Plant of the Year (So Far)!

Dear Readers, every year there’s something in the garden that does exceptionally well. Last year, if you remember, we had the angelica, which turned into something of a triffid before subsiding under the sheer weight of the flowers. But this year it’s the climbing hydrangea. Just look at it! And right outside the kitchen door too. It has a very faint but sweet smell, and although the main ‘flowers’ on the flowerheads are sterile, the other blooms produce masses of pollen, which the bumblebees are very keen on.

For anyone with a murky dank corner (I have several) this is pretty much the perfect plant. It doesn’t need a trellis as little roots come out directly from the stems, rather like the legs on a millipede, but it doesn’t intrude into the brickwork in the way that ivy and some other climbers do. Yesterday a pair of robins were hopping about in it, so I hope they’re thinking about popping in a nest. And the sheer abundance of it is really cheering me up, even though it’s a dark and dismal day.

I love the way that gardens have rhythms, with plants reaching a pitch of perfection one year, and having a rest the next. It takes my breath away sometimes. How important it is to just find the time to stop and look at such glory! I feel like inviting everyone round to admire this plant, which has pumped so much sheer biomass out of a little hole in the patio.

And I should say (very quietly) that I don’t usually like hydrangeas much, having rubbished them mentally as being no good for the bees. But this one certainly is, and so are some other species: the smooth hydrangea (Hydrangea arborescens)…

Photo One by By H. Zell - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, H. Zell - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0,

Smooth hydrangea (Photo One)

and the panicled hydrangea (Hydrangea paniculatus) in particular. I remember this latter plant because not only do the bees love the pollen, but the leaf-cutter bees used to cut perfect half-circles out of its leaves.

Photo Two By KENPEI - KENPEI's photo, CC BY-SA 3.0,

Hydrangea paniculata var grandiflora (Photo Two)

Anyhow, I was wondering if you have a star plant on your patch, or one that you always admire when you see it, What brings a bit of botanical joy to your week? I wish I could package up my hydrangea and share it with you all, but in the absence of a Star Trek-style transporter system, I guess the blog will have to do…

Photo Credits

Photo One By H. Zell – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0,

Photo Two By KENPEI – KENPEI's photo, CC BY-SA 3.0,

3 thoughts on “Plant of the Year (So Far)!

  1. Claire

    The obvious choice this year: Lychnis Coronaria on my window sill.
    Last year, I planted some Lisianthus that someone had given to me, one plant survived. In spring, something started growing high and mighty…definitely not a Lisianthus, they have disappeared.
    It’s now 50cm high and 50 cm wide, ten stems with about seven flowers each, a lovely pale pink. I wish I could send a picture. This wonderful plant fills one third of my kitchen window, it is the first plant I see every morning . Not sure the bees like it, though.
    Another plant of the year, I feel there are many more daisies than usual this year, everywhere, since march, lawns are white, not green.

  2. Alittlebitoutoffocus

    We have one of them outside of our kitchen door and window too, though it’s nowhere near as tall as yours. It’s positively thriving in the shade. The flowers are just starting to come out and I would imagine it will look fabulous in due course. The beauty of moving into a new property is that everything is a surprise! (We have the biggest bay tree you could ever imagine).


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