Monday, 29 September 2014

Small Modern Country Cottage Garden

This garden shows how no one should be held back by size when creating a stunning Modern Country Cottage Garden. This sweet cottage has combined a limited colour palette of green and white, with vintage furniture and a range of old pots to give a lovely relaxed twist on what could be a slightly formal space.

Modern Country Garden
Modern Country Cottage Garden

Modern Country Cottage Garden Details:

Plants
Variegated hosta (in round pot by house)
Green Hydrangea Arborescens Annabelle (in foreground and by house)
Box topiary cube (to right of door)
Vine (climbing house wall )
Soft pink climbing rose (climbing house wall) (try one of my favourite Modern Country Roses, New Dawn)
Front door: 
Try Farrow and Ball Mouses' Back for similar taupey-grey paint


Dee. Lish.Us.


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Friday, 26 September 2014

The Top Ten Best Green Hydrangeas For A Modern Country Garden

Welcome to the Modern Country Style list of Top Ten Green Hydrangeas! I've absolutely LOVED putting this post together for you. Green Hydrangeas are a mainstay of Vintage Flower Bouquets, and are so easy to grow in your own Modern Country garden. Pots of smaller plants look gorgeous indoors. There really is no excuse!

Quiet places to read with white Hydrangeas in pots
White Hydrangeas in pots add to the serenity of this snuggly reading spot

If you're feeling somewhat dithery over which varieties produces the most fabulous of green Hydrangea flowers then read this post and dither no more, my poppets.

Hydrangeas and rose foliage floral arch
Green Hydrangeas and white roses in a stunning arch 

Before I get to my list of Top Ten Green Hydrangeas, let's first clear up a common misunderstanding about green Hydrangeas in general. There is no such thing as a Hydrangea that is green for every stage of its life. The perfect lime-green Hydrangeas that you see in florists have been poked and prodded and manipulated to give that perfect lime glow but this is not a natural state over the whole season.

Green hydrangeas, berries, roses and carnation Vintage Country arrangment
Green hydrangeas and roses in a Vintage Country arrangement

And this is the nub of the problem, Hydrangeas are the chameleons of the flower world. Lots of Hydrangeas are green when the flowers are very new (regardless of the age of the plant itself). The main colour then develops over time, be that pink or blue or white or lilac or cream or red.... However, in many Hydrangea plants, the flowers take on a new shade towards the end of their life. This, if you can find the right varieties, is where the vintage Hydrangea look is at its best. 

Delicious vintage Hydrangea bouquet
Delicious vintage Hydrangea bouquet 

If you buy certain types of pink or blue Hydrangea mopheads, with their full globular heads, they will turn greenish with age. They may go on to develop other tinges but you'll have a decent amount of time with gorgeous vintage flower heads. Perfect for drying!

White hydrangea, turned green then pink was added
This started off as a pure white Hydrangea!

If you're after plain green colouring, then definitely head for white Hydrangeas: the first part if the list is for you. But for those of you who want green mixed into vintage pinks and mauves, pick from the final section. And then I have a wild card too!

Limelight Hydrangeas in bottles
Limelight Hydrangeas in bottles

Here is my list of Top Ten of the best green Hydrangeas for your garden...


1. Hydrangea Paniculata Limelight

Limelight and Little Lime Hydrangeas from A Country Farmhouse blog
Showing both Limelight and Little Lime Hydrangeas

This Hydrangea is hailed as one of the best green Hydrangeas. Designed around the need to produce a new Hydrangea that stays green for as long as possible, its conically shaped flowers open lime green and stay that way for longer than most others. However, don't be fooled by the name. The flowers of Hydrangea Limelight do turn white and, as the flowers age, they take on a definite rosy pink bloom.


2. Hydrangea Paniculata Little Lime

Hydrangea Little Lime
Hydrangea Little Lime

Limelight grows, and it grows good! Hydrangea Little Lime is very similar but has been bred for those of you who love the plant but want it on a slightly smaller scale.


3. Hydrangea Macrophylla Zebra

Hydrangea Zebra in full bloom!
Hydrangea Zebra in full bloom!

Hydrangea Zebra has green flower heads that mature into bright white stunners. These contrast beautifully with the very dark foliage and near-black stems. As a bonus, Zebra has a lovely long flowering period. 


4. Hydrangea Macrophylla Soeur Therese

Creamy white with a hint of green - gotta love white Hydrangeas!
Creamy white with a hint of green - gotta love white Hydrangeas!

Hydrangea Soeur Therese (Sister Theresa) has pure white flowers from late spring to autumn. They open with a greenish-creamy colour when not mature and then become greener and redder when aging.


5. Hydrangea Macrophylla Magic Pearl

Hydrangea Magical Pearl is a winner!
Hydrangea Magical Pearl is a winner!

These stunning Hydrangeas open green, then morph to white before fading to green tinged with pink. The image of Hydrangea Magical Pearl above is there to make the point that one hydrangea plant can have new flowers growing whilst older ones are starting to age, meaning that it's worth being extra vigilant in checking out all stages of a hydrangeas colours before committing to your shopping cart!


