H is for Hydrangea Leaves

Oak Leaf HydrangeaYou may not recognize these because they’re the leaves of the Oakleaf Hydrangea just as they were coming out a few weeks ago. They had a beautiful silver tinge to their fuzzy edges. It’s fun to see things differently at different times of the year.

One Of Nature’s Mysteries to Solve

Hey there!

Here’s a flower we wonder if you recognize!

Mystery #122

Let us have your guesses in the comments!

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Hey, this might be a little harder. This part I showed above is probably overlooked by you humans, but Ms. Flora assures me the little starburst structures are the real flowers of this plant. How about a photo hint? 

Bracts on Oak Leaf Hydrangea

Recognize these ‘flower’ sepals, as Ms. Flora calls them? And backing up farther…

Oak Leaf Hydrangea flowers

Look familiar? How about the leaves?

Oakleaf Hydrangea, Hydrangea quercifolia, is a native shrub we’ve shown before because the humans in our neighborhood have planted it. People seem to like it because of the long blooming period. That sets Ms. Flora to laughing. The ‘flowers’, which you now know are the smaller, delicate parts inside the flower head, finish their blooming in short order. You can even see the white dusting of the petals on the leaves below. The stiffer sepals, which are more like a leaf structure, stick around a very long time.

Oak Leaf Hydrangea shrub

If that what it takes to get a native shrub planted, we’ll keep the secret to ourselves. 🙂

O is for Oakleaf Hydrangea

Sooo, usually we squirrel like to point out Oak trees for our Blogging A to Z Challenge. But we think you already know how important oaks are to squirrels–and they are starting to leaf out now! Boy, are those buds tender and tasty!

Oak trees

This year, let’s look at a lesser known oak plant that isn’t really an oak at all. Oakleaf Hydrangea, Hydrangea quercifolia, is a native shrub that has been in these parts longer than azaleas.

Oak Leaf Hydrangea

It doesn’t produce acorns, but the flowers at the start of summer are nice. We write tons about Oakleaf Hydrangea in the past, so won’t repeat it; just read here!

So that’s our plug for giving a native a try. Leap your day away!

Cool and Shady

We end up running all over our neighborhood, even between the houses where most humans don’t see the hidden garden corners. This human has made the best of a shady canyon between townhouses.

Shade Garden

Not even Ol’ Wally remembers, but this spot must have been wet; now a  gravel surface lets the water flow by.

shady fern garden

Nice ferns, huh? The shrubs are native Oak Leaf Hydrangeas, Hydrangea quercifolia. The stone wall contains the plants, and keeps them out of traffic—not to mention, we’ve seen a skink or two living in those crevices.