Friday, August 6, 2010

The Hydrangea Lawn...

The Hydrangea Lawn is located to the West of the Chapel Garden and Manor House. Stretching 56 by 100 metres, is bordered by a Cupressocyparis hedge, of the ovensii cultivar. This cultivar produces a lovely dense evergreen hedge, similar to Leighton's green, and other Leilandii species, but is canker resistant. It will produce a hedge which is as amenable to hard clipping as yew and other traditional hedge trees, but grows very quickly (about 3 feet per year). We will let the hedge grow to 6 feet in height, so that it provides an ample backdrop to the Hydrangea borders on the West and Eastern sides of the lawn...

The Hydrangeas will grow to a height of 3-4 feet, and will be mainly pink and blue varieties, being intermittently fertilised with lime to create the difference in colour - the colour of the blooms is related to how much aluminium is available in the soil. For hydrangea blooms to be pink, the aluminium in the soil needs to be sequestered from the plant's roots. Adding garden lime several times a year will help to raise the pH. Hydrangeas take up aluminium best at a lower pH, therefore raising the pH will help to reduce the blue of the blooms. Aim for a pH of about 6.0 - 6.2. The plants may fail to thrive at a pH above 6.4. To turn hydrangeas blue, aluminium must be present in the soil. To ensure that aluminium is present, aluminium sulfate may be added to the soil around the hydrangeas. It should be well diluted and added prior to flowering. Once the soil has the required aluminium, you need to lower the pH with acidic vegetable matter, such as coffee grounds, fruit and vegetable peels, grass clippings etc.

If the soil naturally contains aluminium and is acidic (low pH) the color of the hydrangea will tend toward shades of blue and/or purple.

The choice of fertilser will also affect the colour. A fertilizer low in phosphorus and high in potassium is helpful in producing a good blue colour. Superphosphates and 'blood and bone' should be avoided when trying to produce blue flowers.

The long axis of the lawn will run down to the circular Nymphaeum at the northern end. On either side of the entrance to this are 2 semicircular hedges in negative relief to the entrance, with a Black Mulberry tree (Morus nigrans) planted in the centre of each, mirrored by 2 Black Mulberry trees at the Southern end of the lawn.

Through an elaborately clipped arch in the hedge on the western side of the lawn is a woodland pathway which leads down to Spencer's corner, through a field of red and white Horse Chestnuts (Aesculus hippocastanum and Aesculus carnea respectively) See post on Spencer's corner (to come). Through a similar arch, on the eastern side of the lawn, One enters the Chapel garden.

This lawn is designed mainly for Croquet and Gin on a hot summer's afternoon, but I think with the hedging and the statuary, will look just as beautiful on a frosty winter's morning.

1 comment:

  1. I'm sure it will be gorgeous. Hydrangeas are one of my favorite flowers.


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