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Must-Have Hydrangeas For The New Romantic Garden

By Monrovia Nursery Company
Photographs courtesy of Monrovia Nursery Company

Romantic, beautiful blooms are making a comeback this season, as gardeners embrace a return to classic flowers. Nostalgia varieties such as roses, hydrangea, peony, and other flowering shrubs that may be thought of as old-fashioned are now in demand. These timeless flowers bring us back to simpler times and offer a connection to memories, family, and friends that may have influenced our love of gardening.

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“This return to nostalgic plants is part of the larger trend we’re calling the New Victorian Garden,” says Katie Tamony, chief marketing officer and trend spotter at Monrovia. “This design features big, beautiful flowers, softer colors, and a more organized cottage garden feel. Modern breeding is making these traditional plants even better for gardeners. They are easier to grow and provide more blooms than shrubs of the past.”

Few plants express romance like hydrangeas. Their big, billowy blooms are a staple in the New Victorian Garden. With so many color options, you’ll want to add several to your design.

Here are a few of our favorites:

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Seaside Serenade® Newport Hydrangea

Hydrangea macrophylla 'HORTMANI' PP #28,085

Seaside Serenade® Newport is not just another beautiful hydrangea. This mophead variety features striking flowers that are a brilliant blue to plum in acidic soils or a vibrant pink in more alkaline soils. Like its siblings in the Seaside Serenade Collection, Newport features exceptionally strong stems that do not flop in windy or rainy weather.

Newport and several other Seaside Serenade Hydrangeas are tetraploids. Tetraploid hydrangea have a shorter distance between the leaf nodes, keeping the plant compact. It also makes the stems sturdier and stronger. The stems, leaves, and flowers are also thicker and waxier, allowing the blooms to last much longer, up to 3 months, on the plant. Tetraploids enjoy extended beauty as a cut flower in a vase, too. 

Newport blooms on old and new growth, reblooming from early summer until autumn. Its compact habit makes it a perfect fit for both large- and small-space landscapes. 4 feet tall and wide. USDA Plant Hardiness Zones 4-9.

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Seaside Serenade® Crystal Cove Hydrangea

Hydrangea macrophylla 'CAMFRE29' PPA

Frilly and floriferous may be the best words to describe Seaside Serenade® Crystal Cove Hydrangea. The plant is covered with intricately cut, lacecap blooms that feature deep, purple-blue, or bold pink edges depending on your soil pH. Crystal Cove is a reblooming variety, providing loads of blooms atop strong stems throughout the summer. It’s a must-have for containers and perennial gardens. Partial sun. 3 to 4 feet tall and wide. Zones 4-9.

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Seaside Serenade® Glacier Bay Hydrangea

Hydrangea macrophylla 'CAMCHO45' PPAF

The unique features of Seaside Serenade® Glacier Bay Hydrangea put it in a category all its own. On-trend and uncommon, this Monrovia exclusive is quickly becoming the new hydrangea everyone wants. Glacier Bay’s brilliant white, upturned lacecap blooms open to form delicate star shapes on contrasting, dramatic black stems. Plentiful blooms sit atop a backdrop of leathery, dark green foliage. With these eye-catching features, this traditional shrub is right at home in a modern garden design. Beautiful in a container or planted in groups in the garden. Partial sun. 3 feet tall and wide. Zones 4-9.

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Seaside Serenade® Martha’s Vineyard Hydrangea

Hydrangea macrophylla 'HORTMAVI' PPAF

Beautiful pink-red mophead blooms make Seaside Serenade® Martha’s Vineyard Hydrangea a must-have plant. The long-lasting blooms take on a hint of green as they age, making them a beautiful addition to any landscape or bouquet. Martha’s Vineyard is not influenced by soil pH. This variety is a tetraploid, with strong stems and extended enjoyment. 3.5 feet high, 3 feet wide. Zones 4-9.

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Seaside Serenade® Bar Harbor Hydrangea

Hydrangea arborescens 'SMHAMWM' PP #28,729

If you love the look of an Annabelle hydrangea but don’t have the space, Seaside Serenade® Bar Harbor Hydrangea offers a solution. Bar Harbor features loads of beautiful white blooms all summer long, all while staying compact in the garden. Growing to only 4 feet tall and wide, Bar Harbor’s blooms sit atop strong, sturdy stems that can handle wind and rain. It is stunning in the landscape and makes a wonderful cut flower too. Zones 3-8.

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Seaside Serenade® Fire Island Hydrangea

Hydrangea macrophylla 'HORTFIRE' PP #29,058

The bi-color blooms of Seaside Serenade® Fire Island Hydrangea really turn heads in the garden. The white blossoms feature an eye-catching, rosy-red edge. As the blooms mature, the ruffled edging turns a deep pink, providing a unique look throughout the growing season. This blooming beauty stays compact with strong, upright stems. Fire Island also features deep green leaves that take on a beautiful maroon color in the fall. 3.5 feet high, 3 feet wide. Zones 4-9.

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Seaside Serenade® Cape Lookout Hydrangea

Hydrangea macrophylla 'HORTMABLO' PP #30,268

The blooms of Seaside Serenade® Cape Lookout Hydrangea put on quite a show. Starting out as a pale green, the large flowers open to a bright white. Then as the flowers age, they take on a soft pink hue. Especially stunning when planted in groups, Cape Lookout is also a great container plant. Because Cape Lookout is a tetraploid, you know you will have long-lasting blooms, sturdy, upright stems, and beautiful foliage. In the fall, the dark-green leaves turn a wonderful bronze color. 3.5 feet high, 3 feet wide. Zones 4-9.

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Seaside Serenade® Cape Hatteras Hydrangea

Hydrangea macrophylla 'HORTHAT' PPAF

Each variety in the Seaside Serenade® Hydrangea collection was chosen for its unique features and outstanding garden performance. Seaside Serenade® Cape Hatteras was picked for its stunning ruby red blooms. The beautiful, vibrant color flowers are a must-have in the garden and in floral arrangements. Cape Hatteras makes a statement when planned in groups and can hold its own as a feature plant in the landscape or container. The flower color is not influenced by soil pH, so the bold red blossoms will capture attention no matter where they’re planted. 3.5 feet high, 3 feet wide. Zones 4-9.

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