Last year, a ‘Little Honey’ Oakleaf hydrangea (Hydrangea quercifolia ‘Little Honey’, below) was moved from a spot where the yellow leaves were often damaged in too much sun, to the shadier far side of the garden that borders a forest of tall maples and tulip poplars. I didn’t like ‘Little Honey’ much in the sun, and in the shade its still far from a favorite. Here, it doesn’t damage, and now I can tolerate it.
Despite my lack of enthusiasm, the hydrangea works far better in this new location that needed the enclosure of shrubs at the garden’s border. I have no objection to vibrant, yellow leaves, but the yellow of ‘Little Honey’ still looks faded, even in shade. The flowers are much smaller than other green leafed Oakleafs in the garden, and while I won’t be digging it up and getting rid of it, the hydrangea has fallen to the level of functional and just passably ornamental.
I am surprised (again) how well Japanese Stewartia (Stewartia pseudocamellia, above) flowers in the shade, even lower branches shaded by a large ‘Mary Nell’ holly. While lowest branches have been pruned over the years to clear a path beneath the tree, I first see fallen flowers on the stones (below) in a succession of blooms over several weeks. The view from our second story bedroom reveals the full extent of Stewartia’s flowering.
It is true that planting Stewartia requires patience, which I claim in abundance though my wife laughs at the notion. This is an advantage of developing a garden over three decades, so that trees that are slow to get started have time to grow. Once a minor disappointment as it barely grew, it is now among favorites.