From Publishers Weekly
Hydrangea is a broad and varied genus, one "difficult to compress under a small umbrella." University of Georgia horticulture professor Dirr casts a wide net to provide comprehensive information about these versatile plants. That his passion for hydrangeas "knows no bounds" is clear from this enthusiastic combination of rigorous science, concise description and seasoned advice. The first chapter, "Characteristics, Taxonomy and Nomenclature," is the most academically oriented but brief and readable enough for the home gardener. Ten well-organized and liberally illustrated chapters follow, each devoted to a single species and its subspecies, ranging from the familiar and hugely popular H.macrophylla
and H. paniculata
, to relative rarities boasting flower buds that remind Dirr of "purple-brown cauliflowers" and are sometimes "quite large and Martian." Chapters on care and culture, propagation, pests and diseases, potpourri, and breeding offer a wealth of practical insights equally valuable to the casual green thumb and the professional horticulturist, in every region of the country. Readers will learn the often-misunderstood chemistry behind pink/blue color shifts, how to dry and dye flower heads and where to register new cultivars. A first-rate listing of resources and nursery sources and 160 luscious color photos complete this definitive and irresistible tribute to one of America's favorite shrubs.
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Mopheads and lacecaps are among the alluring types of hydrangeas that gardeners are enticed to purchase and plant, but not all hydrangeas thrive in the various U.S. climate zones. Dirr directs his authoritative voice and vast knowledge to helping the gardener understand the botany of hydrangea species, as well as the horticultural pluses and minuses of countless cultivated varieties. A bounty of color photographs documents mature climbers, shrubs with lavish foliage, and detailed views of gorgeous inflorescences, including snowballs, while the text covers a fascinating panoply of worthy specimens that embraces the rare and the commonplace. Informative yet entertaining, Dirr's descriptions warn of anemic green leaves and lack of cold hardiness or draw appreciative nods with superb frost tolerance and the frizzy effect of rose to mauve inflorescences with little white eyes. Chapters also provide information on lesser known hydrangeas, care and culture, propagation and pests, and future breeding, as Dirr's reigning expertise in the realm of trees and shrubs comes through once again. Alice JoyceCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved