Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Hydrangea arborescens 'Annabelle' in a garden setting


I cringe every time I hear someone say that if you have only native plants in your garden, you won't have a problem.  This is usually said by a non-gardener.  You're looking at yet another planting at 95 year old Margaret Moseley's wonderful garden.  This is 'Annabelle', a popular selection of the native arborescens hydrangea.  I used to have tons of the straight species in my woods.  Now, there is only one plant clinging to the side of the hill in front of my house.  All the rest have been chomped down by the deer, which have come here in recent years and make nightly (and daily, too) criss-crossings of my property.  They adore the Annabelles, as well as the paniculatas, and I have a time keeping any blooms or foliage on either.

But, if you don't have a deer problem, this is a beautiful hydrangea that looks great in a mixed planting with ferns and hostas and boxwoods and just about any variegated plant (there's a newer selection called 'Incrediball' which has even larger flowers).  

What you can't see in this photograph is a mass planting of Kalimeris pinnatifida, also known as the Elizabeth Lawrence aster, with tiny white flowers that look great at the base of the Annabelles on a different side.  What you can see is a rogue red bloom of Alstroemeria pulchella.  I persuaded Margaret to get this plant to go with her Begonia grandis.  Both are red and green.  She is furious with me for the suggestion, as the alstroemeria, which flowers in June, is in just about every bed in her garden.  She can't get rid of it.  For my part, I love having the red and green flowers to cut, but the deer always beat me to them.