After living in a place for many years you do learn where the frost pockets are in your garden, and also the most sheltered spots. When I moved here I mistakenly planted my two new hydrangeas in a place where I thought they would be sheltered, at the bottom of my sloping garden near a thick Leylandii hedge for protection. Little did I know this would be the coldest part of the garden, particularly when the cold north or east winds blow down the slope in winter!
A look around where everyone else had situated their hydrangeas made me realise one thing - they were nearly all planted up against the walls of buildings. So I relocated mine up against a wall. They are now beginning to grow a bit bigger and whilst I don't always have many flowers (even after a mild winter where they don't appear to have been frosted), at least they are doing better than before.
However, talking of microclimates, there is a back street in my village where frost must be unheard of. I've passed this group of hydrangeas planted at the side and around the back of this house many a time. Even in late autumn they were still putting out new flowers! And here we are in January and they still have green leaves and have not been touched by frost at all. They look more like mine did about three months ago!
So armed with my compact camera one day last week I went to have a closer look and took some photos. In the first picture you can see leaves yellowing and dropping but this seems to be more from age than frost!
There were mixed pink and blue blooms on these plants and this faded blue bloom below is only just picking up a few autumnal brownish tinges!
Whereas this one looks almost like a new bloom!
Now compare with mine below - both are Mophead varieties. Mine lost all their leaves when we had minus 4C some time before Christmas, but the flowers were already faded and starting to skeletonise like you see below. I only had three flowers on this shrub last year whereas 2012 it was absolutely covered.
I also have a Lacecap variety which is easier to photograph and get in to take shots of the pretty petals.
Some are just pure lace now and so beautiful when you look at them up close.
Back to the village and a few fun photos not related to hydrangeas but why waste them. Just up the road from the hydrangeas I noticed this gate which had obviously seen better days (and paint jobs!) and had to have a closer inspection.
It wasn't hiding anything much behind except for grass and a few trees, but I was happy that I saw these dewy webs. I would have loved my dSLR and macro lens though with all the peeling paint, lichen and dewy webs - such photo ops! But overall I was pleased with my compact camera which only has autofocus so not always easy to focus on webs. Luckily I had the wood to focus on so that was close enough.
Nice to know there are still spiders about spinning away with the mild weather we are having!