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.

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  • Patricia Coakley