December 14, 2010

Jumping for Joy~GBBD December

It's hard to believe that another Bloom Day is upon us - even harder to believe there are only 10 days left until Christmas!  On the 15th of every month Carol of May Dreams Gardens hosts Garden Blogger's Bloom Day.  Pop over and take a peek - you won't be disappointed.

For those of you who have an Oakleaf Hydrangea (Hydrangea quercifolia) and have posted about it, I've most likely left a comment on your blog lamenting about the fact that I don't have one!  I especially had given up hope that I would find one during the frenzy of the Christmas season and consoled myself with talk of finding one in the spring.

As I hurried into my favorite local nursery for some annuals, I spotted one sitting demurely against a limestone wall.  Like a chorus of angels it cried out its presence and I immediately swooned.  Merry Christmas to me!

The red of its leaves complement the blooms of the pineapple sage and brick wall in the background.   These leaves are very colorful and are dappled with a variety of rich fall color.  The white flowers glow brightly in the sunshine and are tinged with bits of pink.  They are fragrant and attractive to many insects.

It's the small pleasures in life that bring the most joy...the discovery of this hydrangea was a completely unexpected gift and truly made my day!  There is a shady spot near the Japanese Maple and these flowers will brighten that area nicely.  The red of the maple leaves will pick up the deep rose color in the blooms and the rich color of the leaves.

See the spot in the foreground between the variegated ginger and Japanese aralia - can't you just imagine the hydrangea there?

It will nestle in nicely among the variegated ginger, Japanese aralia and river fern.  This mostly shady bed has a lot of green in it so the Oakleaf Hydrangea will be a welcome addition for its texture, color and blooms.

Although not native, a little research indicates that it should be fine here in Central Texas with protection from the hot sun, well drained soil (it does not tolerate wet feet) and supplemental water during prolonged dry spells. This variety is Pee Wee and should stay relatively compact at 3-4 feet tall and wide.  Some varieties grow quite tall so be sure to check the tag for the space requirements.

It was brilliant color like this found in the hydrangea foliage that attracted me to working with stained glass...and now photography.  It lasts but a short while in the garden but with our cameras we can capture the beauty and hold on to it.

This image captures the glitter-like sparkle of the petals...they seem kissed by ice crystals.  I look forward to coming back and admiring these pretty flowers during the dull, cold days of winter. 

I really hope this hydrangea thrives in my holds such promise of what is to come this spring.

For those of you gripped with bone-chilling cold, I hope this post brings some warmth and cheeriness into your day...hang in there, the solstice is just days away...stay warm ;-)   Merry bloom day! 


  1. Cat -- Thanks for the visit and the nice comment about my photos. I like yours too! Your paper-whites will be blooming before you know it. They're quite quick, flower stalk first appearing to full bloom was only about a week.

  2. Oh, yea for you, Cat! I know just how you felt when you found your Oakleaf! What an unexpected gift :-) I have found Oakleaf Hydrangeas to be much, much less water hogs than their mophead cousins. I once transplanted a six-footer and it never missed a beat, even through the hottest of summers, never needing extra watering. The mopheads need extra water all of the time. I know it will be a happy addition to your garden, especially because of the way you found it :-) Merry Christmas!

  3. The hydrangea are lovely images, but I love that fly. So cute. Happy GBBD.

  4. This treasured Hydrangea is an absolute beauty ... it will make a wonderful addition to your garden. I love the Japanese Aralia too ... and what a great location for your Hydrangea. Loved your close-ups ... great post.

  5. Oakleaf hydrangea - they look beautiful and delicate. Gorgeous photos!

  6. I have admired that plant aswell on blogs over the autumn - it's foliage is just as wonderful as those blooms don't you think. I don't think I would have room for one in my garden though.

    Your photos are beautiful.

  7. So glad you found one! And so jealous that it is both flowering and colouring up beautifully... Mine is festooned with dark green leaves that didn't get around to their fall colour adventure before being severely frosted... Enjoy your hydrangea, you have the perfect home for it!

  8. Gorgeous photos. Oakleaf Hydrangea is on my wish list too.

  9. Hi Cat :) Beautiful photos of your hydrangea! They don't do well here in deep South Texas. I love your write up too! That hydrangea was quietly waiting for you to discover it. Can't wait to see photos of it this coming season. Happy bloom day!

  10. I am sure you will love your hydrangea. They look so beautiful at all times of the year. Even my brown, snow covered hydrangea has a certain beauty.

  11. I think oakleaf hydrangeas are my favorite shrub. They are a four-season plant in my garden with the peeling bark and branch structure providing winter interest. I know you will love yours, and it will look great with the Japanese maple. Carolyn

  12. My fingers are crossed in the hope that the hydrangea will love it in your garden.

  13. Ooh... I don't usually get the urge to buy plants in December but that first photo nearly made me run out to the garden center. It would be especially impractical since I'm moving gardens before next spring. :) Thanks for letting me live vicariously, I think the spot you chose looks perfect!

