A Cape Cod B&B Welcome

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


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.