August here in Ballynahinch is dominated by one thing, Hydrangeas. The hydrangeas are in full bloom at the moment and they are just amazing. The fantastic mixture of colours we enjoy is the best part from the brilliant blues to glorious reds and the pinks and whites in between, we have them all here.
I have to admit I wasn’t always the biggest fan of hydrangeas, as a younger gardener I always thought of them as a more old fashioned plant but undoubtedly Ballynahinch has changed my mind completely on them. Now when I look at the ‘Horseshoe’ lawn opposite the front door of the hotel I honestly couldn’t imagine anything better suited than the hydrangeas.
At this stage of the year the question I probably get asked more than any other is “how do you get your hydrangeas to look so good?” While I’d love to take all the credit the truth is they just really love the moist soil of Connemara. Water is very important for hydrangeas and that’s something we rarely have much problem with here in the west of Ireland so the damp soil which is rich with leaf mulch works a treat for them here.
Hydrangeas do benefit from regular pruning and this is something that should be undertaken in late winter or early spring (climbing hydrangeas should be treated differently). Our hydrangeas flower on last year’s growth which means that branches we cut back will not flower in the coming season, for this reason we would only prune approximately one third of the branches each winter. By doing this we can ensure fresh healthy growth with flowers every year long into Autumn.