The Hydrangea arborescens Annabelle, with the big, gorgeous mophead flowers is an American native plant. Who knew? Annabelle is probably the oldest and best-known Hydrangea grown in our gardens.
It was discovered in 1910 by Harriet Kirkpatrick while she was out horseback riding near her home town of Anna Illinois. She and her sister Amy collected a piece of the shrub and began growing it in their garden.
At the time, it became a passalong plant, with pieces of the green wood given to fellow gardeners to propagate for their home gardens.
The plantsman Joseph McDaniel decided to get Annabelle the recognition it deserved and in 1960 he registered the name and succeeded in getting it into the plant trade.
Hydrangea arborescens is native to the U.S. from New York to FL and LA and west to Iowa and Illinois. Now we know why they grow so well here! Because they are American natives.