Hydrangea arborescens ‘Annabelle’ is not what you would call a demure shrub. This Hydrangea is not a shy and retiring woodland plant. It is an exuberant cheerleader in the garden, with large pompoms.
This flower cluster is 20 cm (8 inches) across. For such small shrubs, they usually produce a large number of these jumbo sized blooms. Typically, an Annabelle hydrangea is covered in these large white flowers.
My shrub is in a very shady area of the garden, so it doesn’t get as many blooms. It is on the northern side of my house, and gets about an hour or less of direct sunlight a day. This seems to be enough to produce about five large pompoms at this point. Although Annabelle can take shade, this might be too shady of a location. I’ve only had this one for two years, so it might get more flowers as it matures, or it could be that this Annabelle is just blooming the best it can with the small amount of sunlight I give it.
As the green buds open, Hydrangea arborescens ‘Annabelle’ produces these showy, white flower heads. The flowers last for over a month in summer, and then gradually fade to tan in fall.
Here are the five blooms on my 60 cm by 60 cm (2 ft by 2 ft) Annabelle shrub. :) You can see that some of the blooms are still green, and the buds have just started opening. I could move the shrub to a brighter part shade location, but I think I’ll leave Annabelle here for now, and see how it blooms as it matures. After all, it would only take another five of those giant bloom clusters, fully open, to cover this shrub.
This Annabelle hydrangea is planted in the garden next to my front steps. Every time I come home in August, it waves its pompoms and cheers: “Give me an ‘N’ — ‘ N’. Give me an ‘O’ — ‘ O’. Give me an ‘R’ — ‘R’. … Yeaaaaaah, Northern.” You have to admire such an enthusiastic shrub, even if it doesn’t have its full compliment of pompoms.