Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Hydrangeas: Cape Cod and the Islands

A few months ago I got my hands on a new book.  That book became an instant favorite. That book is Hydrangeas:  Cape Cod and the Islands.  For a hydrangea lover, and a Cape and Islands (well, I guess I should say one island) lover, this book is a treat.  Hydrangeas are such a big part of the charm of this region.  I have been gardening since before I was in kindergarten and over the years, hydrangeas have morphed into my #1 favorite plant.  I currently have about 40 of them at my family's house here in Ohio!  Since hydrangeas are so important to Nantucket, I will talking about them in many future blog posts.
Nice cover.  Too bad it's from that other island.

Written and photographed by Joan Harrison, the President of the Cape Cod Hydrangea Society, this book includes over 300 pictures of hydrangeas in myriad settings throughout the Cape Cod-Nantucket-Martha's Vineyard region:  in private gardens, public gardens, tucked-away corners, roadsides, waterfronts, plant nurseries (including Nantucket's very own Hydrangea Farm Nursery) and even in some Cape and Island weddings.  What I really admire about this book is how it manages to not just be a hydrangea book, but actually a wonderful pictorial souvenir for the Cape and Islands.  The author/photographer did a terrific job "weaving" CC, ACK, and MVY into the background, so to speak.  This book would make for a perfect souvenir.  I also am proud to say that some of my very own handiwork made it into the book since I was able to participate in a large, new hydrangea project at a house out in the Tom Nevers neighborhood--and that project made it into the book!  Just look for the picture with 13 pink, purple, and blue hydrangeas underneath a tree canopy in the middle of a circular driveway.

For the uninitiated, hydrangeas are essentially the unofficial flower of these Massachusetts coastal retreats.  For the arm, the boomerang, and the grapes, the hydrangea is akin to how maple trees or dandelions are to the rest of America; ingrained and integral to the landscape, almost as much as the dunes and lighthouses themselves.  Come July, these storybook coastal locales are literally bursting at the seams with beautiful hydrangea flowers at every sidewalk, patio, traffic light, golf course, bank, ferry terminal, and anywhere else with a spare patch of dirt.

The jaw-dropping "Hydrangea Walk" cottage on Shore Road in Chatham, perched at the Cape's elbow.
~Reblogged from Memories on Clover Lane~

For those of you interested, the book is available via the ubiquitous online retailers such as Amazon and Barnes and Noble.  It also should be readily available at most bookstores in the Cape and Islands region.  I for one noticed it at both island bookstores:  Nantucket Bookworks and Mitchell's Book Corner.

Enjoy the book and enjoy the collection of Nantucket hydrangea pictures below.  If you have/get the book, let me know what you think!

Hydrangea paniculata

Idyllic scene from Nantucket's Hydrangea Farm Nursery

Hydrangea Farm Nursery

Hydrangea Farm Nursery

Hydrangea Farm Nursery

Hydrangea Farm Nursery

VERY deep blue blooms on Hydrangea macrophylla  -- noticed on Vesper Lane, across from the hospital

Impressive hydrangeas skirting a Baxter Road house along the Sconset Bluff Walk

Occasionally, one will find a hydrangea that has "escaped cultivation," in other words, has successfully spread seed that has grown in a viable plant out in the wild.  Judging by the site (on the bluff above Low Beach in Sconset), this is one tough hydrangea!

Hydrangeas at the First Congregational Church on Centre Street

The "Hunky Dory" cottage is one of my favorite little houses in Town and they always have a beautiful show of flowers, including these well-bloomed hydrangeas

Hydrangeas spilling over a walkway.  Classic Nantucket.

I guess when you can't have real hydrangeas, some metallic ones in a festooned-lapstrake-window box are acceptable

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