In the last few weeks, hydrangea blossoms have turned Kyoto into a kaleidoscope of petals. Their hues run the whole gambit of colors, from white to the deepest of purples. A student told me this week that the flowers are known as the “fickle” flower, since over the years, the hue you planted is not always the hue that blooms. Because of this, many Japanese look at the hydrangea like a fickle lover’s heart — at one time being with you, but then changing color, and passions, for another.
In the West, the language of flowers has often said that hydrangea mean gratefulness, or, on the negative end of the spectrum, vanity. Whatever their meaning, they are gorgeous, and in Kyoto, are not to be missed!