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Speaker: Dr. Michael A. Dirr
In the late ’90s and early ’00s, there was precious little known in the way of credible garden worthy introductions of hydrangeas. ‘Nikko Blue’, among the macrophyllas, was dominant along with the French legacy cultivars such as ‘Mme. Emile Mouillere’, ‘Ami Pasquier’, and ‘Mariesii’. Paniculatas were still dominated by ‘Grandiflora’ while H. quercifolia favorites were ‘Snowflake’ and ‘Snow Queen’. H. arborescens was represented by ‘Annabelle’. The sea change occurred with the Endless Summer® series (Original® in 2004), which embodied the reblooming/remontant genes. Soon breeders were at the work bench hoping to compete. Dr. Dirr’s 2019 checklist of H. paniculata cultivars lists more than 170, including about 50 introduced since 2004. It’s an exciting time for hydrangeas as breeders continue to be more innovative. Let’s talk!