As summertime slowly ebbs into fall and the weather cools down, the fields of the Northwest prepare for Antique Hydrangea Season. So what are Antique Hydrangeas anyway? And how do they attain their kaleidoscopic appearance?
Antique hydrangeas are not a separate species from fresh Hydrangea macrophylla; the simple truth is that the majority of hydrangea blooms will naturally reach this unique, antiqued look given enough time and, of course, proper care and atmospheric conditions. Antique hydrangeas are a season marker, and the change in weather helps make them what they are.
Towards the end of summer, the nights get cooler, the air becomes drier, and the days get shorter. Hydrangea blooms use this weather change for their metamorphic journey into antique hydrangeas. The blossoms transition from their bright summer colors into mingled layers of mellow greens, smoky burgundies, shimmering blues, amethyst, hazel, and others. No two antiques are the same, each change and morph in their own unique way.
While the changing coloration gives us some indication of when to pick, you really know they're ready to come off the plant when the blooms are firm--the hydrangea feels slightly rigid and resists a little when touched. This firmly-set hydrangea head screams, "Pick me! Pick me!" At this point they are practically bulletproof-- the petals will never wilt or die, and they will be beautiful for months to come.
Hydrangeas are a perfect flower for an easy transition from summer into fall. Their colors and ambianceare like a fairy tale--all at once bewitching, elegant, and provincial.