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Allan designs and plants flowering gardens in Montreal, Zone 5 [USDA Zone 4] .

See website, design work and favorite flowering plants at  gardengurumontreal.ca

Consultation and coaching for do-it-yourselfers is provided. Occasional emailed questions are welcome and answered free of charge. Oui, je parle francais.

See my work on Pinterest at Garden Guru Montreal

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Friday
Sep072012

The Surprise of Pink Hydrangea Invincibelle Spirit

Hydrangea Invincibelle Spirit by Proven Winners. The flower heads in my garden are a shade lighter.Readers might recall that I once had a roller coaster emotional experience with the pink flowering Hydrangea, Invincibelle Spirit. That love-hate relationship continued for the first two years after planting. The saga ended when I made peace with the plant by treating it as an integral part of my flowerbed design, i.e. as a summer perennial. I staked it when necessary and dead headed the spent florets when they blackened.

Image supplied by Proven WinnersHowever, something magical happened this season. This summer, Invincibelle Spirit, arched over nicely so that staking became an option and not a necessity, and the spent flower heads did not turn black. Then, during the month following the initial blooming, the spent flowers transitioned from pink to ivory-beige. As it appears now in my flowerbed, it provides a fascinating texture to the overall composition.

The camera captured a prominent green cast to the color of the spent flowers that was not visible in the garden.The unexpected and pleasant surprise continued when, in the midst of drought and searing heat, the spent hydrangea shrub was audaciously transplanted, by this sometimes reckless gardener, without any apparent consequences.

If only I had remembered one important fact about this plant, learned while researching it online:- deadhead flowers when spent. That action would have stimulated reblooming and I might have enjoyed an additional crop of pink florets. I’ll remember that for next year.

The above image demonstrates the appearance of the spent flower heads at the beginning of September, over a month after they lost their pink color. In full disclosure, the plant was staked just before it was photographed. Otherwise staking was not required, even after transplanting.

It has taken three years for me to appreciate firsthand what the grower, Proven Winners, had promised so long ago. I hope the results that I’ve experienced this summer turn out to be a permanent evolution; and not an aberration brought on by the unrecognizable weather conditions we’ve experienced lately.

Proven Winners attaches elaborate hang tags to plants in their series of Endless Summer hydrangeas. These tags are full of information influencing and reinforcing consumer decisions to buy. I wish that a similar marketing strategy had also been used for Hydrangea Invincibelle Spirit. That way, I might have been alerted to the possibility that this plant required maturation before I would reap benefits.

From another perspective, perhaps this variety should not be brought to market until it is at least four years old. It must be very challenging to be a commercial grower and find that, in spite of the sincere efforts of humans, the unpredictable and uncontrollable power of nature will always prevail.

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Reader Comments (8)

Hi Alan. I am having the same disappointing results in the Vanilla Strawberry Hydrangea I planted two years ago. It just sprawls out and the blooms turn from white to a very light pink on the edges of the blooms. Nothing like the pictures so far.

September 8, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterLona

Lona,
Vanilla Strawberry was a disappointment for me too. No pinkish hydrangeas since the introduction of Pinkly Winky have lived up to their promises.
Allan

September 8, 2012 | Registered CommenterAllan

With color or not Hydrangeas are just my favorite. The cluster of flowers are just so refreshing to look at. It looks like an orb of flowers.

September 10, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJoy @ CheapSheds PTY LTD

Allan, It's nice to know that sometimes patience pays off. I guess none of us would have wanted people to judge us once and for all when we were adolescents (:-)), so we should let our plants become grownups before we decide whether they are worth space in the garden.

September 17, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJean

Jean,
What a beautifully crafted comparison!
Allan

September 17, 2012 | Registered CommenterAllan

Do you know of good perennials for a balcony garden?

September 18, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterCat of Calgary Landscapin

Cat,
Most perennials will grow in containers for one season only. They cannot overwinter in them. Container designers tend to use use low and medium growing plants such as heucheras, hosta, and sedum as well as ornamental grasses.
Allan

September 18, 2012 | Registered CommenterAllan

So Beautiful blog .Awesome collections Love it a lot.You have compared it in a great way.

September 22, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterjeny curran

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