A garden is a planned space, usually outdoors, that’s set aside for the cultivation of flowers, fruits, herbs or vegetables. It can be organic, modern or even a horticultural paradise.
Organic gardening practices aim to protect soil and plants by building up natural defenses. They also avoid spraying with synthetic chemicals, favoring instead methods that are less harmful to humans and ecosystems.
Whether planted in containers or in a garden bed, few plants provide a bigger impact than a hydrangea.
Hydrangeas are deciduous shrubs which are covered with leafy foliage in summer and are bare in winter. The genus Hydrangea consists of a large number of different species, so there is plenty of variety.
The different varieties of hydrangeas bring diverse textures, colours and forms to a summer garden.
Gardeners who crave colours from the cool side of the colour wheel, such as pink, purple, white, and blue, will delight in the mix of colour hues that are available – and sometimes multiple colours on a single shrub.
Express.co.uk caught up with Ben McInerney, a gardening and landscape expert and founder at Home Garden Guides, to find out his top three favoured varieties of hydrangeas gardeners should grow.
He said: “First off, let’s set the record straight that all hydrangeas are beautiful and will look great in any garden. But, here are my favourites.”
1. Bigleaf hydrangea (hydrangea macrophylla)
This variety of hydrangea is a favourite of many gardeners. The flowers are generally white, pink or red.
However, with aluminium-based fertilisation and the correct pH value, the bigleaf can become a blue or violet-flowering hydrangea thanks to the natural pigment delphinidin.
Ben said: “This is probably the hydrangea you’re most familiar with and for good reason. This hydrangea is known for its bold, large blooms of blue, pink, purple, and white (depending on soil acidity).”
The expert noted that while these hydrangeas are “easy to grow, ” they require sunlight, so make sure it is planted somewhere it is sure to get a lot of sun exposure.”
2. Panicle hydrangea (hydrangea paniculata)
As the name suggests, hydrangea paniculata form panicles, which are long, branched inflorescences.
This species is much more petite, and heavily branched than other varieties, and displays white-cream flowers.
Depending on the variety, these blossoms may change to pink or intense red. Ben noted: “These hydrangeas have less of a full bloom than bigleaf hydrangeas, but make up for it with their unique cone shape.
“These hydrangeas are also very sturdy and can grow in most conditions. You can find these in white, cream, and pink.”
3. Smooth hydrangea (hydrangea arborescens)
Gardeners will be hard-pressed to ignore a smooth hydrangea in their garden. These beautiful, robust shrubs form many enormous, round inflorescences.
The flowers are so large that this North American species tends to droop under their weight. But have no fear as gardeners can remedy this with support.
Its most well-known variety ‘Annabelle’, produces full white blooms and the plant is “adaptable and can thrive in various soil conditions”.