It seems everyone loves hydrangeas. They are sold everywhere and often have huge marketing campaigns behind them. This is all understandable; there are so many different hydrangeas available that it has become overwhelming. The hydrangea in this photo is Hydrangea arborescens, usually called smooth hydrangea or wild hydrangea. From this species we get "Annabelle", a very popular variety widely available. As the photo shows, the location this particular plant is thriving in tells us much about site requirements- cool, moist, shady, acidic location with protection from the desiccating winters of central Ohio. These conditions can be hard to replicate in the typical home landscape, but this species hold up fairly well in older neighborhoods in Columbus. The mind boggling array of color-changing Hydrangeas is another ball of wax altogether. Here in Franklin County, these derivatives of Hydrangea macrophylla, an Asian species, generally don't perform very well despite their presence anywhere plants are sold. They perform much better in more acidic soil with a more mild winter. The picture below was taken in Portland, Oregon where these are in almost every yard, and the growing conditions are much more favorable. Absolutely stunning!