My Love Affair with Hydrangeas

Hydrangeas belong to a large and distinguished family. First to garner favor in the eighteenth century, when European and particularly English plant collectors searched the globe for exotic new plants, that hydrangeas first began to appear in garden literature.  The mopheaded varieties of hydrangeas were favored during the Victorian era, when excess in design, whether houses, furniture, clothing or in the garden was de rigeur. The huge, blowzy fullness of hydrangea blooms seemed just right for the over the top affectation of the time.

Long been cultivated for their lush blooms and lasting contributions to the garden, hydrangeas are more popular than ever, as cottage garden styling and richness of old -fashioned mixed borders return with vigor to garden design.  Hydrangeas are appearing not only in garden plans but in textile design, china patterns and lush dried flower bouquets.

I first noticed hydrangeas when I was in my early teens. I remember seeing them in my aunt’s garden in Chatham , Massachusetts. There they were, a big tumble of vivid blue blooms, made all the more vibrant against the weathered gray of her seaside cottage.


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Outdoor Living Spaces

The glorious days of summer are upon us with impromptu gatherings of family and friends, our thoughts gravitate towards moving into our outdoor ” Living Room”.

More and more, people are treating outdoor spaces as true extensions of their homes, turning porches, patios, pools and gardens into a living environments filled with fresh breezes and open skies.

My first memory of an outdoor living space was my parent’s screen porch. I grew up in a classic Georgian colonial with the porch off the living room. Lots of crisp white trim, painted bead board ceiling, fieldstone floor and wrought iron furniture, and the ever present green cushions with white trim.  From May through October, we found any excuse to spend time in this one room from intimate breakfasts in the morning, to reading a book or playing a board game lit by candles nestled in hurricanes.

Below is a lovely example of a screened in porch from architect Gil Schafer, from his recent publication, The Great American House. His collaboration with talented interior designer,  Miles Redd, who so effectively portrays the indoor/outdoor living room elements with its comfortable upholstery, a classic mixture of tea stained wicker and cushions in a timeless green and white.   I especially love the additional texture of the sisal carpet on the painted floor matched with the scorched bamboo end tables and the carefully placed accessories and the ubiquitous  use of greenery to bring the outside indoors.


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