Growing up, there were hydrangeas. I never really paid them any mind though as they were usually at the corner of the house with their pastel blossoms. By August they were essentially just sticks with brown dried blossoms somehow still attached. It had something to do with the name too, particularly pronounced in the Southern accent: high-drain-ya. While the Southern accent can lend a bit of romantic flavor to flowers like the magnolia, it does no favors for hydrangeas. It took me forever to figure out how to properly spell the word since the word I knew couldn't be phonetically dissected.
Then I moved to Japan where I learned that the plant is a rainy season plant so the annual Florida drought is not on the hydrangea's side. I really fell in love with the plant, or ajisai, the way it is in Japan, with rich, lush green leaves and vibrant orbs of deep blue, purple, and pink. Pastel versions are around, though I tend to ignore them for their darker neighbors.
At the end of summer, the ajisai will be cut down to nubby sticks in order to survive the long winter. Somehow they manage to resurrect themselves every year. We have a little potted ajisai now, with the most beautiful blossoms of them all. Unfortunately Jason forgot to water it while they were still thriving so I have no pictures to share. This year.