Hydrangeas in a copper jug.
I USED TO THINK HYDRANGEAS WERE A BIT DAGGY, BUT NOW I THINK THEY ARE BRAVE AND ADORABLE

Who would imagine that dear old hydrangeas would hold up so well during the recent fires and heatwave conditions in the Blue Mountains? The origin of the name seems to contradict the very notion that they would!

First discovered in Japan, the name hydrangea comes from the Greek ‘hydor’, meaning water, and ‘angos’, meaning jar or vessel. This roughly translates to ‘water barrel’, referring to hydrangeas’ need for plenty of water and their cup-shaped flowers.

However, apart from the odd rose they have been the only flowers available for me pick, along with hot-lips salvia. Mine are growing in semi-shade and have a thick, natural mulch of fallen leaves. They haven’t been watered much at all, as we are on restrictions and can only use buckets. My efforts have been concentrated on shallow rooted azaleas.

Hydrangeas and ‘hotlips’ salvia

Bees and butterflies appreciate them too. There is much less nectar available as the garden dries up.

SO DELICATELY SIPPING NECTAR

I really love the photo below, even though it is heartbreaking. Just before Christmas the fire here at Blackheath roared up from the Grose Valley to Perry’s Lookout and Anvil Rock, then ultimately into the Campbell Rhododendron Gardens. There was serious damage, but look at this brave survivor;

Hydrangeas even survived the heat of the bushfire.at Blackheth.
Photo shared from Campbell Rhododendron Gardens

Once the fires subsided and the threat to our own place passed (at least temporarily), I walked up to Blackheath village. In Park Avenue the old-fashioned hydrangea variety pictured below was holding up pretty well in fall sun. There is something comforting about seeing flowers your mother and grandmother grew…..and God knows we need a bit of comfort.

Mind you, the high temperatures have been a nasty shock for us all, including the dear old shrubs. Look at the shock on that quaint little face!

The cut little 'face' that appears in the flowers of hydrangeas.

No wonder it wanted a bit of advice about the future and the changing climate.

Cartoon about  hydrangeas.
HYDRANGEAS ARE AS BEMUSED AS WE ARE

NOTE – Yes, the hydrangeas are doing their best in the circumstances, but when the rain finally comes they will be extremely thankful…… and so will I.

Hydrangeas in the rain.
RAIN, BLESSED RAIN
2 Comments
  1. My earliest memory of hydrangeas is of the one growing in my Grandma’s tiny garden in York – Mum loved them, but we rarely saw them where we lived in a high moorland area. I remember being amazed on one holiday by the blue ones growing by the seaside in Wales – and again, when we moved to Southampton 20 years ago. I now have one in my front garden – flanked on both sides by different varieties growing in my neighbours’ gardens – and they give such pleasure when they’re in bloom. Amazingly hardy – and I wish my Mum could see them.
    I’m so pleased to read that they’re surviving the present conditions where you are, Pauline – God bless you all, and send some rain soon!

    • Pauline

      Hi Ann. I’m a recent convert to hydrangeas. They were considered a bit ‘naff’ for a long time, I think because people grew a solitary bush in an otherwise bare lawn. Now they are in vogue and deservingly appreciated. Still almost no rain here in the Mountains. Hoping it arrives overnight.

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