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Flowers 101: Hydrangeas

I'm a huge fan of Barefoot Contessa and this week I thought I would feature her favorite flower - one she grows in her garden and uses frequently in her simple centerpieces and awesome arrangements - hydrangeas. There are over 70 species of hydrangeas and the flowers bloom from early spring to late autumn. They grow on shrubs in light shade/filtered sun and in moist soil. Hydrangeas have rounded heads and large, coarse, glossy dark green leaves. Similar to broccoli, the flowers grow in bunches at the end of stems. The majority of hydrangea species grow white although some bloom in blue, red, pink, or purple with the color depending on the acidity level (pH level) of the soil. Blue hydrangeas get their color from the aluminum in the soil. If growing hydrangeas remember that they need lots of water and a large hole approximately two feet across and one foot deep. Hydrangeas name is derived from two Greek words: meaning vessel and water due to the fact that their seed-pods resemble that of a water vessel. In bouquets, hydrangeas combine well with lilacs and they are great for drying.

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