The well-loved plant has a long flowering season that begins in July and lasts for a period of about a month up to six weeks—a perfect choice for summer visitors and second homeowners on the island. The shrubs then transition into a soft rosy-beige color during an “antique” stage that lasts through late fall. Many year-rounders have been known to decorate their Christmas trees with dried hydrangeas.
“A large number of cultivars come into their coloration in their antique period. Properly cured, best dried on the bush, they can be brought into the house for the winter,” says Mal. “You can’t beat that. It is something unique to hydrangeas.”
Mary Kay delights in describing her job at the hydrangea farm as “chief waterer and weeder.” Some folks simply call her husband the Hydrangea Man. “What else was I going to do after 14 years as an innkeeper?” she asks.
Mal was an engineer by profession and has maintained many contacts with growers around the country and in Europe, often bringing home cuttings from these locales. New Zealand is a favorite winter destination for the Condons, the country often called the land of the Holy Grail of Macrophylla. “It is the most temperate climate on earth,” Mal notes.