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A French-Inspired Garden and Home by Judith Stringham

French Hydrangeas

Friday, August 30, 2013

French Hydrangeas 
What makes a hydrangea a French hydrangea?

Hydrangea macrophylla plants are native to Japan,
and when the plants were introduced to the Americas and Europe
in 1789, they became commonly known as French hydrangeas.

Do you suppose there is a connection to the
French Revolution occurring in 1789?

Hydrangeas were a widely-used garden plant 
until the 1900s when their popularity waned. 
Why, I don't know.  
I love hydrangeas! 

My heart is happy that they are popular once again. 

These gigantic blooms were in the local grocery store this week. 
Four came home with me, and
I have adopted them as part of the family. 
I am trying to dry them and hope they retain their colors. 

Obviously, these were grown someplace beside Texas 
since these blooms look decidedly like Fall, 
and it was over 100° here today. 
And predicted highs are 104°, 102°, 102°... 
Definitely not Fall in Texas, yet. 
Not even close... 
Won't be Fall for another two months... 

 As these dry, the veins in the petals become more pronounced. 
Just breathtaking! 

Recently, I discovered a whole collection of hydrangea-designed 
home decor items. 

Be still my heart! 

Art imitates life. 

Surrounding my old butter churn filled with the 
real drying hydrangea blooms are the hydrangea-designed 
paper plates, bridge card set, scented candle with keepsake box, 
matches, soap dish, large wooden tray, and kitchen cotton towel. 

Now I can enjoy looking at hydrangeas all the time. 
Even in the dead of winter... 

The decorated pieces mimic the beauty of the real thing. 

The kitchen towel has multiple colors of hydrangeas. 
The colors in the real hydrangeas vary from bloom to bloom, 
and even within the individual petals on each bloom 
the colors vary.  

Blues, lavenders, mauves, yellows, pinks, greens,... 
From soft pastels to dark jewel tones... 

The old butter churn was a find in a yard sale along a country highway 
in rural Tennessee forty-one years ago. 

We weren't looking for a yard sale as we traveled from north Alabama 
to Washington, D.C. 
No, the yard sale found us. 
But, my car has always known how to stop unexpectedly, 
brake for yard sales, turn around for flea markets...  
years before junking attracted mainstream America 
to the 127 Corridor Sale. 

Old French postcards from a Paris flea market 
(yes, the metro braked for flea markets in Paris) 
are right at home with the script-decorated 
French hydrangea items. 

Photos taken from different angles cause the colors to look differently. 

It is amazing how the entire photo has a different color cast 
based on the angle of the shot and the direction of the light source.  
From any angle, I love the hydrangeas. 

The watering can with the hydrangeas rings true.  
Hydrangeas require lots of water. 

Fingers crossed the real hydrangeas 
will retain their color and shape as they dry. 

Regardless, the beauty of the hydrangea-decorated 
items will last for years to come. 
Each time I look at them I will remember 
the real French hydrangeas that filled 
our house with their beauty. 
And, I will remember the joy of finding 
the old churn, used as a hydrangea vase,  
along a rural road in Tennessee 
during a happy road-trip. 
Full disclosure---
Botanic Bleu will sell hydrangea-decorated 
items in a Country French Christmas event 
beginning Nov. 30, 2013, in Mansfield, Tx.  
No compensation was provided 
by the manufacturer for this post or 
at any other time.
My blogiversary Give-Away is 
going on through Sept. 2, 2013. 
If you would like to win a ceramic message board, 
see how to enter at the link below.
Blogiversary Give-Away
Some lucky reader is going to win
the fleur-de-lis decorated board
just in time to write fall messages.


  1. Oooh they're gorgeous - such beautiful colors -
    I have dried hydrangeas all over but they tend to be greens and rusts
    And I never knew they originated in Japan!!!
    Have a wonderful wknd

  2. Hmmm. Thanks for the Hydrangea facts. Who knew??
    I have dried ones all over the home. Greens, tans, browns and blues. LUV them... My bush out did itself this season, and is still going.
    Wishing you a wonderful holiday weekend.
    Hugs, Gee

  3. Absolutely gorgeous! I am wishing I had stalked my Hydrangea growing neighbors in Alabama when we lived there. We planted a blue one, but there were already 50 small bushes of other varieties on our property that I didn't grow a bunch. Some of the neighbors had a lot of them, I should have asked. Ah, shoulda, woulda, coulda, but didn't. Regrets about not pursuing some to dry. Where we live in AZ Hydrangeas won't grow, though I've had a couple of grocery store plants, they never last. Perhaps in the mountainous areas they would grow, but not here in the desert. Thank you for sharing your beautiful bounty!

  4. Look at you! You are becoming the go to place for Hydrangea inspiration!
    Your French Hydrangea vignette is beautiful from every angle! The play of light and color in the last image melts into the eyes!
    Have a lovely weekend, Judith!

  5. They are gorgeous, Judith. I was looking at the fall hydrangeas at Central Market this afternoon. They are exquisite in their coloring. I have some that I dried years ago, and they kept their color. I think it's time to buy a new batch, let them dry, and then refresh my container of dried hydrangeas.
    Your assortment of hydrangea themed goods is also gorgeous. Love the box for the candle. It would be a keeper for me!
    Enjoy your holiday weekend! ~ Sarah

  6. Hello Judith

    Oh I'm a hydrangea girl too!
    I adore the soft muted colors - all your hydrangea themed items look wonderful and so beautifully labelled and presented - you've captured their lovely romanticism - congratulations!
    I love everything and I know they will whizz out the door for presents.
    Oh if only I didn't live on the other side of the world - I want to be there at the Country French Christmas market in November.
    I'll be thinking of you!

    hugs and love
    Shane xox

  7. Be still your heart is right~ everything is breathtaking indeed. I am drying hydrangeas right now. I can't decide if a dried hydrangea wreath would look good in January on the door. My mom says yes. Do you think that would look too prematurely spring-like?

    I loved reading this post. I would love to have some French postcards. Maybe next year. I'm sure you cherish them.

    Hugs, Dana

  8. Hydrangeas are my favorite flowers! I love all of the varied colors!

  9. Oh, look at all these lovelies today - the candle, the Hydrangeas, the vase. It all looks so pretty on your table. I love the colors too.

    Happy September!


  10. You are right about them needing a lot of water. I'm just getting ready to put some I had in pots in the ground and I hope they make it. I let them get too dry. Beautiful post and lovely photos!


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