Written by University of Georgia horticulture professor Michael Dirr, Hydrangeas for American Gardens (Timber Press, 2004, $29.95) provides clear descriptions of the different species of hydrangeas plus lists and descriptions of varieties and cultivars that are good for the landscape. There are also chapters on care and culture, propagation, pests and diseases, drying, and hydrangea breeding. This is a comprehensive books written in an engaging, personal style.
Clever Gardening Technique
Having dried hydrangeas on hand is one of the great, easy ways to use in decorating your home with dried arrangements and wreaths. The key to getting the best-looking dried hydrangeas is choosing the right time to harvest. Hydrangeas generally do bet when allowed to dry a bit on the plant before picking. It also pays to experiment and harvest at different times. Once cut, simply strip off the leaves and arrange in a vase, with or without water and leave them to dry. To retain the most natural color, dry fresh blooms in silica gel, but, trust me, this is a lot of work. It's much easier to use a spray floral-craft paint if you want some color.