Today I am excited to present to you a hydrangea that I feel has gotten very little exposure since it's introduction in 1961. I first saw this beauty in a gardening magazine about 10 years ago that featured an article on Heronswood Nursery and I fell in love!!! I realize that the general public likes the big showy mophead varieties (the mentality of seeing something shiny I suppose...lol) but this particular hydrangea gives you a multitude of visual interests throughout the growing season.
First, it is a serrata which is also commonly called a Sawtooth type of hydrangea. It is on the small size growing 3~4 ft. in height with the same width. It's blooms, as you can see in the picture are a mophead style but much smaller. They begin white, pale green, pink or lavender and mature through the season to an intense mauve and mottled with a darker burgundy color. What more can you ask for in interest? I will tell you. The leaves which have a toothed edge emerge tinted with purple. As they mature they change to green and then back to red and purple hues in the fall. Wait! There is more! The stems vary from green with a maroon tint to dark maroon color. I think this hydrangea is at it's peak of beauty in the early fall when these colors seem to be intensified with the other colors of nature surrounding them.
This beautiful slice of gardening heaven is hardy to zone 5a to 8a. In the zone 5 area it is a good idea to protect it from winter conditions ie: wind, too much snow or not enough, and heaving caused by thawing and freezing. Simply use burlap to surround the plant and fill in with a loose leaf mulch. Please give it a protected afternoon shady position in your garden with an acidic soil content. This hydrangea blooms in midsummer on old wood so do not prune it except for removing spent flowers and weak or winter damaged stems in early spring. It also has no serious insect or disease problems. Believe me, you will NEVER regret having this beauty in your garden :) Happy gardening!!