It was when I moved to Shimla & quizzed some knowledgeable locals that it turned out these were hydrangeas.
Here are the results of some desultory research I made:
There are about 75 species of hydrangeas. These are spread as far and wide as southern and eastern Asia, in southern Europe and in both continents of
My friend P shares an interesting fact about hydrangeas: she says that in these species the exact colour often depends on the pH of the soil; therefore, acidic soils produce blue flowers, neutral soils produce very pale cream petals, and alkaline soils results in pink or purple. In my neighbourhood, you have blue flowers growing in profusion in one section and pretty pink ones just a few feet away! P also told me that hydrangeas can be “a mophead, lacecap, snowball type ('Annabelle'), oakleaf, or paniculata (PG) type.
I’m afraid I may not been able to tell an “Endless Summer” from a “Nikko Blue”, except to say that the ones in Shimla look like mopheads to me! R confirms that the mopheads are indeed hydrangea mycrophylla, a most common species of hydrangea all over the world.
I notice that the leaves are a thick, crisp-looking, deep green & heart-shaped. Their edges appear to be coarsely toothed. The stem seems rather short.
Today I’m in a scientific state of mind; so here are a few more facts!