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Last of the Hydrangea for the Year

Last year I fell in love with hydrangeas. I admit that before coming to Japan I thought they were ridiculous plants. In America they just seemed like another high maintenance ornamental with big blooms. I saw little that was redeeming.

Perhaps it is their ubiquity here (nearly every home has at least one) and the fact that they're a native plant. (I was astonished to see them growing high on a cliff ledge during our visit last summer to Hokkaido's Daisetzuan National Park.) Their colors range from pink to mauve to blue to purple to white with densely clustered blooms as well as airy clusters of flowers that look like they orbit a galaxy of other tiny blooms.

And now, the blooms are coming to an end. Most of the bushes in the area are heavy with fading poms whose edges are turning brown and curling in more each day. Tucked it seems in every corner, I've enjoyed again their sparks of light along shady paths and peeking over fences. Until next year, Ajisai.

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