Saturday, August 15, 2015


Nice summer weather for August. Hot, but not too hot, sunny but with a breeze, and nights are chilly.

Hydrangea 'Preziosa' is a smaller, rounded hydrangea that is sometimes listed as a mophead, sometimes as H. serrata, and it is marginally hardy here. The blooms turn wine red in summer and fall. This is what they look like in autumn:
I took this at Whiteflower Farm in October.

I planted a 'Preziosa' in my garden in 2010 and it promptly failed. It just did not thrive in an open spot in the Birch Garden. So I dug it up, and in the process it kind of fell apart, so I had two woody clumps of roots and some stems. I planted the two pieces in separate spots where I thought they might do better, but they both struggled.

I moved them again in 2012. One to Meadow's Edge in the deep shade of the maple. The other was moved to the patio wall under the river birch. By this time I was verging on plant abuse.

Finally, this summer, five years later, and after two harsh winters, one of the two 'Preziosa' shrubs is really looking good. Really good.

The other, sited under the maple tree, is not doing as well. It has plenty of shade, but the competition with the maple's roots is too much, and it spends all summer looking helplessly limp.

But the one by the patio wall is starting to look like a gardener's inspiration. I can see it up close, of course, and that's key to appreciating how the flowers change from lavender blue to deep rose, with both new and older blossoms on the shrub together.

It is a nice shape and size to go under the river birch and it complements the bright Blackeyed susans and a cool-toned zenobia nearby.

I really like the combination of colors and forms here. It works well.

I'll be eager to see how 'Preziosa' looks in the fall, when all the flowers are deep red. It will be a while before my shrub is covered in blooms the way the mature one I saw at Whiteflower Farm was, but after five years of abuse and struggle, I am surprised at how this little hydrangea is coming along.


  1. Laurrie, I was just reading about this Hydrangea in a Christopher Lloyd book this morning, and now here it is! Spooky. I doubt I could grow it at all, but I had to laugh at your tenacity in moving it so many times. I so identify with that.Never give up, never surrender! And you were rewarded. It looks great and I also love the trunk of that river birch.

    1. Lyn, glad to hear from you! I do move my plants around -- we all do -- but this poor hydrangea really was disrupted a lot.