Fifty Shades of Hydrangea 

Hydrangea are hugely popular here on the West Coast, and for good reason. They grow prolifically and produce an abundance of large colorful blooms that last for weeks. Almost every garden has at least one hydrangea and condos seem to rely on their easy-go-lucky personality as a landscaping staple.

What amazes me as I wander the streets of White Rock (which I do on a regular bases thanks to Lucy and her dog needs) is the multitude of colors of hydrangea. With over 600 cultivars, most of the hydrangea in this region are of the species Hydrangea macrophylla. I’ve seen both the Mophead type (with large flowering blooms) and the less common Lacecap style (with a central flatter area of subdued flowers)

  Although some of the diversity in color can be attributed to the different hybrids – there are all sorts of cultivars like Limelight (green), Maltisse (red) and Annabelle (white) – much of what makes the colors so variable are the soil conditions. Some hydrangea will vary in color depending on the pH of the soil, resulting in a range of hues from a light pink to a deep blue. The more aluminum in the soil the more blue the flowers. In order to absorb the aluminum the soil pH must be low or acid (5.2-5.5), so by lowering the pH you can shift the color of your hydrangea to the blue end of the spectrum. Even the same plant can produce a range of shades, as seen in some of the photos I captured this week.
Hydrangea can be grown in containers, so it could potentially be a balcony plant. In a container it’s much easier to toy with soil conditions in order to achieve that perfect shade of bluish-pink.
Enjoy the hydrangeas of White Rock:

   

                             

Raymond Evison Clematis

Raymond Evison is a English gardener and plant breeder who has worked in developing clematis cultivars for over 50 years. 

When I went to West Coast Gardens looking for a balcony-suitable climber I was directed to the “new” Evison clematis’. Apparently they flower in late spring and then again later in the late summer. Mine has been forming buds for the past few weeks and I’ve been excitedly waiting to see what the flowers will look like. Today I was rewarded.  I chose a pink double flower variety called “Empress”, simply because I thought the picture on its accompanying card was pretty. I’m definitely not disappointed.

This clematis has been joyfully growing on my balcony for about a month, climbing noticeably higher on a daily basis. It seems to love the east-facing space where it gets good strong morning sun and avoids the strongest heat of the day.
In the winter I’m directed to cut the upper 1/3 of the plant and leave it outdoors where (as long as it has moderate wind protection) it will be safe until it begins to grow again the following spring.
Here are some photos I’ve taken over the past week. Enjoy!
   

  

  

  

  

  

  

The Roses of White Rock

So…I’ve not posted anything for a long time and it’s time to fess up. I’m not in Edmonton anymore, I’ve moved to White Rock, BC. 

It’s been a busy spring for gardeninggrrl, having sold my house packed up and moved all over the past three months. I stayed in four different homes while waiting to take occupancy of my condo on the west coast. I’m finally (more or less) settled and ready to post to the blog again. My apologies for the absence.

Now that I’m in zone 8 my posts will undoubtedly take a different course. I’ve never lived anywhere but zone 2/3 so this is an entirely new experience for me. 

I thought I’d start by sharing photos of some of the lovely roses I’ve seen while walking the streets of White Rock. Because roses grow much more readily here than they do on the prairies there are many more varieties on display. I don’t know much about roses, having only been exposed to the most hardy of specimens (thinking of John Cabot or the Morden series for example).

So for my first post of 2015, my first post from BC, here are some photos I took this morning.