenon, there’s also detailed explanation on how soil alkalinity and acidity teases out the blues and pinks of H. macrophylla.
Other chapters deal with pruning, pests and propagation, landscaping with hydrangeas, and hydrangeas in and around the house. If you garden in a cooler climate or are hunting for a variety with extra oomph, look to Glyn’s documentation of species and cultivars – you’re bound to find a plant that will flourish in your conditions.
Hydrangeas is the author’s second book on the subject (the first was written in 1999, when hydrangeas were on the cusp of their comeback). The delightful photographs, mostly taken by the author himself, and the lively text – underpinned by Glyn’s hands-on experience at his vibrant Woodleigh nursery – ensure an authoritative, instructive read.
Reproduced with permission from the former Weekend Gardener magazine. The views expressed here are not necessarily those of the RNZIH