Fourteen years ago, I purchased my very first shrub for our first home. It was a ‘Nikko Blue’ hydrangea and my wife fell in love with the blue blooms. I stuck her (the shrub, not my wife) right next to my front steps, up against the foundation thinking “I’ll have these blooms and wonderful foliage all year. This gardening thing is easy.”
Year one with my hydrangea was OK, but like a gardening novice, I pruned the hydrangea back heavily the following spring and cut off all that year’s blooms. I then moved the shrub to another location which was exposed to the elements and for the next two years, all I got was some weak foliage. I was hydr-angered and ready to give up on this high maintenance SOB.
Fast forward a few years and a few kids later and to a new home. I am now a hardcore gardener with new found patience (kids taught me that) and ready to bring hydrangeas back into the mix. Only problem was that I had very little shade, few “protected” areas and a lot of deer. That is where the ‘Endless Summer’ hydrangea comes into play.
Hydrangea macrophylla ‘Endless Summer’ is a mophead type hydrangea that blooms on both old and new wood. “Old wood” meaning it forms it’s buds the previous season on the older gray looking branches. “New wood” meaning it also produces blooms on the current year’s growth, the green branches. This just about promises you blooms throughout the season even if the old wood/buds didn’t survive the winter or were victim of a late freeze in spring:
Some other little factoids on this shrub:
- Survives in zones 4-9 – so it is successful in both the north and south.
- Size averages in the 4 x 4 range so it is a nicely rounded shrub.
- Prefers partial shade with no afternoon sun, but I have managed to keep one in decent shape in almost full sun.
- Blooms from early summer to the middle of fall here in zone 6B.
- They will bloom pink in alkaline soil and blue in more acidic soil. Through the art of transplanting and indecisiveness, I have managed to bring out three colors in these. When they were against my foundation they bloomed lavender. When planted in two other locations, I was blessed with true pink blooms and also a whitish/pink bloom.
- I have given these very limited winter protection and they have made it through each year without issue.
Here are some additional photos and hopefully, now that I’ve left them in the same location for a full season and do not plan on moving them again, I will get even better photos this summer (assuming the deer still can’t find them).
As much as I like the blooms, the foliage looks tremendous all spring, summer and fall:
My whitish/pink blooms from last year:
Now I must confess, I feel like I am cheating a bit by using these instead of some of the more classic options (like Nikko Blue) where it takes a little more effort to get it right. I also don’t like the fact that they can be found in every Lowe’s and Home Depot across the country. But, some times something just “works” and you need to accept that and move on. This is one of those times.