Tuesday, 7 September 2010

ABC Wednesday - Hydrangea

The white Hydrangea Paniculata 'Phantom'
Today I am going to take you on a Hydrangea Promenade.  A sedate walk and not going into hyper-drive.  What happens when a hydrangea growing enthusiastic talks to a local mayor?  Three kilometres of them by the side of the Lac au Duc in Ploermel, France. Officially opened in the year 2000 the Hortensia Promenade takes in  510 varieties and 4-5000 plants blooming from July to September. The plant originally grew in South East Asia but in the years of the great plant hunters it was brought into Europe and named after a women called Hortensia, lover or friend I am not sure. 
Although the colour range is limited gardeners have introduced subtle changes to shades and shapes to give a diversity of harmonious hues. Here are two pretty lace-cap flowers.
Same theme different result.
 Colours of Hydrangeas are affected by the soil. Acidic soils produce blue flowers.
Neutral soils produce pale cream petals but the white of this one
contrasts with the creamy colour of this one.
Helpfully all the bushes were named on the little wooden sticks, unhelpfully I was too engrossed in a mad camera clicking spree to engage any memory cells.    
However this one had a memorable name 'Pinky Winky' (Hydrangea Paniculata), and to conclude my soil condition list,  alkaline produces pink flowers.
Hydrangea Macrophylla 'Pirouette' with its speckled colouring.  Macrophylla as you can see have showy flower-heads.

I always like to look up flowers meanings in my Victorian Floriography, discovering that it would not have been a hopeful sign to receive any of these flowers and your relationship may have hit a rocky patch.  Hortensia's meaning "you are cold", and Hydrangea's meaning "A boaster. Heartlessness".

I'm no gardener so wondered if the two names were interchangeable but I think that the

common Hydrangea Macraphylla and its mop head flowers are known as Hortensias and the Hydrangea Paniculata are - well, Hydrangeas.  Always useful to know which message is being sent in flowers.

Hop over to ABC Wednesday to see many more words all beginning with the letter H.


Cheryl said...

Thank you so much for the tour. I love both types of flowers. I had no idea the color variation had so much to do with the soil. Explains why ours are blue and why the pink one wants to change to a more purply color than it was when I first planted it.

Cozy stop along the H journey today.

Gramma Ann said...

What a fun and informative post. I cannot get them to grow in my flower garden. After a few years they finally died out. However, some of them smell so good.

Tumblewords: said...

I know nothing about flowers except that these are gorgeous. Your photography skills are excellent and the photos make me very happy!

Sylvia K said...

Gorgeous flowers and superb captures, Joy! I love the blue hydrangeas! I had a picture of one today, too! Really informative post! Always love it when I learn something new! Hope your week is going well!


Vernz said...

I really love these blooms, sadly we don't have quite an ample space at home for this to grow.. love that lovely girl in bike..

Hope you can drop by
My ABC Wednesday post here

BTW, I’m inviting you to just comment and win a nice hoop earring at
Woman’s Elan Vital Thank You.

Rajesh said...

Wonderful place to play around in the middle of such beautiful flowers.

Leslie: said...

Love hydrangeas, especially the ones that have a different colour from pale blue.

Wanda said...

Oh my goodness....what beautiful hydrangeas. When my daughter married several years ago, her wedding bouquet was one huge blue hydrangea. It was so lovely.

RuneE said...

Wonderful flowers, and so was the little girl.

Roger Owen Green said...

beautiful and informative

ROG, ABC Wednesday team

Nanka said...

Beautiful snaps of these flowers. I love the cream and blue ones. So delicate!!

jabblog said...

I really like hydrangeas - never knew some were Hortensias! Now I have learned that we have Hortensias and Hydrangeas in our garden, though they could never compete with the flowers you saw - so many, so beautiful!

photowannabe said...

Love the story line for these flowers. I had no idea they had such a downer meaning. My poor hydrangea isn't too healthy. Its been too hot and its developed a very sad look.

Wendy said...

absolutely beautiful! We used to have a plant when I was little and my mother told me to bury a rusted nail near the roots for the flowers to turn blue and they did! I love the old fashioned meaning of flowers too, and there's a wonderful book you can purchase on Amazon, called "Shakespeare's Flowers" with all the old fashioned meanings and how he used them in his works. I don't think the hydrangeas are in there. Also, the root "Hydra" means "three-headed" like the Hydra in Greek Mythology. Thank you for the lovely tour.

Paula Scott said...

My, gosh! Those are monstrously huge hydrangeas! But, beautiful too. They go with the other post on hyacinths.

Cezar and Léia said...

Such a lovely little girl and this flower is magnificent!
Thanks so much for your kind comments!

Anonymous said...

Hydrangeas have always fascinated me with their ability to change color depending on the soil. Have never tried to grow any...probably too afraid I'll kill them. I especially like the photo of the little girl on her training-wheeled bike juxtaposed with the line, "A sedate walk and not going into hyper-drive." Perfect.

Elizabeth Stanforth-Sharpe said...

Joy, this is brilliant how you've linked all this together and I never knew that was how hydrangeas got their name. Oddly, I just posted my own post about them, last Sunday - not as informative as yours 'though! x