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Diarmuid Gavin’s guide to hardy hydrangeas

Here’s how to propagate, prune and protect these beautiful plants from disease

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Colourful hydrangeas are beautiful, low-maintenance additions to any garden

Colourful hydrangeas are beautiful, low-maintenance additions to any garden

A painting of a striking hydrangea by Corrina Earlie

A painting of a striking hydrangea by Corrina Earlie

Chickweed

Chickweed

Verbascum ‘Violetta’

Verbascum ‘Violetta’

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Colourful hydrangeas are beautiful, low-maintenance additions to any garden

The wonderful artist Corrina Earlie sent me a picture of a hydrangea recently, a flower taken from her mother-in-law’s garden in Lahinch, describing its most deep-plum aubergine colour which she had to paint. The painting is beautiful, and it’s colour set me on a quest to find out which one its was. I’d never come across this colour before in a hydrangea and asked Instagram. The answer came from gardener Ali Rochford, who’d seen one growing in Dublin Zoo. It’s called Merveille Sanguine .

This is a mophead hydrangea. The colour may vary depending on your soil’s pH. White hydrangeas won’t change, but most other colours can. The more alkaline the soil is, the pinker the flowers will be, and extremely acidic soils can lead to red shades. I reckon Earlie had a hydrangea from a bush prone toward a purple colour, but planted in an acidic part of Lahinch has provided the deepest purple hue!


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