The last day of August - can you believe it? - and the last few mornings have felt autumnal. The changing light, darkness falling earlier, and that slight crispness in the mornings gang up to remind us that it's only about nine weeks until first freeze.
Now is when I love hydrangeas most (well, I always love them, but maybe appreciate them most....) for their blossoms ripen in color and texture as summer winds down. I have two new hydrangeas in containers this summer, both of which are already reflecting the changes in light and temperature.
The blue/purple mophead 'Marechal Foch' is a stunner. It's fat flowerheads belie the fact (and I hope this proves true) that it's a medium-sized shrub well suited to container culture. So far, so good. Already its stunningly blue florets are turning slightly leathery, and I look forward to it mellowing to shades of green and plum. I'm growing it in a big gold pot, in the shade of the patio close to the house.
I'm a sucker for paniculatas, and 'Little Lime' is my first dwarf hydrangea. The flowers are so perfect to cut for flower arrangements, for their tidy little cone shape is unusual, and the flowers are constantly morphing in color. The blossoms come on ivory, mellow to chartreuse, and are already tinged in rose, soon to darken (I hope) to shades of lavender and plum. The foliage is supposed to be as colorful in autumn as an oakleaf's and I'm anticipating red and purple leaves to show off the flower color. 'Little Lime' grows only 3-5 feet wide and high, so I planted it in a big orange pot with fancy-leafed geraniums and the darkest ajuga I could find to fluff out beneath its leaves.