The Royal Horticulture Society Issues Final Report

About 150 years ago German physician and botanist Philipp Franz von Siebold introduced Hydrangea paniculata ‘Grandliflora’, the Pee Gee Hydrangea, from Japan to the Western World. For nearly a century, Grandiflora reigned supreme and was the only cultivar available to buy. It was so ubiquitous that people eventually came refer to the whole species as Pee Gee Hydrangeas.

Today the market has been flooded with cultivars and we have over 40 selections to choose from. I’ve grown most of these selections and have chosen my favorites. Limelight and Pinky Winky Hydrangea are most certainly the top two plants on my list. Well scientists at the Royal Horticulture Society in England appear to a similar opinion.

The Royal Horticulture Society just completed a five year evaluation of 47 Hydrangea paniculata cultivars. The results are in – Limelight and Pinky Winky (‘DVPpinky’) earned the highest rating of Excellent (3 stars) and both were awarded the prestigious AGM – RHS Award of Garden Merit. And how did Pee Gee fair? It received the lowest possible rating of no stars – (average to poor).

While I sincerely appreciate the time and effort the RHS put into this study - in the end this trial is kind of like those scientific studies that go to great lengths to prove what we already know.


  1. I didn't need five years to evaluate Pinky Winky, either. On first sight,it took a nano-second.
    Makes one wonder why there is a Royal Horticultural Society in the first place and why anyone would choose to join, if invited.

  2. Hi Tim~~ I always enjoy your insider's take on things.

    Poor Grandpa PeeGee gets no respect. All the cultivated offspring get it instead. Hardly seems fair.

    I thought Pinky was a newbie but apparently the RHS has been hording it for a few years. :) My brain is working on a patch of bare earth for my own Pinky. My garden buddy bought one last year but I hesitated. NO MORE. I'm sold.

  3. Anonymous9:28 AM

    Pinky Winky gets 5 Stars. Seems to be the greatest improvement to this beautiful plant ever! It's as hardy and healthy as 'Grandiflora' and is doing suberbly in our garden in western part of central Finland. Big plus are those huge florets which keeps on flowering for the longest time and keeps on giving that flash of color.

    Our garden is in zone 3 following location:,24.574785&spn=0.020713,0.076904&z=14


  4. I should let everyone know that I am a proud member of the RHS. You all know that I was just having a bit of fun - Studies like this are very useful as they help to clear up nomenclature problems, mixes and help guide growers and the public to the best varieties.

    I also love their magazine THE GARDEN. It is a first class publication.

  5. No, I disagree about your take on scientific studies. Have you always been two steps ahead of the RHS studies???

    East Lansint

  6. I have both and love them. My favorite is Limelight. I knew you were teasing---but then again---I knew I liked Limelight before anyone officially declared it the best.

    I'm getting ready to order 7 White Ball buddleias :)

  7. chuck7:50 AM

    I planted a row of Pinky winky a year ago and was beautiful. Yesterday added Limelight and Strawberry vanilla. Hope the latter lives up to its picture.


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