In June and July the mature stems, already decorated with heart-shaped leaves, produce numerous inflorescences which look like flat umbrellas. They resemble a lot the inflorescences of elderberry. What is more confusing, both plants flower at the same time. Luckily, elderberry is normal and does not climb anywhere. After a closer inspection we can spot yet another difference. While elderberry produces only one kind of flowers, climbing hydrangea has decided to produce two: insignificant fertile ones, which contain both pistil and stamens, and sterile flowers with significantly big and ornamental petals. And that sterile flowers- whose role is to attract pollinating insects- are so good at alluring that they forget about time and space and stay almost forever on the plant doing their job non-stop. The only visible change is in the colour, they become beautifully brown. They fear neither strong winds nor biting frost, nor heavy snow. Some of the flowers show signs of weathering, paradoxically, they look even more interesting then.
Climbing hydrangea is an easy plant to grow. Its light requirements are quite low, therefore it can be planted in the areas with little sun, like north facing walls. The vine needs slightly acid soil with a lot of moisture retaining peat. Even short dry spells can be detrimental, so be prepared for additional watering. What else? The supporting walls or trees or poles, of course. Without them climbing hydrangea cannot climb and will not flower. And without its flowers, we will not be able to experience all wonderful shades of earth: brown, copper, ochre, sienna, sepia, umber and so on, and so on and so on.
I would like to thank my friend Piotr for the excellent choice of music accompanying today's heroine.