Cho­sen by plant hunter

The Daily Telegraph - Saturday - - DAYS OUT -

The hum­ble oak-leaved hy­drangea is of­ten un­der­ap­pre­ci­ated, but un­fairly so – this easy-togrow group of­fers va­ri­ety and in­ter­est for all ar­eas of the gar­den.

Graced with enor­mous pointed flow­ers, it’s ideal for pro­vid­ing height and drama, pro­duc­ing the most stun­ning au­tum­nal dis­plays that vary from white to ruby red and the darkest pur­ple.

The large pan­i­cles are sup­ported by strong, woody stems that should be pruned im­me­di­ately af­ter flow­er­ing.

Oak-leaved hydrangeas thrive in fer­tile, moist soil in semi-shade, and there­fore love clay soil sub­strates.

Hardy to -20C.

An­other AGM-win­ning, late-flow­er­ing beauty, ‘Snowflake’ bursts with fat, ta­per­ing pan­i­cles of white, cream, green and pink from July to early Oc­to­ber. The flo­rets are dou­bled, adding def­i­ni­tion and in­ter­est to an au­tumn bou­quet. As a larger shrub, it is ideal for bulk­ing out the cen­tre of a bor­der with its de­cid­u­ous, boldly lobed fo­liage. Tol­er­ant of sun­nier lo­ca­tions. Height and spread 8ft (2.5m).

Bred and in­tro­duced by Wil­liam Flem­mer III in 1979, ‘Snow Queen’ is an up­right, mound­ing shrub. Flow­er­ing from July to Septem­ber, and de­servedly AGM-win­ning for its vig­or­ous na­ture, ‘Snow Queen’ fea­tures ex­u­ber­ant, bi­coloured, 1ft (30cm)-long pan­i­cles in green and white. Also ad­mired for its re­li­a­bil­ity and well-coloured, ro­bust, deeply lobed leaves. Height and spread 6ft 6in (2m).

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