The Abundance of Hydrangea’s on the Azores Islands

Heart-shaped HydrangeaThe Azores islands are 9 exotic islands, located in the mid-Atlantic ocean which have a delicate, narrow weather pattern. The islands are known for their unique flora and fauna which extends far past the endemic plants of the island. Introduced here in the 17th century, the hydrangea plant is by far the most recognized symbol of the region.11349932_10203735467501030_1209490782_nIt is on these islands that you can find countless colors, shapes and sizes of these beautiful flowers. It is hard to say which island has more hydrangeas as the highways and countryroads are lined with these flowers. Here you can see various shades of blue, pink and white hydrangeas in the spring and summer months when they are in full bloom.colorful flowers on islandThe island of Faial is known as the blue island due to the thousands of blue hydrangeas that blanket the island’s landscape. Hydrangeas are a shade-loving plant that requires moist, fertile, well-drained soil. When grown correctly,  the flowers are incredibly blue, which is due to the acid in the soil and the high aluminum content. If you don’t know the pH of your soil, you can still grow hydrangeas, the flowers will simply bloom pink or white (depending on the type of plant) instead of turning blue.42770425_mlIt’s easy to test the pH of your soil if you buy a pH test kit or pH meter. The pH scale ranges from 0 to 14.  Acid soils have a pH of 6.5 or less.  A pH of 7 is neutral.  Alkaline soils have a pH of 7.5 or more.  Hydrangeas grow best in soil that has a pH of 5.0 – 5.5. It is possible in the same garden to have various colors of hydrangeas as the pH balance can vary in different areas making these plants a colorful addition to any garden. hydrangeafaialHydrangeas are very popular in the east coast of the United States and are able to grow in various shades of blue as well. If you go to the Hampton’s, Martha’s Vineyard or Nantucket you will most likely see these large beautiful plants adorning the countryside homes and town gardens. It is said it was brought to Nantucket from Azorean fisherman who relocated to the island for better living conditions.d4ee0-524863_475563832492639_166402111_nWhen the ladies where setting sail with their husbands on their transatlantic journey from the Azores to America they brought their prized hydrangea seeds with them, hoping to cultivate the plant in their new homeland of Nantucket. As you can see the flowers are present everywhere in the Azores and especially in Faial and Sao Miguel where every local has the colorful plant growing in their garden. It is illegal to pick the hydrangeas from the public gardens or countryside as they play a crucial role in mainting the beauty of the roadways for both locals and tourists.sao_miguel_azoresThe first thing travellers always inquire about when visiting the Azores is how there are so many hydrangea flowers everywhere and who maintains them? The answer is the towns that the plants are located all have a responsibility in maintaing a certain level of flora along the roadside with locals working at the “Junta” cutting, trimming and planting these beautiful flowers annually. faiasl

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