Cape Cod’s Hydrangea Festival 2016

Hydrangea in front of the Palmer House Inn.

From July 8th through 17th the upper Cape Cod towns will be celebrating hydrangeas.

All colors and shapes. A full schedule can be found here.

Cape Cod Hydrangea
Hydrangea

Here is a sampling of the planned activities and events on the upper Cape:

On July 9th at 1:00 pm, author Joan Harrison will be talking about her  book , “Heavenly Hydrangeas”, at Heritage Museums and Gardens in Sandwich.  She will be talking about the tricks and giving tips about growing hydrangeas. Joan will take her guests on a one hour walk through the gardens. The event will include a book signing. For more information Call: 508-833-3300 ext. 130

Cape Cod Hydrangeas on the Porch for Breakfast
The porch before breakfast

On July 9th, 14th and 16th the hydrangea test garden at Heritage Museum and Gardens in Sandwich will be open at 10:00 am. The goal of the garden is to create the most complete hydrangea collection in the United States. For more information call:  508-833-3300 ext. 130

On July 9th, 11th, and 15th Heritage Museums and Gardens in Sandwich will be hosting, “Hydrangea Care Walks” from 10-10:45 am. The basics of caring for and maintaining hydrangeas will be discussed by the Museums horticultural staff. Care, growing situations, watering, fertilizing and mulching will be the subjects of discussion. For more information call: 508-833-3300

On July 10th from 11:00 am to 2:00 pm Highfield Hall in Falmouth will be celebrating the Hydrangea Festival. There will be three talks and garden walks.  Mal Condon, who is the collector, propagator, grower, and nurturer at Hydrangea Farms,  will speak at 11:00 am. At noon, Terry Soars who is Highfield’s landscape director, will tell visitors what is new about hydrangeas as she leads participants on a garden walk. At 12:30 Anna Holmes will give a demonstration of flower arrangements using hydrangeas. Admission for all three talks is $10.00 and it includes a free felt dirt bag. Highfield is just a 10 minute walk from the Palmer House Inn.

On July 10th, 13th and 16th Heritage Museums and Gardens in Sandwich, will host a demonstration on hydrangea pruning from 1:00 to 1:45 pm.

Hydrangea in front of the Palmer House Inn.
Hydrangea in front of the Palmer House Inn.

On July 12th and 13th Falmouth Garden Club will hold “Villages in Bloom” from 10:00 am to 4:00 pm. Four private Falmouth gardens will be open for touring rain or shine. The Palmer House Inn’s gardens will be one of the gardens on this tour. The price is $5.00 per garden. The proceeds will benefit Falmouth Museums on the Green. Tickets can be purchased in advance by calling: 508-333-4016.

Also, on July 12th from 2:30 to 5;00 the Falmouth Art Center will present ” What is New in the World of Hydrangeas”. This program will include a slide presentation and a talk about the new dwarf varieties of hydrangea as well as general care. At the conclusion of the presentation there will be an opportunity for questions and answers. Admission is $5.00.

On July 15th and 16th Aptucxet Museum in Bourn will have a paint along demonstration from 3;00 to 4:00 pm. ” The Paint Your Own Hydrangea Event”, will include all of your supplies as well as refreshments. The cost is $25.00. For a reservation, call 508-563-7938. The museum is at 24 Aptucxet Road in Bourn.

Cape Cod Wedding Cake with Hydrangea
A recent Cape Cod cake for a Palmer House wedding.

On July 16th Joan Harrison, the founder of Cape Cod Hydrangea Society and author of “Hydrangeas: Cape Cod & the Islands” and “Heavenly Hydrangeas: A Practical Guide for the Home Gardener” , will share her knowledge of manipulating color, hydrangea breeding and growing in containers. The lecture is free at 10:00 am at Soares Garden Nursery, 1021 Sandwich Road in East Falmouth.

