Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Hydrangeas - up close and personal!

If you're anywhere within striking distance of Atlanta (actually Marietta and Roswell), there's a great tour on Saturday, June 9th, sponsored by the American Hydrangea Society.  This is their 18th annual tour.  They hold it rain or shine, and it looks like it's going to be a beautiful on Saturday - a great day for an excursion.  Gloria Ward, AHS Vice President and head of the tour, says this is a banner year for hydrangeas, and the gardens are not to be missed.

I can't tell you how many great ideas I've gotten by going on these tours.  Last year, I learned I had to have 'Merritt's Supreme', a spectacular mophead hydrangea with beautiful coloring in variations of red and sometimes purple, and a nice habit.  Also, I got to see for the first time the "'Annabelle' on steroids", 'Incrediball' (yes, it was incredibly big).

Year before last, I garnered a lot of ideas from Marsha Yeager's garden.  She had a lovely sunny front garden, and then the back wooded area had been turned over to hydrangeas and a shady walk.  Marsha also had some great container combinations and hostas to die for.

The seven gardens this year are chock full of ideas of how to use various types of hydrangeas in the landscape.  The plants are usually labeled (if not, ask the owner), so if you see one like 'Ayesha', with its huge blooms and curled petals, you can jot it down for your own reference.  Don't forget to bring a camera and notebook!

Here are the particulars:
The seven-garden tour is this Saturday, June 9, 2012, from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.  (Regretfully, the tour is not wheelchair accessible)
Tickets for the tour are $25 for each person and include a one year membership in the American Hydrangea Society and three informative color newsletters mailed to your home.
Family memberships are $40 and include two tour tickets and a year's membership in AHS, plus the newsletters.
Three meetings with informative speakers are held throughout the year at Holy Spirit Catholic Church in Atlanta, at the corner of Northside Drive and Mt. Paran Rd.

Tickets may be purchased in advance at Ashe-Simpson Nursery, Buck Jones & Assoc., Boxwoods, Habersham Gardens, Scottsdale Farms and Wilkerson Mill Gardens.  Check the Web for your nearest location and nursery hours.

On tour day, you may purchase tickets to all gardens at Garden #1:  802 Oakton Pond Ct., NW, Marietta GA 30064;  or at Garden #3:  680 Atlanta Country Club Drive, Marietta GA 30067

The above photograph was taken this year at Harriet Kirkpatrick's Atlanta garden.  Those are 'Annabelle's in the foreground, and that's Harriet in the background.  I'll be posting some photos from this year's gardens soon.