This compact, deciduous shrub is among the most free-flowering Hydrangeas we have ever grown, and that's not just because its season is so long. Well-branched and vigorous, it sets masses of big round "snowballs" of pink (in alkaline or lime soil) or blue (in acid soil) among its toothy, bright green leaves. The larger blooms reach 6 inches in diameter, the smaller about 4 inches, but all are magnificent in fresh or dried bouquets as well as on the plant. Very long-lasting, they lose their color only very gradually, so you can leave them on the shrub through autumn if you like.
The flowers begin in early summer in most climates (sometimes late spring in hotter areas), and that's as far as it goes for most Hydrangeas -- one big bumper crop and it's done. That's because Hydrangea traditionally blooms on "old wood," meaning last year's growth. But All Summer Beauty is one of a new breed that reblooms on the current year's growth as well! So ideally you get your usual heavy show in early summer, followed by a big encore in late summer!
Where this rebloom really comes in handy is in the north, where late frosts can freeze all the flower buds on the old wood. Even if this happens, you're guaranteed at least one good showing on the current year's growth! Gardening offers few certainties, but this is a nice little insurance policy! And then of course in those years when spring is mild, you have two full seasons of bloom. Can't beat it with a stick!
All Summer Beauty has one more trick up its sleeve: its foliage turns bright yellow before dropping in late fall. This is nice. It's not the breathtaking show that some plants put on, but it's more than most Hydrangeas can muster, and you'll love the look of these big, serrated leaves turning buttery yellow in the cool days of early fall.
Expect All Summer Beauty to reach 3 to 4 feet high and 3 to 5 feet wide. You can put it in a big container, if you like, where it will grow a bit smaller. It's also terrific in the foundation, because even though it's deciduous, the branchy upright silhouette in winter is interesting, and the flowers last forever in summer. It needs partial shade in the south, but does well in full sun farther north. And take that "Hydr-" prefix seriously in its name: keep it watered well, but with good soil drainage! Zones 5-9.