Profusion Confusion


There is a hydrangea in my garden that refuses to make up its mind. The color of hydrangea blossoms is determined by the pH of the soil—bushes planted in acid soil produce blue flowers, and those planted in alkaline soil produce pink ones. Gardeners have been known to play around with soil acidity to change hydrangea colors, going so far as pouring pickle juice around a bush to develop the blue (not recommended!). I have a dozen varieties—at the front of the house they are blue; at the back of the house they are pink; and the white ones stay white no matter where I plant them. The exception is this new variety (“Endless Summer”), which produces an abundance of flowers from June through September. It’s supposed to adhere to the basic hydrangea color rule, but mine doesn’t. Pure pink blossoms grow next to sky blue blossoms, with varying hues of purple in between (and some with a hint of blue-green). There are individual blossoms that display the entire gamut of colors. Maybe it has something to do with my compost, which reflects the range of fruits and vegetables we eat (mixed with carbon matter contributed by a constant supply of bamboo leaves on my front stairs). Whatever the cause, the outcome is delightful. I don't mind the confusion; I like to be surprised!