My adventures last weekend continued with a Sunday morning trip to Darley Park in Derby to see the hydrangeas there. Most of the park is of the trees and grass sort, with space to walk the dog or play football, but in one corner lies an old walled garden, filled to overflowing with hydrangeas of all sorts and styles, and a distant view of Darley Abbey church spire.
Originally set up by Derby City Council and now maintained by Hydrangea Derby volunteers, there are over 500 varieties in the collection, though to the untrained eye (like mine) many look alike.
I also believed that colour was more affected by soil than by breeding, but these were in shades from white through lilac to deep pinks, growing side-by-side.
Most were the huge floppy-headed shrubs you expect, but I was surprised how varied the flowerheads were - from round pompoms to cone-shaped horse chestnut-style bunches, on some small flowers were ringed by a circle of larger ones, others looked more like a branch of lilac, some had leaves shaped like those of an oak tree. If asked to identify them from a single flowerhead, for some I'd have been at a loss!
|hydrangea aborescens "Bounty"|
|A border of cone-shaped flowered paniculatas|
|Hydrangea or lilac?|
|Hydrangea Involucrata "Hortenis"|
|Oak shaped leaves on quercifolia "John Wayne"|
The only type I didn't spot inside the garden but out in the park, was this blue - maybe it is all down to soil type?
You can find more information about the collection and the work of Hydrangea Derby on their website here