Hydrangeas have always been a bit of a mystery to me. We never grew them at home as my mother associated them with the ‘big house’ and not for the likes of us ordinary farmers. So when establishing our garden I avoided them altogether. All that stuff about ‘mop heads’ and ‘lace caps’ and their colour being dependent on soil type was too much for me.

It wasn’t until about 15 years ago, when I wanted something to brighten up a north facing wall, that I gave them a try. One of the two climbing hydrangeas I planted didn’t last the winter and the second one has always struggled. I should put it out of its misery but I haven’t the heart.