Although I am generally not a fan of the snowball-type flowers, I make an exception for the beautiful Pee Gee which is short for Hydrangea Paniculata.
My sister-in-law (I don't know that she'd want her name here so we'll refer to her as sister-in-law, shall we?) is a flower importer and she used to do big business in dried flower arrangements - she was Queen of the dried flowers at a very nice local flea market and she introduced me to Pee Gee. These grow prolifically in our region (thank goodness something grows well here!) and my sister-in-law would request permission from cemeteries to cut the blossoms when they are at the height of their colours - which is in October when really, they would otherwise be covered in snow and turn tan anyways. I would drive bye houses with huge Pee Gees at their most magnificent stage in colours and I can tell you the temptation to go knock on the owner's door to make the request to allow my sister-in-law to pick them was very strong but in the end I never had the courage.
Incidentally, the dried flower business has complety gone out the window thanks to the popularity of Feng Shui. Sister-in-law no longer does business in them but I suspect, just like everything else, the fashion for drieds will be back and I'll be glad to partake in the beauty of dried flowers again - I'm not so good with live ones inside the house you see.. Oh and I love Feng Shui by the way...I've practiced it and really enjoy this book which I loaned to a friend and lost track of 'said friend' and now no longer have the book, rats.
Once I saw these beauties in my sister-in-law's arrangements I knew I had to grow PeeGees. When we first moved into this house in April 2010, one of the first plants we planted were two Pee Gee's which I believe are the Shrub version. We do absolutely nothing for them and yet they are thriving and this year some of the blossoms are as big as well, hmmm...what are they as big as...well, I have Peanut and Angie sleeping on either side of me as I type this and I'd say one of those big blossoms is as big as half the size of a Pug or Rat Terrier. Pretty big, eh?
The big surprise about these stunning blooms is that they are initially pure (boring to me, sorry fellow gardeners who love snowballs in the garden) white. Then they turn the killer gorgeous green you see in the photos and that slowly fades to pink....then if you manage to keep them long enough, the pink turns mauve. I've saved some from last year - I just can't get rid of them! In a few years I suspect every room and flat surface in this house will be covered in Pee Gees. Here are the Hydrangea blooms I've saved from Fall of 2010 - they have faded but the pink is now mauve. Wow, right? Indeed....
|1 year old Pee Gee blooms|
And here are those blooms freshly picked last year...
Peanut? How'd you get in here?
|what? where am I...?|
And these very same flowers have inspired me to combine the following yarn colours - I still haven't decided what the yarn will become but it will be gorgeous.
|Look at that mauve in the flowers...lovely...|
Finally, as I'm sure you are now all Pee Gee'd - out (I have so many photos of these on my laptop, it was hard to not share more) - here are the "early" Pee Gee blossoms I Picked just today. They are still mostly green but that green is beautiful. I'll wait before I pick the rest - for them to turn a bit more pink. I have plenty of platters waiting to hold them - I like to just place them on a vintage platter as I do not have my sister-in-law's arrangement skills.
Fall 2011 early Pee Gees....
I need to get more Pee Gee's...