Hydrangea paniculata ‘Grandiflora’ (PG hydrangea) and Hydrangea paniculata ‘Little Lamb’ are reliable flowering shrubs for a cold climate. They have lavish, showy flowers with an extended blooming time compared to many shrubs. Their tolerance of part shade is an additional bonus.
Hydrangea paniculata ‘Grandiflora’ (PG hydrangea) is a lovely shrub that is very eye catching when in bloom. It has a fairly nice shape and good foliage. However, the large panicles of white flowers are the main attraction. The abundant white blooms cover most of the foliage when they are fully open. They bloom for over a month, and then gradually turn brown. Their flowers last throughout August and into September in my garden. The flowers are still attractive as they fade, so I leave them on over the winter, and remove them in the spring. Only a few of the blooms are open in this picture. There are many more with green buds still to open. This one is in a medium shade location, so I’m pleased with the numerous buds that it has.
Campanula poscharskyana ‘Blue Waterfall’ (blue waterfall Serbian bellflower) is planted under this hydrangea. It’s quite shadowy underneath, but you can see them better when you click and enlarge the photo. I like the look of the blue stars twinkling around the lower branches of the hydrangea. The heaviest flush of these bellflower blooms was at the end of June and through July, but they will still flower through the fall.
This is Hydrangea paniculata ‘Little Lamb’. It is new to my garden, just planted a few months ago. It is very similar to ‘Grandiflora’, but the flowers stalks are stiffer and the blooms are held more upright. When it rains, they don’t arch over as much as the PG hydrangea. In the photo, you can see the green buds of the panicles that haven’t fully opened. There are ample blooms for a shrub that is still only 75 cm by 75 cm (2 feet).
The marketing campaign for this shrub describes the flowers as little lambs dancing over the shrub. I think they’re stretching it with the description, as they look very much like other H. paniculata panicles to me, even when I squint and use my imagination. However, it is a good looking hydrangea.
I have a Hydrangea arborescens ‘Annabelle’ (annabelle hydrangea) too, but it only has 4 blooms. It looks very stingy compared to the other hydrangeas, probably because it’s planted in heavier shade. If it doesn’t bloom more next year, I might move it to a part shade location. I was probably stretching its shade tolerance to plant it in a location that only gets about a half hour of direct sun a day.
The leaves on annabelle are larger than the H. paniculata leaves. When it’s not in bloom, it’s not quite as attractive as H. paniculata.
Here’s a view of the PG hydrangea that the birds see as they’re coming in for a landing on the birdbath.
What are your favourite shrubs for shade?