Hydrangea Time

I am somewhat embarrassed about how many posts I have devoted to hydrangeas over the past 8 years. Probably too many. The varieties, the care, the pruning-I have covered this shrub as if I were a preteen age groupie. I am embarrassed about my love for the whole lot of them, but so be it.  Show me a hydrangea – chances are I will fall for it. Nothing says summer in Michigan so clearly and grandly as the hydrangeas in full bloom. Once the hydrangeas come in to bloom, I am not my usual self. My love of geometry and simplicity fades away. The romance of hydrangeas is tough to resist. It is impossible for me to be critical of any summer blooming hydrangeas. Even those that flop over at the slightest threat of rain. Do not count on me to detail what is not to like about hydrangeas. I like them all without reservation.

I grow Limelight hydrangeas at home. They are so showy in bloom, and so easy to grow. Mine are 15 years old. They deliver their gorgeous blooms every year on time, in spite of a lackluster or hurried early spring pruning on my part – or that week that I forgot to water them. They are forgiving of any bad move on the part of a gardener. They thrive with a minimum of care. They give so much more than they ask. They endow my August garden with that special garden magic I call summer. I would not do without them.

My landscape is primarily evergreen.  I like that structure that is evident all year round. But the hydrangeas blooming in my garden speaks to the blooming great Michigan summer. To follow are pictures of my hydrangea bloom time at home.

The Limelight hydrangeas take my late summer garden to another level. I am sure there are other hydrangea cultivars that are ready and willing to take a garden and its gardener in charge over the moon. Do the research, and choose which cultivar fits in your garden. In general, I like shrubs. They provide mass and texture, bloom in both the spring and summer seasons, and fall color. If you are looking for some great shrubs for your landscape, the hydrangeas are a good place to start. Shrub it up – that garden of yours.









  1. Too many hydrangea posts? Never!

  2. Hey I know y’all came up to the Hydrangea Tours in Memphis. Anne Riordan one of the Hydrangea Ladies

  3. My limelights are growing over boxwood and into crape myrtle trees and need to be severely cut back. What is the best time to do so in northern New Jersey? Many thanks for all of your beautiful photos!

  4. any pruning tips for hydrangea – when and how, best time of yr?

  5. Hunter Williamson says


  6. I live in Alaska and a friend in Anchorage can grow these beauties but not up on the mountain where I am. I am going to try overwintering some of the blue ones in my root cellar this year, in containers. They will join Rhododendrons, Azaleas, Fuchsias and a lovely Japanese Maple that wouldn’t stand a chance outdoors. Have been successful with this approach for several years now and there is nothing like scads of fragrant blooms in May when most of the other plants aren’t even peeking out of the soil yet up here.

  7. I echo your feelings!!! I too have them in my garden and plant them all the time in others. They are go to shrubs with load of alure!!!
    Always enjoy your posts, thank you!

  8. Jo Anne Adkison says

    Who doesn’t love abundance?

  9. Laura gardiner says

    Have you grown Limelight in proximity to black walnut trees? My research tells me that the Annabelle types do survive under these trees, but there is no mention of the other hydrangeas.
    I am such a fan of these lovely lacy panicle blooms!
    There can never be too many hydrangea posts…

    • Laura,
      I have had 2 ‘Snow Queen’ Oakleaf Hydrangea under a large black walnut for about 5 years and they are doing wonderfully. Not sure about ‘Limelight’ though. Hope that helps a bit!

  10. You can never have to many posts about hydrangeas! They are lovely! Are yours in full sun?

  11. Your limelight hydrangeas are wonderful. Last year I planted my first limelight; this summer I was thrilled. It’s thriving and now think there should be 2 or 3 more 🙂

  12. Dear Deborah, I guess I can “blame” you or better, say thank you to you for my recent addiction to hydrangeas. They are truly spectacular, and putting on quite a show now. And I can’t thank you enough. Please do not stop posting about them…as always, a big thank you!

  13. Absolutely luscious! All hydrangeas, all the time = happy, happy!

  14. Love my hydrangeas. Limelight, Little Lime, Annabelle, Preziosa and more.
    My new favorite is a dwarf paniculata called Baby Lace.. It’s hard to explain just how happy this new plant made me when if came into bloom.

  15. Keep them coming!! It’s never too many. Yours are spectacular. I am in St. Louis and ours are starting to change color and fade. Look a little lackluster. Can you tell me what evergreens you have behind your hydrangeas? The giant ones are some kind of spruce maybe? And am I seeing a lot of arborvitae? And what are the little white flowers mixed in at the base of the hydrangea hedge in pics 2 thru 10? We need evergreens and I’m not sure what to plant. Thank you.

