This section is from the book "The Gardener's Monthly And Horticulturist V22", by Thomas Meehan. See also: Four-Season Harvest: Organic Vegetables from Your Home Garden All Year Long.
It will be remembered that last season Mr. Chas. H. Miller pointed out in our pages that the Hydrangea paniculata, and H. p. grandiflora were distinct varieties. We have heard this questioned since, notwithstanding the clear description Mr. Miller gave of their differences. More recently Mr. Hibberd has given an account of them in the Gardener's Magazine, which shows that in his country, as here, the differences are recognized. He says: -
This noble plant must be counted amongst the most valuable acquisitions to the garden of recent years. Its perfect hardiness adds a hundredfold to its value, as judged by its beauty and distinctness only. But in common with other members of the useful genus to which it belongs, it takes to pot culture kindly, and submits to be forced without deterioration of its splendid qualities of leaf and flower As a plant adapted for isolation on grass turf there are but few to equal it, and it is not the less valuable for the mixed shrubbery, the entrance court, and for select positions where plants characterized by massiveness and brightness may have a place in the parterre.
There are two varieties. Hydrangea paniculata flowers earlier and produces smaller flowers than H. p. grandiflora. Moreover, the flowers of the first are of a pure white color, whereas those of the second are pinkish and fade into a purple tinge. In all respects, the first is more refined than the second, but which is the species and which the variety we do not pretend to say, because it is a grave question if in the end these terms are by any at present fully understood. Let it suffice then that we have two forms of a fine plant; both are noble and worthy of admiration, but the one with two names is to be preferred for pot culture and the one with three for planting out.
Hydrangea Thunbergii, the handsomest of all the outdoor flowering shrubs now in bloom at Kew, is in fine condition by the side of the wall near the entrance to the Victoria-house. It is a very floriferous, neat-growing, dwarf shrub, not more than three feet in height. The numerous barren ray-florets, each composed of three or four orbicular sepals of a deep rosy-red color, the crowded fertile flowers tinged with purplish red, together with their bright blue anthers and filaments of the same shade, combine to render the plant very conspicuous. Siebold, in his Flora Japonica, informs us that the dry leaves make a very good tea, which on account of its sweet and agreeable taste is called " ama-tsja," which means "celestial tea." According to some authors, however, it owes that name to the fact (hat on the birthday of Sjaka (Buddha), which falls on the eighth day of the fourth month of the year, the idols of the founder of the Buddhist religion are with great solemnity washed in it. - Gardeners' Chronicle.
They do not seem to think as much of this in England as we do here. A correspondent of the Journal of Horticulture, noting Veitch's nursery, says: "In an adjoining house I saw fine stocks of all the new hydrangeas, especially of Thomas Hogg, rosea alba and stellata. For the purpose of general decoration I am not sure that any of these will surpersede the old hortensis, but for pot culture they are all desirable. I have not yet seen Thomas Hogg of any size in the open, but the one known as Paniculata grandiflora is a poor washy tiling when planted out, but under glass it is much more valuable In the grounds surrounding the houses there was a fine display of dahlias, phloxes, and other subjects of a like character".