Wednesday, June 9, 2010

In the Pink

Last fall, we began the process of turning the area underneath our pecan tree into a large shade garden.  The first step, and the only one we've completed to date, was to put in a mixed beds of hydrangeas, helebores, hostas, and the like, around our Tiki Hut. 

I propagated most of the hydrangeas we planted from ones I came across in my travels through cemeteries in the last year or two.  They went into the ground last fall as leafless twigs, and they're developing nicely so far this year.  The way they are blooming now speaks volumes about our soil here on the 'farm'.

They're PINK!  The flowers on this type of hydrangea are blue in acid soil and pink in alkaline.  I have never seen a hydrangea bloom pink in the garden of any of our former houses, nor in the gardens of friends.  The flowers on the plants the cuttings came from were blue-blue-blue, and now they're pink because of the soil pH in this spot.

I tested my soil before we planted anything on this property, expecting to have to amend heavily and lime to counteract the acid soil I am accustomed to in this part of the country.  To my surprise, I haven't found a pH reading below 6.0 anywhere on this property.  The pH beside these hydrangeas is 6.2!  High enough to turn them from their usual Virginia blue to a lovely shade of pink.

There are three other types of hydrangeas planted in these beds ... they all have white flowers.


'Tokyo Delight' Lace Cap.

and Tardiva, which isn't blooming right now.

Our goal with these beds is to create a lush, tropical atmosphere.  Within a couple of years, the hydrangeas will get tall, the hostas will spread out, and the helebores should multiply and form little colonies. 

It's hard to tell from these photos that the beds are 6-feet deep.  Looking at it now, I can see that I'm going to have to enlarge them.  That's okay, we have lots of space ... it's the time that's going to be hard to manage.

(written by Hartwood Roses.  Hartwood Roses blog.)


  1. I think I need to come plant ME in your soil. Perhaps I can change from blue, to pink.

  2. I love hostas and hydrangeas planted in the same beds! Your tiki hut bed will be lush and lovely in no time.
    Your hellebores will give you a winter treat with their blooms, too!
    I do like the pink hydrangea, don't you? Such a delicate pink.
    I thinned my hostas this past weekend, and gave my neighbor the extra plants. She planted them just outside my kitchen window, so I will still get to watch them grow and multiply.

  3. I'm thinking Ms. A. needs a Girly weekend. We should wisk her away.

    Love the pink hydrangea..I was HOPING mine would blossom pink, but they are their true blue afterall.

  4. Well, I have never seen such a delicate pink on a hydrangea before. It is very pretty.

  5. oooooohhhhh - LOVE the pink!!! Mine are blue. A pretty blue but still...I love that pink!!

  6. I just love hostas but we have not found a way to keep the deer from eating them down to nubs.


  7. Your hydrangeas are beautiful Connie - I much prefer white and pink ones, the blue ones always seem a bit false here in England, softer colours are much nicer. Betty x

  8. I've been staring at hydrangeas each time I visit my local nursery and seeing yours has convinced me to buy a few for my own yard! I love the pink, wonder what my soil will produce?!

    Kat :)


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