6. Hydrangea Arborescens Annabelle

Annabelle Hydrangea with boxwood border
A low boxwood parterre with Annabelle Hydrangeas within 

Boxwood balls and white Hydrangea Annabelle balls always look so great together!
Modern Country Garden tip: Topiary balls and white Hydrangea Annabelle compliment each other perfectly.

Hydrangea Annabelle's flowers are green whilst immature, then have a good few weeks blooming pure white, before finally turn green again. The flower heads are very large and made up of tinsy individual flowers all bushed up together, rather than the larger petals you see on macrophylla types.


7. Hydrangea Arborescens Incrediball

The one problem with Annabelle is that the flowers often get so plumptiously full that the stems swoop down to the soil. As a solution, they can be staked but Hydrangea Incrediball has been specially bred to combat this problem. It has tougher stems and so can support the weight of its very large heads.

Hydrangea Incrediball in full bloom!
Hydrangea Incrediball in full bloom!

These enormous globes can be trimmed down with scissors if used as part of a Vintage Country flower bouquet....

Succulents and White Hydrangea in an enormous bouquet!t
Succulents and White Hydrangea in an enormous bouquet!


8. Hydrangea Macrophylla Everlasting Ocean

This variety is a crazy changer. It begins with pale shades of creamy pink to pale lilac. Then the magic begins...pale green creeps through each petal before the whole head turns deep pink. As a final showdown, each bloom on Hydrangea Everlasting Ocean, beginning from the base, turns bright lime with pink edging.  

Hydrangea Everlasting Ocean in its final stages
Hydrangea Everlasting Ocean in its final stages


9. Hydrangea Macrophylla Hamburg

Hydrangea Hamburg in all its Vintage glory!
Hydrangea Hamburg in all its Vintage glory!

Hydrangea Hamburg in all its Vintage glory!
Oh, the possibilities of Hydrangea Hamburg - Vintage flowers at their best!

This is one of my absolute favourite Hyrangeas. After showing off with soft glowing pinks, it gently fades to the most perfect vintage green and pink blend. This will vary from garden to garden, depending on the acidity of your soil. Higher acidity will tend to turn pink hydrangeas blue. The flowers that you see in magazines really can be yours with this darling!


10. Viburnum Opulus 'Roseum'

Viburnum opulus 'Sterile'  aka snowball bush  aka guelder rose
Viburnum opulus 'Sterile' , sometimes known as a snowball bush or guelder rose

Viburnum opulus Sterile Snowball Shrub
Is it a Hydrangea or is it Viburnum opulus Sterile Snowball Shrub? You'd be forgiven for looking twice!

Fear not; I am aware that this is in no way a Hydrangea! However, if you want to extend the season in which you can gather Hydrangea-like flowers from your garden then this is definitely a plant to consider. In May and June, Viburnum Opulus, also called Snowball Bush, or the Guelder Rose; it smothers itself with green-tinged and white spheres that look remarkably similar to Hydrangea flowers.

Box topiary balls, Vintage AND white hydrangeas and English roses in gray rattan baskets
Box topiary balls, Vintage (in the background) AND white hydrangeas and English roses in gray rattan baskets

And there you have it! The Official list of The Best Green Hydrangeas for your Modern Country garden


{Which are your favourites?}


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Monday, 22 September 2014

Modern Country Garden Tour

This Modern Country Garden, which belongs to Loi Thai of Tone On Tone Antiques over in America, is the kind of place in which you while away hours, gleaning inspiration and ideas for your own outdoor space. Let me take you on a tour....

petunias in urns & Annabelle hydrangeas


This is actually only a part of Loi Thai's garden. The other section is a rhapsody in blues; whilst this delicious haven is awash with glowing greens and whites.



Low yew hedges, boxwood balls and tumbling hydrangeas a-plenty ensure that this garden is thoroughly Modern Country.


Tucked in amongst these staples are a whole range of different textures. I'll be sharing more about my favourite foliage for Modern Country Vintage Flower Bouquets very soon but, in the meantime, feast your eyes on the extraordinary number of different greens and whites that there are collected in this space.

Asiatic Lilies
Lily of the Valley
Clematis Miss Bateman
Lambs' Ears
Variegated Lamium
This variety of shades is vital in a space limited to one or two colours, in order to break everything up a bit and add lots of visual interest. Here you can see the hydrangea Annabelle, lilies, aliums Senecio, Lamb's Ears, Phlox....


There is also masses of structural interest to kepp this garden looking gorgeous all year round. Pleached hornbeams create an anchor at each end of the enclosure.



Forty-eight...yes, forty-eight; this is no low-budget affair!.....topiary box balls have been planted in rows, in groups and in pairs to keep the Modern Country garden alive and kicking in the colder months.




This parterre lookalike, created using yet more box balls, encloses a stone birdbath. The space between the two showcases first narcissus and then, following on, these pretty aliums, poking up like icy lollipops.









Vintage gems are also key in giving Modern Country gardens the wow-factor all year round. This sun dial will stand tall when its surrouning adornments have died right back.


Although this is a large space (can you believe it's only part of the garden?!), Loi Thai has done a fantastic job of creating intimate nooks and walkways...




That, my lovelies, is Modern Country Gardening at its finest....




All images via Tone On Tone Antiques

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