Oakleaf hydrangeas in bloom in a Toronto shade gardenIt's late August now in Toronto and things seem to on hold in the garden. Temperatures, humidity and mosquitoes have mercifully dropped to more humane levels for working outside. My clients S. and D. often have a coffee while enjoying views like this one in their backyard. This oakleaf hydrangea (Hydrangea quercifolia) has annually confounded me and S. due to its reluctance to bloom on new or old wood. We accepted with chagrin that the shrub would provide a fine fall show of deeply lobed plum/wine/russet-coloured leaves and interesting winter peeling bark, which it did unfailingly. Maybe it took a terrible spring (remember the rain/snow/sleet in April?) and that torrid week of plus 40 humidex to spur this fellow to bloom.
|Varying texture and form with hostas and oakleaf hydrangeas|
We are simply enjoying the heavy cone-shaped panicles and the contrast between the shrub's leaves with those of the in-your-face "Sum and Substance" hosta. The paper birch in the back doesn't hurt the composition either.
This shot was taken two weeks ago and when I returned yesterday, the blooms already faded to tan and brown. The large sterile cream-coloured sepals have a light pink blush while the inconsipicuous fertile flowers are set in the background. We'll probably leave them on over winter for further interest. The snow should clump on them nicely.
|Oakleaf hydrangea detail of flowers|