North Arlington ResidenceTraditional Landscape, DC Metro
The Upper Garden with 'Ha-Ha' wall: One side of the sinuous retaining stone wall is faced with stone, the other face sloped and turfed, forms a green pool for the upper garden. The ha-ha wall backed by Annabelle Hydrangeas conceals the driveway from sight and extends the view to the lower garden as one looks out from the house through the Zelkovas.They are planted between the hydrangeas and act as a first buffer to the busy street set behind the Lower Garden.
Photo credit: ROGER FOLEY
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Wild Hydrangea (Hydrangea arborescens)For a classic white garden flower, turn to wild hydrangea. This eastern U.S. native and its cultivars grace gardens across the country and around the world. These flowering perennials are actually considered pretty easy to grow, despite their delicate appearance, as they tolerate a wide range of soils and sun conditions. Since they flower on new wood, winter freezes don’t affect flowering. Cultivars like ‘Anabelle’, shown here, produce larger blooms, while the straight species is smaller and wilder in appearance. Caution: The leaves, buds and flowers are toxic to people and pets, and can be harmful if consumed in sufficient quantities.Bloom season: Late spring through much of summerCold tolerance: Hardy to minus 40 degrees Fahrenheit, or minus 40 degrees Celsius (zones 3 to 9)Origin: Eastern Kansas east to southern New York in the north and Louisiana and northern Florida in the southWater requirement: Prefers moist (not wet) loamy soilsLight requirement: Prefers partial sun but will tolerate full sun if given consistent moistureWhen to plant: In spring or fall in containers; plant divisions in early spring before the plant fully leafs outSee how to grow wild hydrangea
Botanical name: Hydrangea arborescensCommon names: Wild hydrangea, smooth hydrangea, sevenbark, hills of snowOrigin: Native from eastern Kansas east to southern New York in the north and Louisiana and northern Florida in the southWhere it will grow: Hardy to minus 40 degrees Fahrenheit, or minus 40 degrees Celsius (USDA zones 3 to 9; find your zone)Typical plant communities: Found in the wild along streams and on moist wooded slopes and ravinesWater requirement: Prefers moist (not wet) loamy soils; tolerates a range of soil moistures, from wet-mesic to mesic-dry Light requirement: Prefers part sun but tolerates full sun if given consistent moisture; can handle more sunlight in its northern range; has good tolerance for shadeMature size: Mounding shrub, typically 3 to 5 feet tall and wide
Wild Hydrangea(Hydrangea arborescens)Native from southern New York to northern Florida and as far west as eastern OklahomaThe natural habitats of wild hydrangea, also known as smooth hydrangea, include rich forests and stream banks. It likes partial sun to shade and moist conditions. It can tolerate full sun given sufficient moisture, and in average soils it prefers some shade. This species of hydrangea blooms on new wood, so blooming is not affected by the winter cold that plays havoc with many of the introduced large-leaf hydrangeas (H. macrophylla). In fact, by pruning wild hydrangea close to the ground, down to between 1 inch to 6 inches, in the fall, or before growth begins in early spring, you can get a good crop of flowers on 3- to 4-foot-tall plants. It is a good idea to provide some extra support, with cages or strings, to reduce flopping of the heavy flowers when they get wet. A second flush of flowers in late summer can be produced if the first set is removed by early July. Wild hydrangea in the garden is most often the ‘Annabelle’ cultivar or something similar. This cultivar features large domes of white flowers from late June through summer. The flower heads can be dried, by removing the leaves from spent blooms and hanging the flower heads upside down for several weeks. These are effective in indoor arrangements. Wild hydrangea tolerates alkaline conditions, making it a good foundation plant. Under good conditions it spreads by stolons and will fill an area in a couple of seasons. Wild-type plants have smaller and more variable-size flower heads. Deer will browse on the flowers and foliage, so some deterrence may be needed.
7. Determine your style. Do you like things formal and manicured or informal? Do you love symmetry?