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I mentioned to a co-worker that I was going to Bute Park to take photos of hydrangeas after I’d finished my voluntary work and got this response: ‘Hydrangeas? Bleh! They’re so boring!’ Well, I beg to differ.

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Not only are they relatively hardy and widespread around the world, they also come in a range of gorgeous colours (whites, blues, pinks and purples and every shade in between) and forms (shrubs, small trees and even climbers).

They are much loved plants in Asian countries, where a tea made from one particular variety, Hydrangea serrata, features in celebrations for Buddha’s birthday on 8 April – the tea is both poured over statues of Buddha and consumed by those attending the ceremonies. And, as with many flowers, the pink hydrangea has a range of special meanings, the loveliest of which I think is ‘You are the beat of my heart’. What could be more special than that?

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