A Lightly Fragrant, Fresh-Cut Beauty for the Late Summer Vase, Limelight Hydrangea Blossoms also Dry Beautifully (Perfect for Autumn Arrangements & Winter Wreaths)
Some garden divas strut their stuff early in the season; stopping us in our tracks with outrageous June displays. Yes, the perfumed Peonies and romantic Roses make an unforgettable, early impression. But as every party-hopping bombshell knows, there’s a distinct advantage to the well-timed, late arrival. By mid-August, even the most star-studded garden parties can look a little tired. Somewhere in the middle of the dog days, all of the ephemeral, ingenues mysteriously disappear and the colorful garden conversations begin to fade. But wait —before you retrieve your party platter and bid the hostess adieu— out of nowhere, those gorgeous Hydrangeas slip through the back door to strike a pose. It may be late, but suddenly this Hydrangea paniculata has the stage all to herself, and she certainly knows how to sparkle in the Limelight…
Hardy in USDA zones 3/4 – 8/9, H. paniculata ‘Limelight’ can reach a mature size of approximately 6-8′ tall and wide. Far more heat and drought tolerant than her cousins —particularly the thirsty H. macrophylla clan— this delightful shrub does best in full to partial sun and average garden soil. Because H. paniculata ‘Limelight’ blooms on new wood, I like to prune it back hard in early spring to keep the plant looking tidy and to encourage abundant, large flowers (I take down about 1/3 of the shrub, shaping as I go). In late July or early August —when so many plants wilt and fade in the humid air— newly emerging Limelight blossoms cool the garden with citrus-hued refreshment. Later on in the season —as temperatures drop and nightly frosts settle into the garden— Limelight responds to Jack’s kiss with a charming blush. Gorgeous! But the wonderful color transition doesn’t stop there either. As autumn waltzes toward winter, the over-sized blooms shift from honey-drizzled cherry to sugar-coated caramel; continuing straight through early snows until they take to the winter wind as rice-colored crisps!
I’ve featured this favorite late-summer to late-autumn garden beauty here before. To read more about Limelight —a Proven Winners introduction— and some of her gorgeous garden companions, click back to my previous post here. Of course, my favorite part of growing hydrangea is cutting and sharing the blooms. Fresh or dried, Limelight Hydrangea blossoms are beautiful additions to flower arrangements.
Hydrangeas are so Lovely, I Can Never Resist Cutting Bouquets to Share with Friends (Sprigs of Eucalyptus cinerea & Hydrangea paniculata ‘Limelight’ with Early Autumn Blush)
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