I think it’s true to say that mophead hydrangeas (Hydrangea macrocarpa) are entering a spell in the garden fashion wilderness. Of course they may have been there for some time without me noticing: I am not the most cutting-edge of fashionistas.
Anyway, they’ll be in good company: rhododendrons and conifers have been stubbornly refusing to become trendy again for years despite brave recent efforts at rehabilitation.
Nobody seems to like mopheads any more. They’re old-fashioned, granny plants, blobby, boring. I am ripping them out in every garden I’m doing.
This lot are the heads I saved for drying from a clump of mophead hydrangeas in the chicken garden. You wouldn’t normally, of course, be pruning hydrangeas now: the advice is to wait till spring to allow old flower heads to give some frost protection, then trim down to a pair of buds.
But these are soon to become ex-mopheads. I’m clearing the lot of them: their owner doesn’t like them.
Fortunately she does, however, like hydrangeas, and we’re replacing the mopheads with other varieties. For there are many hydrangeas which have not followed the mophead down the slippery slope to oblivion and remain resolutely fashionable.
So we’re trying to decide between the lacecap ‘Mariesii’ (powdery purple flattened and very beautiful sprays of florets), designer’s favourite ‘Annabelle’ – possibly a bit too compact, though that does mean we can plant around them (I’ve always thought the flowers too large for the plant, mind you); and H. villosa, a big handsome bruiser of a plant I love for its strokeably felty leaves alone. The bed is by the house though so this one might be a bit too wild and woolly for comfort. We’re also thinking about H. quercifolia – fabulous oak-shaped leaves which turn deep red in autumn, but the flowers are paniculata types, like big creamy icecream cones – back to blowsy, then.
At the moment ‘Mariesii’ is a neck in front. Any other suggestions very welcome!