High Geraniums

To my mother, this was a “high geranium”.

And when I was a child, they were “high geraniums” to me too. I wonder how old I was when I learned that the actual name was hydrangea?   I wonder if I ever told Mom the real name? Evidently not, because I don’t remember her ever calling them anything but high geraniums. The photo above was taken a couple of days ago at Motor Man’s parents’ house. They have several beautiful blue hydrangeas.

This next photo was taken at Bacon’s Castle.  If you look carefully, you’ll see that there are actually pink and blue blooms on the same shrub. We’ve been told that the reason for two colors on the same plant has something to do with the lime in the old bricks of the nearby house.    

One memory I have of blue hydrangeas, back when they were still “high geraniums”, was of the one growing beside our front porch steps of my childhood home. Those brilliant blue flowers meant summertime: playing on the porch in the early morning sun, going barefoot in the front yard grass, swinging on the porch swing, and best of all, no school. My sister told me that one very dry summer when she was a teenager, she hauled water by the pail to that hydrangea to keep it alive.

Another blue hydrangea memory happened one summer night in a country church in a neighboring county. Our junior choir, of which I was a member, was there for a revival service.  This was before churches, especially small country ones, had air conditioning. Most likely, it was sometime in August and it was unbearably hot.  I seem to recall the Baptist preacher being especially long-winded this particular night. The flowers at the front of the church were blue hydrangeas. I thought they were the coolest, most refreshing shade of blue I’d ever seen. Looking at them may have helped me survive that church service.

Marshall knows that blue hydrangeas are special to me, so a few years ago, he gave me one for Easter. But, because of our soil, each year when it blooms, it’s pink. Maybe one day, I’ll do some research to determine what nutrients I can add to the soil to change the blooms back to their original blue.

But even though blue is my favorite,  I have to admit this is one pretty little pink hydrangea high geranium.


23 responses to “High Geraniums

  1. Gorgeous.

    Mine are the parfait type — pink and green. Such a beautiful bush and I love your story. 🙂

  2. Lovely post! When I was little my aunt had a huge bush that was white. She called it a snowball bush – which is what we called it, too, of course! I’m sure now it was a hydrangea. Ritchey planted three ‘high geraniums’ this year – I think one is white, one lavender and one a pale pink. I guess we’ll have to wait till they bloom to know for sure!

  3. Beautiful photographs. Bill’s dad used to put nails in the soil around the plant to change the colors. I like your pink one though.

  4. Gorgeous pink bush! My #2 daughter had blue hydrangeas for her December wedding.
    Wonderful stories in one post and wonderful title as you remember your mother.

  5. I remember that summer when I was a teenager very well…I hauled plenty of pails of water to that hydrangea. But I loved it and didn’t want it to die. IT was worth the work. Your pink hydrangea is beautiful…it must like where it is. But like Doris, I’ve heard that if you put rusty nails in the soil, it will change the color to blue.

  6. I had a beautiful bush (very small) last year and Ward put it in a bush cover(for protection) from winter and took the cover off to early and the frost killed it, as I guess it was so tender. But , I have never had a green thumb like my mother and your mother and our aunts. However, this little old lovely black woman from Hampton overheard me (in Walmart) say I loved gardenias and shegave me a small bush and I have to tell you it had 1 bloom this year. and smelled so lovely I am very proud of my gardenia.Your high geranium is lovely——-and you must have your moms’ touch!!!!!!! love u…………………………….jj

  7. they’re beauties. i wouldn’t even attempt to grow them here in our severe heat…

  8. The multicolored blooms at the Castle were a hit with a lot of the visitors.. They can be conversation starters, too. I’ve overhead several customers in the shop refer to them as “high-geraniums.” I’ll usually tell them my grandmother called them that, too – and that’s all it takes ……… Great pics, as always!

  9. You are such a good storyteller! These posts will be so fun to look back on down the road. Love high geraniums, I mean hydrageas – esp. the blue too, but your pink one is just as lovely.

  10. Lovely photos and stories…made me remember my brother calling the pachysandra planted around our house “sackapandra”…of course, the name stuck. We all still call it that to this day!

  11. I love this story! I’ve never heard them called high geranuims and I find it as charming as your childhood memories!

  12. You’ve made me think back to my childhood. I remember huge blue hydrangeas in the front of my Mommom’s brick home. I also remember her big back yard but not a thing about the inside of her house. You wanna bet we weren’t allowed in very often?

  13. Hydrangeas are really cheerful. Blues pretty, but I like your Pink one too. It’s funny how soil can change a flower’s color. I think the color change gives it an extra bit of charm. I bet your Mom is smiling to see you and your son continue to share the beauty and love of the high geranium. 🙂

  14. How sweet!! It does sound exactly that way! I have two but they aren’t blooming much this year; I think I pruned them at the wrong time last year. I have put lime around one of mine, trying to make it pink, but it refuses to change colors. I love your pink one, I guess because they seem to be rare.

  15. Too pretty!! I have some tall flowers growing outside my home that I have no idea what they are… I may have to take a photo and see if you can tell me what they are! I wish I had a green thumb… I even tried buying some potted flowers and they lasted all of one month. 😦

  16. I have never heard them called High Geraniums either but I think I shall from now on!
    Really liking the multi-colored one at Bacon’s Castle. Gorgeous.
    I just love your stories!

  17. oh, that’s such a sweet little story. love it.

  18. Great story. “Snowball bushes” is what they were called where I grew up. My mom said a rusty nail in the soil would create the acidic condition that would change the color to blue. I kinda like the pink, though. 🙂

  19. great story….these were my mom’s favorite and we always called them “snowballs”. i have pink, blue and purple and whatever bush i am standing in front of is my favorite!!!!

  20. I love this post, Dianna. Cute story about the high geraniums! They are so pretty, too. I bought my first one this year and planted it. It had pink and blue blooms and now it’s done blooming, I think. Hope it survives! Your pink is very pretty.

  21. Shirley Matthews Dunn

    When I was growing up we called them snowballs, therefore it was the
    snowball bush. I have one now at my home, whiich started as a potted plant and is now a bush. Over the years the colors have changed to pink and blue on the same bush!

  22. My mom calls them high geraniums too. Actually she just said and so I Googled to see if they actually exist and your site popped up. Funny!

  23. Banana peels will change the colors from pink to blue. They may fade into white the first year but the potassium level is the key. Be

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