Monday, December 14, 2009

Favorite plant of the day: Hydrangea 'Tardiva'

Frost glitters on 'Tardiva'.
As I was cruising the garden last Monday for the Seventh Day Project (see gallery at top right), I was reminded of how much I like Hydrangea paniculata 'Tardiva'. It's at its showiest in late August/early September when it's in bloom, but I also like it when the blossoms are dried and brown like they are now. The lacy flowers are the color of weak tea and look so fragile that one wonders how they could possibly still be held on the shrub.

This is 'Tardiva' in early September. Notice the flush of pale pink.

This plant has stood the test of time here having been planted a number of years ago. We bought it in a five-gallon pot from Edelweiss Nursery and it has thrived on the north side of the house; it's now 5 feet high, give or take a few inches. The deer have occasionally browsed on it, but because flowers occur on new growth that's not a huge problem. A late winter pruning is recommended anyway.

Fine Gardening has more about the care of 'Tardiva' here.

'Tardiva' catches some afternoon sun in its location on the north side of the house. The flowers glow against the dark conifers; it's underplanted with lingonberry and Johnson's blue geranium. (The geranium probably should be moved now that the hydrangea has grown.)

In December, the stems of 'Tardiva' create a pattern against the house.

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