Saturday, August 06, 2011

Grande Dames of the Floral World

This elegant Hydrangea adds amazing drama to the front of the house next door to our small-town post office.  One day while sitting in the car waiting for my husband to pick up our mail, I couldn't resist the temptation to capture this digital moment.  Of course, my honest urge was to go pick one...or two....or three! 

The Hydrangea is native to Asia and symbolizes lasting love.  That's why brides choose to display them at their weddings.  I think these luscious floral pom-poms speak to all dimensions of love, with their timeless grace and beauty. 

Once in awhile we see colored Hydrangea, and I come to learn that it's the aluminum in the soil that produces the blue ones, and neutral to alkaline soils produce the pink ones.  If the balance in the soil is just right, the flowers will be shades of purple.  Sometimes there are a mixture of blue and pink flowers on the same plant, and those are the real attention grabbers.

One of the easiest ways to preserve the Hydrangea is to let them almost completely dry on the plant.  The flowers need to have a papery feel.  On a dry day with low humidity, cut the stems the length you want.  Strip off the leaves, and find a dry place indoors where the flowers can finish drying.  Some people recommend the attic.  Others prefer a cool, dry location.  The flowers can be hung upside down while drying, or be placed in a vase, but try not to squish them together.

"Every flower about a house certifies to the refinement of somebody. 
Every vine climbing and blossoming tells of love and joy."
-Robert G. Ingersoll