Fishtail Cottage Garden - August 2019

August this year has got to be all about the gorgeous Vanilla Strawberry Hydrangeas.  I planted these several years ago and every year they just get all the more beautiful. I do a lot of research before I put something so significant in the landscape - but I knew when I came across this variety of hydrangea, it would look the best with mass plantings. This variety of hydrangea is part of the paniculate family. Suggested garden zones are 4-9 and grow approximately 8ft by 6ft for me....although the tag said the height was 6ft x 5ft. I originally found them at Molbacks in Woodinville Washington.  I bought up all seven that they had in the nursery. A few years later I added four more to the outside of my picket fence. When I first brought them home, they were a bit spindly so I planted them closer together than what was suggested on the tag. Knowing I wanted the branches to intermingle with one another.  I loved that this variety could be planted in full sunshine. My soil is horrible (basically clay) so I amended the soil with some good compost when I first planted them.  Honestly since then I've added a few bags of soil now and then to keep the dirt in this area nice but I definitely don't add any special fertilizer. This plant does everything else.  Which to me is so nice because they show they put on is extraordinary compared to some plants that I baby and nurture. The one thing I definitely do is water...a lot of water!

These Vanilla Strawberries begin to appear mid July with tiny green buds that begin to appear, those buds turn into the most beautiful white blooms you've ever seen. 
The flowers stay stark white for several weeks until one day you start to see little hints of a pink hue.  This continues for several weeks and this to me is the most glorious stage of these hydrangeas. With the heat of mid July in Seattle, the blooms continue to change to pink giving the amazing overall look of what looks like a sorbet ice cream good enough to eat.

The pink continues throughout August and will do so through most of September. They are not fragrant and in my opinion make a great cut flower so I personally enjoy seeing them in my landscape.

The hotter the temperature is the pinker and pinker the blooms become. These photos below are currently what the blooms look like in my landscape.  The Vanilla Strawberry Hydrangeas are gorgeous right now.  I do cut each and every bloom off toward the end of September when I start getting the garden ready for winter.  I don't like to leave the blooms on because I don't want to weigh the branches down when the rain and wind begin later in the fall.

The leaves will turn a pretty fall orange in October that I enjoy before falling to the ground. I generally leave the fallen leaves on the ground for mulch and give the soil nutrients needed for next spring.

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Let me know if you have any questions about this plant, I am happy to help. Would love to have you follow Fishtail Cottage on both Instagram and Facebook! xoxo, tracie


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