  14. Congrats on your find! They are great plants and grow quite large. My zone 8 gardens look pitiful right now.

  15. Delightful photos of one of my favorite shrubs! Happy Bloom Day...gail

  16. Hi Heather - You're welcome, I enjoyed your post! They've grown another inch over night! Can't wait to see them blooming.

    Thanks for relaying your experiences Toni - it does sound as if it is quite tough and that gives me some confidence that it will do well here in Austin. Merry Christmas to you too!

    Thanks Donna, I thought he was cute too (which I find somewhat odd considering it is a fly!).

    Thanks Bernie, I enjoyed all your blooms as well. The aralia is a favorite for its continuous green. Others have posted about it flowering although mine never have...

    Hello One, they are beautiful and delicate but at the same time, the leaves are very thick and tough interesting contrast. Glad you enjoyed the photos ;-)

    Dear leavesnbloom, yes, I do think the foliage is just as interesting as the leaves...I hope my spot isn't too shady and I get the fall color...we'll see! Maybe you could squeeze in the Pee Wee? We always have room for just one more plant right?!

    Thanks Plantaliscious! Stay bundled and keep warm!

    Dear Mac, I hope Santa brings you one too!

    Thanks Diane, it was such a nice surprise amidst all the chaos of the "to do" list. Happy Bloom Day to you too ;-)

    Dear Jennifer, I'm looking forward to seeing how it changes through the seasons...all I know is the desire was killing me every time someone would post about it...just had to see how it would do here in my own garden!

    Thanks Carolyn, When the holidays are over, I'll go back through your posts to see what you've written about it...I love how bark adds texture to the garden when the leaves have all fallen...

    Thank you for the well wishes Patty!

    You bet vicariously is one of the best things about having blogging friends! Moving gardens sounds like quite the'll have lots to post about. Pam at Digging has been posting about how she has transformed the garden she inherited when she moved and it has been really cool to watch as she has progressed.

    Thanks Darla, We've been unseasonably warm lately so we're still fairly green...maybe it will stay mild. Here's hoping!

    Thank you Charlotte!

  17. aloha,

    i love your winter colors and textures , the hydrangea you have shown is such a trooper. love the close up macros they are fantastic


  18. Nice to see your new Hydrangea! It's clear that this was a thoughtful and well considered purchase, not my usual 'I don't have one of those' purchases...


  19. Love that hydrangea! What a wonderful holiday surprise.

  20. Lovely post Cat! I love the lingering petals of Hydrangea . . . though mine are all gone now it is nice to see yours still holding on. I imagine in Texas you can have flowers all winter. I hope you will be happy with your new shrub! Beautiful photos.

  21. Aloha Noel, I'm thinking it will be a trooper too. They need to be with the extremes we have here in Central Texas! Thanks for stopping by.

    You're right John, a lot of my purchases are more impulse too but I've been wanting this one for quite a while!

    Thanks Birdwoman, I love it too!

  22. And a very Merry Christmas to you for finding such a good plant! It will look lovely by that beautiful J. maple. I can't believe all the leaves still. It's a wonderful red.

  23. You hit the jackpot with your special find! I love hydrangeas too. I wonder if the Oakleaf hydrangea will grow in our harsh dry summer conditions here in Utah. I will need to research that. I'm so envious that you still have flowers outside.

  24. I'm drooling over your happy find. Lucky you! That's my type of Christmas present :)
    An Oakleaf Hydrangea is at the very top of my wish list and I'm determined to add one to my garden next year.
    Your post certainly brought warmth and cheeriness to my very chilly day. Thank you! Your photos are gorgeous, especially that 'stained glass' leaf. Beautiful!

  25. Wow ! I can so relate to your excitement on finding a plant you have been mooning over but could not get .. I also want an oak leaf variety .. Little Honey has been on my scope for some time .. the zone is iffy here though.
    I love the shot of the fly !!
    I also have fly-guy shots .. hehe .. they look like scifi promos ?LOL
    Great shots over all and your excitement is catching !
    Joy : )

  26. Thanks Tina. We've had such a mild autumn that we're just hitting our stride! Thanks for stopping by and leaving your kind words - I appreciate it.

    Hi Ramona, Thanks for stopping by. I'm not sure how the hydrangea would do in Utah but if you can find it you might give it a never know. I'm often surprised by what will grow in unlikely conditions!

    Thank you Kerri. Best Christmas wishes to you as well. I hope Santa will bring you a new hydrangea for Christmas! Thanks for stopping by and I'm glad you felt some Texas warmth!

  27. So frustrating to have a plant you want but cannot find. I have that issue a lot. But it makes it that much sweeter when you finally find it! congrats and have a merry christmas.


Piglet sidled up to Pooh from behind.
"Pooh!" he whispered.
"Yes, Piglet?"
"Nothing," said Piglet, taking Pooh's paw. "I just wanted to be sure of you."
~A.A. Milne

Thanks for taking the time to visit!