Of all the flowers I’ve photographed, Hydrangeas have the most exquisite colour palette, with multiple shades of pastel – creamy whites, delicate pinks, peachy pinks, soft greens, chartreuse greens, baby blue. And also the richer sapphire blues, mauves, lilacs and purples. They’re a gardener and photographer’s delight.
From Beach to Designer Flower….
Growing up in New Zealand, my earliest childhood memory of Hydrangeas, was seeing them in the “gardens” of seaside baches (humble Kiwi holiday homes).
Without much apparent care, they’d bloom and bloom throughout summer. The above multi-coloured Hydrangeas are from the seaside garden of such a property on Waiheke Island and were probably planted in the 1940s. Being Mopheads each flower has a large flower head and is made up of hundreds mini flowers and petals.
Sometimes I’ve struggled photographing Mopheads. With such a dominant form, I felt I was photographing “balls”. But then the colours worked their charm, and it was all about capturing the shifting rainbow of hues in front of me.
Lacecap Hydrangeas, have a more subtle appeal than traditional bolder Mopheads. The flower is a round disk of textural short flowers, edged with showy flowers. Being less compact, the flowers have a more flowing graceful form.
Occasionally I find a gem and decide to photograph one bloom alone. This happened recently on a trip to Nancy Steen Garden in Parnell Rose Gardens, Auckland. It was here that I spotted a White Hydrangea, which had a beautiful heart shape to boot.
On Instagram I read @serenacrawford post on Hydrangeas, and how to ensure they last beautifully in a vase. She advised soaking the whole head in water and then putting Alum in the vase water.