Aug. 28, 2013. Summer is coming to an end, and all around Blowing Rock blue, white and pink hydrangea flowers can be seen showing their stuff just before the chill sets in. If you were planning a trip for site-seeing or shopping, now is the time to get in your car and head off to Blowing Rock or Bass Lake to see hydrangea season in full bloom.
Hydrangeas have been a part of the area for at least a century, but how they came to be here is a mystery in itself. The rumor is that Blowing Rock was once known as the Hydrangea Capital of the South.
It is true that a great number of hydrangeas grow in the area. Nearly 1,500 hydrangeas were once reported to grow at Bass Lake near Moses Cone Manor. In front of Blowing Rock’s House of Commerce, large lovely hydrangea bushes are planted and there is the annual Hydrangea Ball at Blowing Rock Country Club.
All of these point to the fact that hydrangeas are a part of our present and our past, but still no concrete evidence is available to point to Blowing Rock as the Hydrangea Capital. There are only a large number of flowers and a small number of whispers to draw our attention to this landscaped beauty.
About 700 hydrangeas grow on the Moses Cone property and around Bass Lake. Two large beds have been cleared of other wild debris by a group of a dozen volunteers and master gardeners. They started their work in 2005, when Thomas Lowell, on a walk around the lake, noticed the flowers tucked away beneath shady pines and unable to reach the sunlight.
The Blue Ridge Parkway Foundation funded the restoration project by donating $10,000. Master gardeners trained volunteers to properly take care of the hydrangeas and together this group brought the flower beds back to life.
“The foundation is committed to doing what we can to enhance the property at Moses Cone,” said Willa Mays, Chief Development Officer of the Blue Ridge Parkway Foundation. And they’ve stayed true to their word.
The foundation has continued to look after the flora after the restoration project. This year, the hydrangeas are being weeded of pine seedlings and come spring the pruning and fertilization will begin again.
Many of the hydrangea seen in the area are Paniculata Hydrangea. The Paniculata are named thus for their pinnacle-shape rather than the ball-shape of their relatives, the Mophead Hydrangea. The Paniculata are also known as PeeGee Hydrangea, or just PG, because of a particular Hydrangea with the botanical name Paniculata Grandflora.
For more information on hydrangeas click here.