The woodland borders settle to shades of green at this time of the year following colourful spring and early summer plantings. Flower-wise the key is subtlety; spikes of white and pale lavender hosta flowers and the creamy lace caps of the hydrangea arborescence 'Annabelle'.
Planted three years ago as a very small specimen this hydrangea has survived two very tough winters with temperatures down as low as -18C and this year it is providing a glorious display. The colour is a soft cream which appears greenish as the border becomes shaded in the afternoon.
In my experience this type of hydrangea is very easy to care for; the plant can be cut hard back in the winter or early spring before any new growth emerges. The blooms appear on the current year's growth and this plant has spread year on year. I have it planted at the edge of the woodland border where it gets the morning sun but is in dappled shade for the remainder of the day and this seems to suit it perfectly.
I'm tempted to try and propogate from this plant; the common methods used are by layering or soft wood cuttings. It would be lovely to have a few more of these elegant shrubs in the shadier parts of the garden.