Hydrangeas Bring Year-Round Interest to the Garden and Home

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Hydrangeas are charming, oversized flowers composed of clusters of petite four-petaled blossoms. While they are quite popular today, this wasn’t always the case. These blooming beauties once held a variety of unsavory meanings!

For much of its history, the hydrangea has had quite a negative connotation. During the Middle Ages and throughout the Victorian era, hydrangeas were frequently sent to an enemy or used to signal the rejection of a marriage proposal. Because of their numerous small flowers, hydrangeas represented abundance. But eventually this symbol of plentiful resources took on a new meaning and the hydrangea began to depict boastfulness about one’s riches.

Cultivated hydrangeas originated in ancient Asia, where they came to represent apologies. In modern Japan, hydrangeas are still given as a way to reconcile with someone when you have offended them.

The hydrangea’s reputation has recovered in recent years, and this beautiful flower has entirely different meanings in the Western world today. Pink flowers stand for affection, while white flowers represent purity. Purple hydrangeas signify a deep understanding in either a romantic or platonic relationship. The purple blossoms would be a lovely gift for your best friend, for any special occasion.

White hydrangeas are often used in bridal bouquets and decor. Because one stem has such a large flower, you can use fewer flowers to make a bold, elegant statement. For a bridal bouquet that will last for years to come, create a unique dried floral arrangement. The warm ivories and blush hues of dried hydrangeas will be a beautiful complement to every bride’s gown.

There are two main types of hydrangeas: the mop-head and the lace-cap. The mop-head refers to a spherical, snowball-shaped flower cluster. Lace-cap hydrangeas are more flattened overall, and resemble lace thanks to hundreds of tiny, unopened buds in the center.

Hydrangeas are well-known for providing year-round color in the garden. Hydrangeas start their show with their oversized leaves in the spring, leading to festive blooms throughout the summer. In autumn, many varieties of hydrangeas will develop a rich, deep burgundy hue on both the flowers and the leaves. Most types of hydrangeas exhibit this change to burgundy, regardless of the color of the flowers earlier in the growing season. Left unpruned, these colorful dried flowers can even be quite charming with a dusting of snow on their petals.

Hydrangeas are one of the few varieties of flowers that dry beautifully outdoors with no help from the gardener. Rather than cutting and drying the blooms yourself, watch what happens to the fading flowers as the summer winds down. You will be pleasantly surprised by the broad array of warm colors that develop when hydrangea flowers are allowed to dry on the plant. Dried hydrangeas are naturally perfect for all of your floral crafts and arrangements.

Whether dried or fresh, you’ll find countless uses for the voluminous hydrangea bloom. Even a single flower makes a bold statement. You can’t go wrong when you give hydrangeas as a gift to anyone who appreciates Mother Nature’s little treasures.

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