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Wild Hydrangeas of the World

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Dan Hinkley it's great to have you back on the podcast. Welcome thank you very much Matt. It's great to be back. Well you've already been on the episode before and we've talked a lot about your background but for those that didn't listen or new to hearing your name Tell us a little bit about who you are and what it is you do. Well essentially A glorified gardener. I am the director at Herons Garden in Kingston Washington Nets Garden that I started in nineteen eighty seven with my partner Rubber Jones. I currently have a personal garden in India. Nola just twelve miles away from Heron's book called win cliff. Both of those gardens are open to the public. If you should ever find yourself in the areas of the we encourage people to come to walk around and and then I do a little writing. Delo speaking some design consultation so a lot of a lot of fingers in different pots but all in all plants in on all the blast. Ya Fantastically charmed existence for any plant lover but You Know People WanNa know more about your background in You're working plant exploration. They can listen to the previous episode. After that was recorded we talked a little bit about maybe diving into more detail into some of your favorite groups and we both agreed that the hydrangea. We're going to be the topic of discussion and I'm really excited to pick your brain about this. This group of plants today great. I mean it's one that I have had an infatuation with ever since I've been a kid and of course it's another one of those wonders of the plant world at once. You get to know a little you you realize how little you know and so you know it's unfolding but ever so entertaining both four in a plant explorer but also for a gardener at the such great application to gardens of North America and in Europe. Weather not necessarily native to write. And this idea that the more you look the more you realize how little you know about this group I mean. This exemplifies my entire experience Since we talked about doing this episode of growing up my experience with hydro was largely just a couple of pom pom varieties and then a little bit later on meeting. At least one or two are native species in the wild in southern Appalachia but I had no idea the breadth of what this genus in this family overall has presented the world. It's been very successful in north and south and east and West and just like you had a hydrangea. Nekia Lada outside our back door in northern Michigan. That's like zone. Three B thing. Some managed to survive in blonde some every year. And then we also had hydrangea lessons. Annabel and everybody my age at least to live on the east coast new or knows Annabel because it was such a mainstay a mop head. Arborescence wanted a heartiest hydrogen. Just so you know. That's that's where my introduction came as well but as I started traveling I was dumbfounded. By how many niches they have occupied. How successful the genus. The family as Ben as a whole and also at least in the Pacific northwest. How many of those can be brought into cultivation in? Add a great deal to the garden not only by flower but with foliage as well. Yeah and so thinking broadly about this. I was actually new to the idea. That hydrangea had. Its own family. I kind of limited with CAPRA fully. Acc so sort of a broad spectrum treatment for taxonomy sake here. What's going on with this group Obviously is a lot more refined but it was even a decade ago when I first started looking at these. You'd oftentimes find Hydrangea For Gay she was one of those bags of everything that didn't know where they belong. They put it in the sanctuary. Casey so It has now been refined obvious. Leads through a lot of different means available to taxonomic. It is a family to its own. Hydrogen Jasey and they have Would quickly dissect this. There's two sub families in hydrogen JC Eighty and James Yoy D. And then within the sub family HYDRANGEA LADY. They have made two tribes. Which are the hydrogen d. e. In Philadelphia? So it really for the sake of time in one hour fairly gonNA scratch the surface with just hydrology e which is where the the breadth of ornament event is but the the other tribe in the in the hand I drank. Philadelphia's obviously has Philadelphia has dude see as a tremendous number of other plants that we are familiar with in our garden so they're lumped rate in with hydrogen JC. Now that's awesome. Yeah then there's you know it's one of those things where again I looked deeper and realized I recognized a lot of those those. I guess that makes sense that they're related but again for the sake of time. The hydrangea you're going to be our focus specifically the genius hydrangea and roughly speaking. I mean we're we're still working and I'm sure things will change In the years or decades to come but roughly speaking how many species are within the genus. Hydrangea There's you know it changes. Because obviously lumper's lumper's splitters continually added but it ranges around sixty about sixty species. But you know they're still discovering new species and in particular in northern parts of South America just three years ago they identified. I think it was fourteen. Fourteen or fifteen new species of climbing Evergreen hydrangea from the mountains of northern Ecuador and Peru Bolivia Colombia in there. So you know. It's still a lot to be learned about true. Hydrangea as out there. They certainly have not all been discovered yet. Another big realization for me in trying to get familiar with this genus was this diversity of life-form you mentioned climbing and I'm sure. Plenty of gardeners will recognize climbing varieties of her Georgia. In of course the obvious shrubbery ones. I mean this is a really cool thing that that seems. Like hydrangea has found different ways. To make a living as a woody plant depending on where you're you're looking for them yet no Absolutely Obviously most people in North America will be familiar with hydrogen novela which is an Asian species. That's the hardest most dependable deciduous flowering plant for Shade Climbing Planet. I should say ourself clinging plant for shade in climates But new go south on occasion in Asia's while you find climbing evergreen species of hydrogen in I would say ninety nine point nine percent gardeners even in the Pacific northwest where we can grow. So many of these are aware of the fact that there are climbing evergreen branches at provide grateful during the summertime and wintertime and then beautiful flowers. That are dead ringers. For what we in our minds think of is a hydrant right on and in thinking about sort of diversity at least here in North America You know sort of West East divide always stands out especially when it comes to gardening You're located on the West Coast as you mentioned what you have over there or is this something that at least in. North America is largely assigned to east of the Mississippi and Sorta down south from there. So like in a broad sense mad here. I'm I'm sitting nine Sonny Bloch this morning a rare sunny day in the puget sound area and right off the block that I live on the two hundred foot bluff repeat Assam. We have native stands of our native Philadelphia's Philadelphia's Louis named after obviously Lewis and Clark fame and in the broad sense that is indeed in the hydrant JC. So I can't discount the those plants. If you to California now you can find Wesleyan Carpentaria and of course James Lia and a few other genera mostly not all that ornamental so. I can't say that west of the Mississippi is deposited in hydrogen JC but Zero through hike packages zero. So we have to get east of the Mississippi before we run into the only two representatives of the genus in North America. And you. You've already made not worth one of those are Bresson's which is very widespread from New York. Even Southern Quebec all the way down into Florida and the Gulf states and has variations of geographical variations within. But just a darn good dependable plant for gardeners and then Hydrangea Chrissa fully. Which is more? Gulf state oriented a beautiful very distinctive. You know probably one of the most distinctive hydrogens in the entire family is is found in in the Gulf states and You know turn the breeders loose on these which they have with Gusto in the last ten to fifteen years in your ending up with these new pink varieties of our lessons and then all of these extraordinary forms of The Oakley Hydrangea. So far cry from what was available to me as a young lad when we had a Annabel that was about it. Now we have you know pink the pink forms bread by the Maestro of plant breeding. Tom Rainey at North Carolina. State University is really Extraordinary things expanding the breadth of ornament within that that one tax of

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