Before I moved to this neck of the woods my opinion of hydrangeas veered between ‘ambivalent’ and ‘unimpressed’. Slowly, however, I have been won over, especially by some of the less grown varieties. One of these is the oak-leaved hydrangea, Hydrangea quercifolia. Above is a toothed leaf, yet to succumb to autumn metamorphosis, set-off beautifully by its far more advanced bronze colleague below. Anyone who is hydrangea-phobic should test their resolve by taking a closer look at this North American native. Impressive deeply lobbed leaves turn shades of red and purple and bronze in the autumn, upside down ice cream cones of pure white flowers which fade to pink appear in summer. It is far more tolerant of both sun and dry soils than its cousin the more common mophead, Hydrangea macrophylla. Both beautiful and adaptable. Irresistible.