The Teddington Gardener

Early Hydrangeas at RHS Wisley – a tour through the meandering paths on Battleston Hill

If you go down to the woods today, there are a lot of Hydrangeas to see – the collection at RHS Wisley is excellent although many fine specimens have either lost their name plates entirely, or these are so overgrown by the verdant foliage as to be lost all the same. These I have not photographed for fear of frustrating you, dear reader, as much as I.

But if you want to find a hydrangea for your plot, then you could do worse than come down to the woods around Battleston Hill and see what takes your fancy. It is a little early in the season for many of the paniculatas (those with the cone-shaped heads) and many of these will delight you further by progressing in colour from/to creamy-white and lime green – and heading further into cherry-reds, cranberry and raspberry as the season goes on.

The Hydrangea plantation within The Savill Garden at Windsor Great Park is another good place to research a wide variety of specimens that are coming into maturity now – a valley floor was planted up maybe five years ago now – more? – and specimens there are getting up to full size. Again a little homework to ensure you are not introducing a plant into your garden that really is going to be too big for the space (even with judicious pruning) – and some of them can be huge…

Hydrangeas are coming back into fashion, happily, and there is such a diversity of colour and form that there should be one suitable for your garden – bearing in mind shade from the midday sun is a prerequisite really, with moisture-retentive soil and a decent water supply. Enjoy!

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