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July Plant of the Month at the Visitor’s Center

annabelle hydrangeaAnnabelle hydrangea

Hydrangea arborescens ‘Annabelle’

While this beauty is not considered a hard-to-find cultivar, I think that everyone should have at least one in their yard. This shrub harkens to old-fashioned gardens, bursting with blooms and fragrance, and the seemingly bygone era of front porch sitting with friends, neighbors, and family. This cultivar is a shrubbier, more upright version of the species found naturally on rocky cliffs in the woods of Kentucky. A beautiful addition to your home’s landscaping, I love to see these shrubs planted amongst evergreen foundation plantings. The cloudlike white blooms last from June to September and are wonderful for drying once the color starts to fade. As a dried flower, they last in arrangements for what seems like years. Annabelle needs partial shade for maximum growth and flowering, and should be pruned heavily in late winter to keep the stems upright and vigorous.