Oakleaf hydrangeas (Hydrangea quercifolia, below) flower dependably in part sun and shade, though the large blooms are more scattered in the deeply shaded canopy beneath maples and tulip poplars along the edge of the garden. With any degree of filtered sunlight they are wide spreading and colorful hydrangeas, highlighted as much by their autumn foliage color as their late spring flowers (below).
While much of the garden fades after early frosts and freezes, foliage of Oakleaf hydrangeas begins to color in late October (below), with leaves deepening in color and often persisting into the new year. While the garden goes bare, Oakleafs stand out.
Selections in this garden are not made for autumn foliage color, but the colors of the otherwise unremarkable Fernleaf Japanese maple (Acer japonicum ‘Aconitifolium’, below) have made it a garden favorite. The fernleaf maple is slow to turn, and this year it is later than usual, but it will be splendid again if recent freezes don’t interfere.