Wednesday, August 27, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

After 8 years, a wonder to behold

Gardening is not for the faint of heart or the impatient, which would disqualify most of us if we had to be accepted into a program of some sort in order to do it. But gardening is also a democratic sport. So I'm in, even though this Hydrangea anomala petiolaris was an exercise in frustration for quite a few years.

After 8 years, a wonder to behold

Gardening is not for the faint of heart or the impatient, which would disqualify most of us if we had to be accepted into a program of some sort in order to do it. But gardening is also a democratic sport. So I'm in, even though this Hydrangea anomala petiolaris was an exercise in frustration for quite a few years.

It'd leaf out - oh boy! And then no blooms. Year after year.

Planted on a brick wall in 2005, it took five or six years before there were any blooms at all. But it has redeemed itself since then. Look at this! I love the thick tiered effect and the moody light. Mostly you see this vine climbing walls, but it's also used as an unusual - to say the least - ground cover. I prefer it on a wall. Wouldn't want to walk through it.

So yes, it grows slowly at first and then takes off. I'll have to prune it at some point. But for now, I'm enjoying the look and the old world feel it offers my modern city garden. H. anomala petiolaris shoots up 30 to 50 feet by aerial rootlets in late spring, early summer. It's pretty versatile - can tolerate full sun or shade. This site is full shade up top, part shade in the middle and deep shade at the bottom.

And now, as hydrangea season begins in earnest, we give thanks for a vine that has finally made itself at home.

Virginia A. Smith Inquirer Staff Writer
About this blog
Ginny Smith, a Philadelphia native, joined the Inquirer at 1985. After stints as both reporter and editor in the city and suburbs, she’s been happily writing – and learning - about gardening full time since 2006. She’s won two silver medals of achievement from the national Garden Writers Association and in 2011, Bartram’s Garden honored her with its Green Exemplar award for her stories about “the region’s deeply rooted horticultural history, cultural attractions and bountiful gardens.” She plays in her own – mostly - bountiful garden in East Falls. Reach Virginia A. at vsmith@phillynews.com .

Virginia A. Smith Inquirer Staff Writer
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