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--- Anne K Moore  Apr 17 2009 ---
Photos by Anne K Moore ---

Hydrangea arborescens 'Annabelle' is a sophisticated lady in the garden.  Her background is a bit wild, but that was in her younger days when she hung out in the woods of North America. 

Her mostly sterile florets form a half-rounded flowerhead up to 12 inches across.  These flower gems start pale green then turn white, then back to green and finally soft beige in the fall.  No matter how much you adjust the pH, the flowers stay white.  There's no blue for acid soil and pink for alkaline. 

She's a very refined lady with dark green foliage.  She's a little stout with a rounded figure, short, as hydrangeas grow, seldom reaching more than four feet.  She doesn't flinch from cold or heat.  Her hardiness extends from USDA Zones 3-9.

She loves the shade in the South and morning sun in her colder range.  Like all hydrangeas, she does like a good, satisfying drink now and then.

She's deciduous and disappears in the winter.  The popular big leaf Hydrangeas (Hydrangea macrophylla) lose their flowers if cut late.  'Annabelle' is the opposite.  She needs to be cut back almost to the ground in late winter in order for her huge flowers to set properly. 

Her flowers dry beautifully.  If you like the tan, you can just let them dry on the bush and harvest late in the season.  If you want to keep them light, cut them when they reach their full white color and dry upside down out of the sunlight.

Some of the older pinks and blues can be a bit frowsy in their exuberance.  Annabelle is a refined and understated lady.  She's the string of pearls for your garden.


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