Garden Photo of the Day

Hydrangea Season in Carla’s Garden

A garden heavy on hydrangeas is having a standout year

close up of blue hydrangea

Happy Monday GPODers!

Today we’re in the garden of a frequent Garden Photo of the Day contributor, Carla Zambelli Mudry from Malvern, Pennsylvania (here are just a handful of Carla’s past submissions to check out: Celebrating Spring With Carla, A Perfect Combination: Daylilies and Hydrangeas, July in Carla’s Garden, and Carla’s Garden Tour). This time, we’re getting a peak at Carla’s impressive hydrangea collection:

And just like that, hydrangea season has returned in all its glory, almost rivaling the initial flush of roses which immediately preceded the hydrangeas opening. This garden is definitely very heavy on hydrangeas, and that’s 100% on purpose, because I fell in love with them in gardens in the Hamptons of New York. They are a surprisingly tough shrub, and when I realized that one summer while visiting my sister, I just thought it was so beautiful that I wanted that feel in my garden as well.

I have so many different kinds of hydrangeas, including Japanese and Korean mountain hydrangeas that I have lost count. I just love them, and I also have them as anchors in large pots that come back after the winter no problem. Not all of the hydrangeas are open yet, and the deer and I had words this week when they ate some of the Limelight (Hydrangea paniculata ‘Limelight’, Zones 4–8) blooms. Happy Gardening!

close up of blue hydrangeaThe color of bigleaf and mountain hydrangeas can vary greatly, depending on the makeup of the soil they are planted in. To learn more about that, check out this article that covers some common hydrangea color misconceptions: How to Change Hydrangea Color: pH Isn’t the Only Factor. As Carla sent over several gorgeous blue blooms, I can only assume she has acidic soil with plenty of aluminum for those vibrant blue shades.

close up of lilac colored hydrangeaHydrangeas amazing color-changing abilities do make them particularly tricky to ID. Is this a light purple hydrangea with some hints of pink? Or is this a light pink hydrangea that is slowing starting to turn to the blue side after being planted in Carla’s garden? Maybe Carla will let us know below in the comments.

blue mountain hydrangeaOne of those incredible mountain hydrangeas Carla was talking about, sporting another incredible blue hue.

blue hydrangea with variegated dogwoodAnd Carla still treated us to some striking combinations. The blue bigleaf in the background is a perfect partner to this variegated red twig dogwood (Cornus alba ‘Elegantissima’, Zones 2–8).

blue hydrangea in the gardenAnd from the other angle, variegated red twig dogwood is the perfect backdrop for those beautiful blue blooms!

close up of blue hydrangea bloomClose up of that blue beauty just glowing in the sun. Carla’s hydrangea collection could easily fool me into thinking blue isn’t one of the harder colors to come by in the world of plants.

close up of pink mountain hydrangeaA pink mountain variety that looks to be giving the tell-tale signs that it is slowly shifting to blue blooms.

tuff stuff hydrangeaBut pink and blue aren’t the only wonders in the world of hydrangeas! Several shades of purple are also heavenly, including this particularly vibrant variety.

hydrangea with hostaAnd white is seriously sublime as well—especially when paired with a gorgeous, large-leaved hosta and a flurry of ferns. White bigleaf and mountain varieties will never change to pink or blue, they lack any pigment at all and will always stay that classic white.

miss saori hydrangea

Lastly, a variety so distinct I finally feel confident giving it an ID. With its iconic bloom and foliage coloration, it can be no other than ‘Miss Saori’ bigleaf hydrangea (Hydrangea macrophylla ‘Miss Saori’, Zones 5–9).

Thank you for sharing your collection, Carla! Always a treat to get an update from your garden.


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View Comments


  1. User avater
    musabasjoosue 07/01/2024

    Thanks for the tour, Carla! It has been a stellar year for Hydrangeas in the northeast, hasn't it? Deer also snuck in fast and hard for the grandifloras. A first in my garden.

  2. btucker9675 07/01/2024

    These are glorious - especially love the "lace cap" varieties. Mine are struggling right now because of the terrible heat dome - my water bill is going to be astronomical!

  3. User avater
    simplesue 07/03/2024

    So inspiring! Every one of your Hydrangeas is outstanding! Wow that blue bigleaf one really has my attention!

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