OLDIES BUT GOODIES
While we admire a new generation of hydrangea, it is important to recognise the named hydrangea varieties that have been around for decades. These have been hard to source, as hydrangeas were usually not sold by name. They were often handed down from gardener to gardener as they grow easily from cuttings. Indeed, hardwood cuttings taken in winter are almost foolproof for anyone wanting to grow hydrangeas.
Don Schofield of Mount Tomah in New South Wales holds the National Hydrangea Collection in Australia. Many heritage varieties in his collection were acquired from the late Joan Arnold, a nurserywoman and plant collector who owned Buskers End in the Southern Highlands, New South Wales. Don’s collection includes some varieties that are no longer found outside Australia.
One gardener who grows many named hydrangea varieties is Peta Trahar of Woodgreen, a cool-climate garden in Bilpin in the Blue Mountains. Peta’s recommendations for eye-catching, old-fashioned hydrangeas are ‘Prince Henry’ (above right), with ragged-edged lime-green and blue flowers, and ‘Green Mantle’ (right), with star-shaped green and mottled blue mophead flowers. Also commonly seen in older gardens, says Peta, is a variety called ‘Ayesha’, which has clusters of small, round blue and white flowers. Woodgreen is open by appointment for special interest garden and horticultural groups. For more details, visit petatraharnursery.com.au or you can follow Town and Country Gardens on Facebook.