Hydrangea aspera

There are around 30 species and numerous subspecies and cultivars of Hydrangea available through the plant finder. H. aspera is one of what are called the lacecaps, as distinct from the mopheads (H. hortensia) which are quite distinctive and widely seen in gardens especially on the coast. Those of you who have visited Trebha will remember that drift of blue H. hortensis down the burn.

H. aspera is a deciduous shrub from China to 10 feet plus and 7 or 8 feet broad flowering throughout August. Interestingly this species has 2 sets of flowers sterile outer ones which has 4 pink sepals while the fertile inner flowers are purple. Noticeably some of the pink sterile flowers can be held upside down when floral parts are not open. The leaves are a dull green and downy beneath. 

The shrub is generally grown in a sheltered spot though tolerant down to at least -17deg. centigrade and will grow in any good garden soil. Although it likes shelter it does this showy shrub looks radiant in the morning sun and if you have the space well worth growing. Pruning should be confined to dead heading before the winter sets in.

James McCombe