The Pope Gardens in Castel Gandolfo were beautiful, but what stuck out to me more than anything was a flower that literally seemed to stick at me. As I walked through the shaded sidewalks throughout the garden I was constantly drawn to and touched by a plant that looked as if were heavily sprinkled by mother nature herself onto the perennial boarder of the sidewalk. The flowers themselves reminded me of fake afro wigs (which you can tell by my picture), these flowers varied from white to blue to lavender in various locations throughout the boarder. I could not figure out why the same plant had so many different tendencies to create a flower with so many variances of color throughout the network of plants the sidewalks housed. As I recalled what I learned in class, it came to me these plants were hydrangeas. Yet still baffled by the various colors of flowers they produced. I asked around and did some research of my own and come to find out the particular plant I was having so much fun with was commonly known as the Mophead hydrangea or known to Dr. Starman and Dr. Leo as Hydrangea macrophylla.
There are approximately 23 species of hydrangeas and over 1,200 varieties. The particular plant I was looking at can produce varying colored flowers because of the differing levels of aluminum in the soil. Plants grown in a alkaline soil with a high pH (above 6) will typically produce red or pink flowers, those grown in low pH soils (below 6) will display blue or lavender flowers. This change in pH cannot influence all species of Hydrangeas but it can influence my favorite species which in my eyes is good enough for me. So this one is to you mophead flower, keep growing the color fro’s and I will return to see how it looks on me in years to come!