Hy­drangeas great for yards in South

Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette - - STYLE - NANCY BRACHEY

Hy­drangeas are one of the stars of sum­mer land­scapes. They’re so easy to grow, so de­pend­able and so beau­ti­ful. Mod­ern hy­drangeas such as End­less Sum­mer and Blush­ing Bride gained great at­ten­tion in re­cent years and their pop­u­lar­ity is well earned.

But they are not the only great choices among hy­drangeas in to­day’s mar­ket­place.

Oth­ers also will grab at­ten­tion with their showy flow­ers, some of which are dis­tinctly dif­fer­ent from the gar­den hy­drangeas we of­ten call mop­heads for their globe-shaped blooms that be­gin to ap­pear in late spring and early sum­mer.

They are dif­fer­ent and de­light­ful. While many ex­ist, here are just three of the best for a partly shady land­scape.

Aak-leaf hydrangea is a de­cid­u­ous, large shrub that re­ally de­serves to be called mag­nif­i­cent. De­pend­ing on the va­ri­ety, they may be short, 4 to 5 feet tall, or a more ma­jes­tic 12 feet. The flow­ers are cone­shaped and creamy white, some­times turn­ing a soft pinky pur­ple as they age later in sum­mer.

The blooms typ­i­cally emerge in May and re­main at their peak for sev­eral weeks. But even af­ter that, many kinds of oak-leafs turn a soft pinky pur­ple as they age through the sum­mer. An­other as­set is the fall fo­liage, which is a rich bur­gundy red and a great accompaniment to other fall col­ors.

Lime­light has re­ally grabbed my at­ten­tion in the last few years for its great per­for­mance in hot weather. An­other tall de­cid­u­ous shrub, Lime­light grows 8 to 10 feet tall, bear­ing flow­ers from early to late sum­mer. The abun­dant flow­ers have a bit of pale green early on, but then are mostly white.

Lime­light does a good job of keep­ing the sea­son go­ing af­ter the oak-leaf and mop-head hy­drangeas are get­ting done. The white color is also lovely in hot-sum­mer weather, mak­ing this a good choice near a pa­tio or deck where peo­ple re­lax in the evening.

Tar­diva blooms even later and can serve to round-off the hydrangea sea­son in late sum­mer and early fall. The de­cid­u­ous shrub rises 10 feet or more and the blooms are el­e­gant, white cones with fo­liage that also turns an in­ter­est­ing bronzy red in the fall. Since the weather is usu­ally still quite hot when Tar­diva blooms, it gets bonus points for the cool­ing ef­fect of its bright white flow­ers.

Th­ese three all bring im­por­tant as­sets of low-main­te­nance, high-per­form­ing shrubs of gen­er­ous size to a land­scape. They make won­der­ful ad­di­tions to a land­scape for sum­mer and fall beauty and do great work to en­hance the hydrangea show in your gar­den. Keep in mind they all take space, so do not try to stuff them into a tight spot.

TNS/Dreamstime

Hy­drangeas are easy to grow, de­pend­able and beau­ti­ful.

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