|Hydrangea macrophylla 'Ayesha' 22 July 2021|
In my almost 79 year existence I had a few girlfriends and one wife, my Rosemary. Some of these girlfriends were difficult and some just fine.
In my garden I cultivate roses which are sometimes difficult and hostas which are plain easy. My Rosemary had a liking for grey plants which were difficult. You could not overwater them and you had to find the right place in the sun with them. I am having a hard time especially with her Senecio ‘Angel Wings’.
It is easy, for me, to equate roses with human beings. They can be famous real ones who existed in the past and some have poetic and romantic names.
In this mix of plants is the hydrangea. As long as it gets shade or dappled shade and is watered every now and then it is a dependable shrub. Little poetry has been written about the hydrangea and few know that another name for the hydrangea is hortense which is Latin for garden.
So why is this shrub mostly ignored? On the internet there is lots of information on how to make macrophylla hydrangeas (mopheads) bluer. Because the hydrangea comes from warmer climes only the species Arborescens is hardy in the extreme cold of my eldest daughter’s garden in Lillooet. This is because the shrub dies down in the fall and next year’s flowers come from new wood.
I wrote here how I had to select only three hydrangeas from our 30 of our former Kerrisdale garden.
One was an easy one as Hydrangea macrophylla ‘Ayesha’ is named after H. (for Henry) Rider Haggard’s sequel to She, Ayesha and we all know that ‘She must be obeyed”.
My scan of Ayesha in three different stages of its flowering (it is unusual to see these three and one more that has more pink all on one bush at the same time) shows the variety and its singular appeal. Not the teacup shaped florets on the large flower.
All the above is about the fact that while my roses remind me of Rosemary’s interest in them, the hydrangea in being dependable, beautiful (not too showy, but my! Rosemary’s legs!) is a plant that is Rosemary.
Every day as I walk to open my oficina door and I glance at Ayesha on one side of the door I am so glad that I married my Rosemary and not those girlfriends that were difficult or just fine.
For anybody who might wonder, in botanical nomenclature, the species part of a plant's name is italicized while its cultivar (a nursery or garden selection) is not. And the cultivar name is inserted between single quotes.
Hydrangea macrophylla 'Ayesha'