    • Deborah Silver says

      Dear Karen, those are arborvitae behind the Limelights. I have planter boxes in front of the Limelights with angelonia and nicotiana in them. best, Deborah

  16. GORGEOUS ! never too many!

  17. I have a large limelight hedge because of this blog. They are huge! And they are absolutely stunning. I underplanted them with boxwood, but unfortunately I only planted the dwarf type.
    I didn’t want to cover any of the blooms with a larger hedge. Alas, my wonderful hedge only manages to stay upright a couple of weeks or so until we have a decent rain. Then they flop.
    The heads are so heavy when they are water soaked! We tried all sort of ways to tie and stake them but to no avail. Oh, well. They’re still beautiful, even if they are floppy.

    • Deborah Silver says

      Dear Yolie, if you want to stake, do it first thing in the spring so they can grow into and through your staking and eventually hide it. Staking a hydrangea in full bloom is just about impossible. best, Deborah

  18. Donna Perdue says

    Fell in love with Limelights while on a winery visit and am hooked. Haven’t had a lot of luck with blues or pinks mainly due to the deer population. They-so far- haven’t started munching on the Limelights – just bedding down under them. Your garden and posts are always beautiful.

  19. Kimberly Thomas says

    Your boxwood benches show a delightfully evil streak, lol!

  20. Dear Deborah,

    your enthusiasm is contagious. I have one Pee Gee which I pruned incorrectly this year so I am enjoying five incredible blooms rather than the usual embarrassment of riches. I may just have to plant a hedge such as yours.

    Viva Hortensia!


  21. Small heads on my pee gee hydrangea this year. They are usually very large, and by now, turning rosey coloured. What am I doing wrong? Did I not prune enough, or are they not getting enough sunlight?


    • Deborah Silver says

      Dear Mary, not knowing where you are, or your conditions, I would have no way of knowing what happened. I would ask a nursery person local to you. best, Deborah

  22. Susan Mcbeth says

    I have dwarf oak leaf hydrangeas. They are in full hot sun. Two years now, they’ve never bloomed. Do I cut them down in the winter?

    • Deborah Silver says

      Dear Susan, I have no idea where you garden. Full sun in my zone is different than full sun in Florida. Water can be an issue too. I hope you have a landscape/nursery professional near you who can help you figure out why your hydrangeas do not bloom. Consult someone close to home. My one oakleaf blooms profusely-but it is in fairly significant shade. all the best, Deborah

    • As soon as my blooms die off, I cut them. They immediately grow back and bloom again. I fertilize them once a month.

  23. I have strawberry sundae pee wee hydrangae.Have had them 3 yrs,1st time they bloomed.When do I cut them down for winter,do I cut all spent blooms down,I live in illinois

    • Deborah Silver says

      Dear Michelle, I only prune hydrangeas in the early spring-providing they are hydrangeas that bloom on new wood.Some years I leave the dry flower heads on all winter. Other years, I cut the flowers off. I would not prune any shrub going in to the winter season. best, Deborah

  24. Could you please tell me the best way to dry Lime Light Hydrangeas?
    We want to use them for a school fund raiser diner design.
    I live just South of Columbus, Ohio.
    Thank you.

    • Deborah Silver says

      Dear Ruth, I cut them, and put them in water in a little water a cool shady place, and just let the water evaporate. Some will dry, and some will just wilt. I try to cut them when they are just beginning to pink up. However I don’t cut them very often-so I am no expert. best, Deborah

      • Ruth Wolery says

        Thanks for the advise “how to dry Lime Light Hydrangea” . I will try doing this.
        Your pictures are gorgeous. Thanks for sharing.

  25. So lovely.
    My gardens, inspired by you, are finally maturing. They bring me so much joy.
    Thank you for that, Deborah.

  26. I planted limelights because of your numerous and beautiful pictures. Please keep them coming.

  27. In the last picture there is a tall pink-flowering plant with the Angelonia and Nicotiana. Name??

  28. Jennifer Taylor says

    What a joy to see your garden in full bloom, in all its glory! And what fun to read your love of hydrangeas. You are speaking to the choir here. Wonderful post. Thanks for sharing Deborah!

  29. Deborah, I didn’t realize how green your garden is. After seeing the Michigan gardens with their multitude of flowers, yours is beautifully calm and so different from my own. I love Limelight hydrangeas and Little Lime for the smaller spaces. I also grow Quick Fire and Little Quick Fire. Love them too. I share your enthusiasm for these plants which require so little and give so much. Have you tried Ruby Slippers? It’s a fun quercifolia.~~Dee

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