Hydrangeas Living on the Edge

At the edge of our next door neighbor’s property, just touching ours, are two hydrangeas. Jean – a previous owner of that property  and the woman who planted these bushes – told me that they are Nikko Blues.*  To show their intended color, Nikko Blues require applications of acidic fertilizer when they are grown in alkaline soils such as we have in Kansas. Unless the ph of the soil is lowered, the color of Nikko Blues is unstable, ranging all the way over to dark pink. No one fertilizes the bushes next door anymore. Nevertheless, they have a beauty of their own. Unlike their showy true blue relations, these are subtle and sweet-looking, blooming away in the shade. The photos below are ones that I took yesterday. They are all of flower clusters on the same bush.

* To be honest, I am not certain that these are Nikko Blue Hydrangea bushes, though I am inclined to trust Jean. I have been reading up on the subject on hydrangea identification and am thoroughly confused. These are most definitely not Oakleaf, Lacecap or Annabelle Hydrangeas – which leaves Mopheads and Paniculatas. (Nikko Blues are Mopheads.) The leaf formation rules out the Paniculata family; but the flowers open white and then turn a pale pink or blue, which would seem to rule out the Mophead family. Plus they don’t seem to have a full “mophead” – though I suppose this could be due to growing conditions. If anyone has any thoughts on identifying these bushes, I would be happy to know them. We have 6 hydrangeas in our yard, but I don’t consider myself an expert hydrangeas at large. Whether Nikko Blues or something else, I am always happy to see these bushes in bloom.