Hydrangea paniculata is distinguished by its rocket-shaped bracts, which erupt from the border like fireworks. These go through shades of green and white as they mature, with some varieties such as ‘Vanilla fraise’ eventually turning pink. Unlike mophead hydrangeas, which are best left unpruned, ‘paniculatas’ can be cut to the ground after flowering in order to stay within bounds.

Hydrangeas are woodland plants and most prefer to grow in semi-shade while the climber Hydrangea petiolaris, is the perfect plant for covering a north-facing wall.

Hydrangeas grow easily from cuttings and in just a few short years one plant can be turned into dozens.

Top Tip
Cut the flower stalks from lavenders and remove about 2.5cm off the top growth of leaves at the same time. This will help to prevent the plants from turning brown and woody at the base. A dressing of grit around the neck of the plant will also help to reduce the risk of rot over the winter.

Scottish Gardener:


  • Divide clumps of bearded iris, setting the rhizomes close to the surface of the soil.
  • Use liquid feed on plants in containers, deadheading flowers as they fade.
  • Buy spring bulbs but delay planting tulips until November.
  • Clear away spent top growth from the veg patch and add it to the compost heap.
  • Prune out old canes and tie in new ones on summer-fruiting raspberries.
  • Plant out rooted strawberry runners.
  • Protect grape vines in greenhouses from wasps.
  • Wrap celery stems in paper before earthing-up.
  • Thin summer-sown biennials.
  • Sow green manures on empty areas in the vegetable garden.
  • Take cuttings of pelargonium and osteospermum.
  • Install a water butt to catch rainwater.
  • Collect the seeds of annuals, storing it in airtight containers.
  • Top up water levels in ponds.
  • Parched grass will recover, so resist watering it during dry spells.