New Bedford, Massachuetts is located on the Acushnet River in what is known as the…
Cape Cod lauches hydrangea test garden.
Gardeners are often confused about hydrangeas with questions about which variety to choose, pruning, and general care.
Now there is a place on Cape Cod that you can visit, not only to learn about hydrangeas, but see them growing in both a demonstration garden and a new test garden. It’s all at the Heritage Museums and Gardens in Sandwich.Heritage collaborated with Michael Dirr, Professor Emeritus of Horticulture at the University of Georgia and the country’s expert on hydrangeas, and Bonnie Dirr, his wife, Bailey’s Nursery, Star Roses and Plants, the Cape Cod Hydrangea Society, and the American Hydrangea Society to establish the Garden. This test garden is the first and the most comprehensive resource in the United States for studying newly introduced hydrangea cultivars.
Currently on the market there are 200 cultivars, or varieties of hydrangeas. Though that may seem a large number, there are various shapes, colors, and sizes of the plant.
At the opening ceremony for the Garden a couple of weeks ago several speakers made it clear that this new Test Garden is indeed a garden and not simply a collection of hydrangeas. The landscape design includes a curved pathway of white Cape Cod sea scallop and clamshells. In the center of the garden which is more than half an acre stands a water fountain with a stone stairway to the lower grassed area. [above] Beds line the pathway with plants clearly marked. Along with the hydrangeas you will also see many familiar perennials like daylilies and hostas.
Nineteenth century Rochester, NY seedsman James Vick included in his magazine Vick’s Illustrated Monthly in 1879 the following letter sent in by a reader from Yarmouth, Maine. She wrote “I must say a few words in praise of the Hydrangea paniculata grandiflora. It is superb with its creamy panicles of flowers, some ten inches in length.”
With the new Test Garden on the Cape that long fasciation with the hydrangea is sure to continue.