|Wild Hydrangea holds on to the snow. AMcC|
When no one will volunteer to crank the ice cream maker and best friends refuse to accompany each other to the latrine at night, it's time to go to Green Cathedrals. One counselor begins, saying, "On my honor, I will try." Another reads a poem about friendship. If it's the second week of the session, better sing all four verses of "Kumbyah" too--guaranteed to restore harmony in the group for a good 30 or 40 minutes.
I don't have the same karst topography in my yard, but I can still enjoy wild hydrangea. Native bees love the flowers, because, unlike many cultivated hydrangeas, the large flower heads produce lots of pollen. Surrounding the flower head are "false" or sterile flowers with three relatively large petals. They open before the "true" flowers, and are still hanging on to my plant in the above photo, adding to the charm of this shrub. Tried and True Missouri Native Plants for Your Yard (Barbara Fairchild, ed., Missouri Dept. of Conservation, 2007) recommends pruning back branches in early spring, since most of the blooms appear on new growth.
For a look at wild hydrangea through the seasons, click on one of these photos.