Late-morning Lace-cap


The lace-cap hydrangea. If you think that the traditional hydrangea is overbearing and obnoxious (or even loathsome), this variety offers a subtler approach to flower presentation, delicately throwing out a few limited umbrels of “petals” that surround the true blooms. Like many people, I didn’t cotton to these in the beginning, more easily impressed with the hybridizers’ monstrosities, but as my taste has matured I find myself more enchanted with these blooms than the bolder flower heads of the flashier versions.

The plant has an airier feel to it as well – a little looser, less dense - that lifts the garden during what can be an oppressive time of overcrowding. This year I’ve come to appreciate the space between plants, something that most gardeners strive to fill as quickly as possible. That space, however, becomes integral as leaves fill in on their own and branches crowd together leaving little breathing room. In rainy seasons like the one we’ve had, circulation is of paramount importance, particularly around plants susceptible to mildew or fungal issues. Luckily, the hydrangeas don’t suffer from that, so for them it’s more a question of aesthetic value: the juxtaposition of the bold green leaves and these airy blossoms against a rich groundcover of bark mulch is a gorgeous combination.

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