Botanical mandala representing winter sun and rain
Hydrangea leaves, horsetail fern, strawflowers, loralpetalum leaves, red alder tassels, and smoky topaz

Hydrangea leaves and flowers are probably my most used “ingredient” for the botanical mandalas. Their colors change over the course of the seasons. Now the leaves have turned rusty reddish green. The flowers, once delicate pastels, have dried and become more saturated, or brown. My mother hated this plant. Not sure why, we had two of them bordering the stairs leading up to the front porch in Falls Church, Virginia. I inherited that dislike of them until recently, and I’m a convert for sure.

When we moved back to West Marin we acquired two with the house. One is massive, and this year had so many flowers that I’ve cut it back severely for next year’s growth. I hope I haven’t cut off pre-natal flowers. The second one was hidden, I wasn’t even aware of it for a year or two. It’s gotten more sun now, and has thrived. It too got a good pruning last week.

My friend Sue died last month. She had an unusually colored hydrangea. With her family’s permission I took four cuttings. They’re rooting well and will claim a permanent place in the garden come spring.

I’m happy with how this turned out. I started with the hydrangea leaves, cutting one in half to form an embrace of the large one. Then strawflowers for the light that’s returning to the days. The horsetail ferns are fresh, from a patch of them up our hill. The dried lorapetalum leaves, red alder tassels and smoky topaz are for last night’s rain.

For a good understanding of their culture and requirements, including how to turn them blue or pink (my big one has both without any intervention on my part) check out Plant Addict on hydrangeas!

You can purchase it as a print here.

Leave a Reply