Tips on "Antique" Hydrangeas: From Garden to Table

Tips on "Antique" Hydrangeas: From Garden to Table

It's Hydrangea season in New England and my neighbor has an absolutely beautiful plant filled with blue/purple/cream colored blossoms in varying degrees of maturity. Her spot does not get afternoon sun and is up against the house for shade. They only bloom every other year.

What I realized from looking at the plant so closely over these two days is that some of the early blossoms are clearly blue with white centers and others all deep blue. It is with age that they begin to marble into different colors of purple and cream. This is consistent with what I have read about "antique" hydrangeas. I originally thought they were a specific type of hydrangea but, while some hydrangeas lend themselves more naturally to Mother Nature's aging process, it is the bloom allowed to age on the plant, spending time with cooler nights and periods of increasing shade, that does the "antiquing".

If you cut them when the petals are full color but still feel like soft petals, while beautiful in an arrangement, they will not continue to age once cut. They are ready to be included in a dry arrangement when they are slightly papery to touch while still on the plant and that may take some time.

I visited her plant at dawn and twilight, rain and shine, about 10 days ago in early August, when she was away for a few days.

I brought my tripod, My "A" camera and lenses, B line camera, and Iphone. I produced videos, still photos for wall (see above photo) and table decor (see video below) and thoroughly enjoyed my vigil. I have a pink hydrangea plant near my front door and a pale blue nearby but they never seem to bewitch me visually like this blue/purple/cream blossom plant. Although including images of the pink/green plant in between all the blue and purple, as you'll see below, seems to enhance the charm of the pink!

I designed several coaster designs from my two days of photos and after I give my neighbor a print I'll ask about coming back to do another photo shoot early September to see the "aging" blooms.

Here are a few of the photos on the plant and then a selection of coasters made from both my plant and my neighbor's plant.

I finally figured out a way with the help of a charming techie how to offer a product of a set of coasters where you can pick 4 different designs for your set of 4 instead of just buying a set of one design. Here's the link.:

Oh, and PS! That trick of reviving a drooping Hydrangea I discussed in the last post?? Don't try immersing an antique hydrangea bloom in water as that technique is meant only for young blossoms.

How to Rescue Your Drooping Near Dead Hydrangeas

How to Rescue Your Drooping Near Dead Hydrangeas

Has this ever happened to you?  You buy a few hydrangeas at the store.  They are not cheap. But, you buy them anyway,

You put them in water when you get home. You place them on your table. You admire their variation in color.  You are pleased with yourself. You are pleased with Mother Nature having created these flowers in the first place.

Next morning, you get your coffee and you see that the entire hydrangea blossom is hanging over the lip of the vase.  Totally dead and drooping?

I wish I had a dollar for each time it has happened. One time visiting my niece in DC for New Year's Eve we bought some spectacular blue hydrangeas for her party that night at around 4PM.  By 8 PM, they were drooping dead over the glass.  We locked eyes across the table and rolled our eyes.  Not exactly a good omen for the new year.

Anyway, my friend Angie, told me a remedy last week when I experienced the EXACT same drooping a day after buying some hydrangeas in Whole Foods Market.

  1. Fill up your sink (or a big bucket) with hot water.
  2. Submerge the entire hydrangea blossom and stem in the water.
  3. Wait 20 minutes. (She said time could vary)
  4. Pick out your fully revived hydrangea

Honest to God, it worked!!

I had to put a small frying pan on the stem of my hydrangea to weight the stalk down so it stayed immersed in the water but that was the only hiccup. Plus, it made me laugh.  So, I share this remedy with utter delight and hope you have similar success!

Thanks, Angie!


Gifts That Keep On Giving Come From the Garden

Gifts That Keep On Giving Come From the Garden

A portion of each day during all seasons I devote some creativity to nature's bounty, either from winter's misted supermarket aisles or summer's farmer's markets.  The choice of colors, textures, and shapes of flowers, vegetables and fruit never cease to amaze me.

Take this Romanesco Cauliflower. The chartreuse color and the intricate spiral shapes just asks to be celebrated, don't you think?  

When the snow flies outside, I love to work on one of these images photographed months ago just waiting for this nor'easter.