 


Cape Cod's Stowe Room, A
Harriet Beecher Stowe room
Cape Cod's Roosevelt Room, B
Cape Cod’s Roosevelt Room, B

While all of our rooms have their own individual charm suitable for relaxation after the most wonderful day exploring Cape Cod’s most beautiful gardens, we recommend the Harriet Beecher Stowe room, the Theodore Roosevelt room or the Emily Dickinson room. These rooms feature comfortable king beds, fireplaces, jacuzzi-style tubs and a relaxing stay before and after your day.

A Cape Cod B&B Welcome

Cape Cod Hydrangeas on the Porch for Breakfast

Fresh Flowers for a Morning Cape Cod B&B Welcome

Staging the Hydrangeas, a Cape Cod B&B Welcome
Staging the Hydrangea.
Cape Cod Hydrangeas on the Porch for Breakfast
The porch before breakfast

Today we have eleven rooms checking-out and eleven rooms checking-in. Our head housekeeper, Rosy, is quietly issuing directions to her well-trained staff. Monica, one of our housekeepers, was assigned this morning to serve one of our three course breakfasts to twenty guests, which she did seamlessly. However, I did not realize that during the breakfast Rosy had asked her to make up eleven flower vases. Without skipping a beat she took my nippers from their place under the kitchen staging table and went up into the hydrangea garden, gathered the flowers and had the vases awaiting Rosy when she returned – a beautiful blue Cape Cod B&B welcome to our morning guests. These young women are truly outstanding. Oh, and Rosy, well she is a Marine Corps drill sergeant with a velvet glove. Our student housekeepers adore her, as do Bill and I. This staff accomplishes an astonishing amount of work with grace and poise.

I was talking with a guest this morning and she said that one of the things that she enjoys most about staying here is, the calm relaxed atmosphere. That is the feeling that we try to create. It feels good to know that we have achieved our goal.

Hydrangea and a Cape Cod B&B Welcome

Cape Cod Hydrangea
Hydrangea

It seems that this year’s crop of hydrangea has been especially beautiful. Perhaps it has been just the right amount of rain, sun and warm weather. Hydrangea have long been loved as Cape Cod’s quintessential flower welcoming and inspiring travelers.  They come in shades of pink, green, white, red, yellow, dwarf trees and climbing, in addition to the classic blue and white beauties. The Palmer House gardens have the blue and white mop-head variety and the less common blue lace-cap version.

Up until this past winter we had a dwarf tree that was the white conical variety. It was a real show-off at the corner of the Guest House veranda. However, during a severe nor’easter last winter six large locust trees were uprooted and one smashed down onto the hydrangea tree. When the tree workers arrived they said that the dwarf tree could not be saved. That was a very sad day because the tree had also provided some lovely shade for that quiet corner. However, much to my delight, new shoots have sprung out of the old trunk. We will not have flowers this year but I will not be surprised to see a few next August.

Cape Cod Wedding Cake with Hydrangea
A recent Cape Cod cake for a Palmer House wedding.

Hydrangea, although an old-fashioned flower in reality are not native to Cape Cod and the Islands. Their native country is Japan. However, hydrangea have long thrived in our sandy soil and moist summer climate. Over the past nine years of my tenure as the Palmer House gardener, I have learned how to care for these lovely plants.  I have discovered that although hydrangea like, at least four hours of afternoon sun, the ones that are exposed to too much sun tend to fade and wilt rapidly. Keeping them well watered takes the attention of both Bill and I and frequently the housekeepers can be seen giving them an extra afternoon drink.  Pruning is not necessary, however, I do remove the dead wood and tie a padded wire around the branches in the fall to prevent winter snow damage. Otherwise a little “Holly Tone” fertilizer and a sprinkling of aluminum sulfate each year and we have a lovely garden to behold.

Independence Day Showoffs

Cape Cod Hydrangea

Cape Cod is known for its beautiful hydrangeas and the Palmer House gardens have several types.

Hydrangea in the Cape Cod Bed and Breakfast Garden.
Hydrangea in the garden.

 

 

White Hydrangia in the Cape Cod Bed and Breakfast Garden.
White hydrangea in the garden.

We have the classic white and blue pom poms, and the lace caps that are in bloom now. We also have conical hydrangeas that will bloom later in the season. They are so abundant this year that I have been putting a vase of hydrangeas in each guest room.