Hydrangeas – Nature’s Gift to Cape Cod

Blue Big Leaf Hydrangeas along a Harwichport Road

It’s not that Patti Page got it wrong.  Visitors to Cape Cod will still find sand dunes and salty air, quaint little villages here and there, it’s just that Patti didn’t sing about  one really important Cape icon  -big, showy, blooming  hydrangeas!
“Indeed, the blue hydrangea (hydrangea macrophylla or big leaf hydrangea) is one of the signature shrubs of a Cape Cod Garden,” according to Roberta Clark in her “Growing Hydrangeas” fact sheet from  the UMASS Extension Program. 
Blue Lacecap hydrangeasWhy?  Cape weather – misty – and the soil – sandy – give the shrub the one-two boost that makes it so beautiful and demanding of attention.   And the colors!  Blue to purple to white and pink to deep red. 
Those colors are heighted by the aluminum in the soil.  The more aluminum, the deeper the blue.  The lack of aluminum, the more pink the blossoms.  WhiteWhite Hydrangeas hydrangeas remain white, regardless of the soil content.  Pink and Blue Hydrangeas along a white picket fence

For city dwellers, hydrangeas work best in containers.  That’s the best way to moderate soil and water content.   To learn more about hydrangeas, click on the link below
 http://www.umassgreeninfo.org/fact_sheets/plant_culture/growing_hydrangeas_06.pdf

Hydrangeas for American Gardens by Michael Dirror borrow or purchase
 “Hydrangeas for American Gardens”
by Michael A. Dirr. 
This is an excellent reference book
published by Timber Press.

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