I have grown H. m. 'Monrey' (Buttons'N'Bows) alongside 'Harlequin' this year. Both have flowered and look identical. Are they the same?
I think they are the same. I once asked Hydrangeas Okus about that and they said they thought those two were same plant. If your are planning to order, I would choose based on price. The blooms look alike, both bloom on old wood and have similar height/width/zone requirements.
Yes, I am now convinced they are the same. The fact that Monrovia has been able to register Buttons'n'Bows as a Trademark name makes a nonsense of the whole procedure. I guess the purpose is to enable a higher price to be charged for the Trademarked name.
Here is a link that might be useful: Heritage Hydrangeas
Ohhh, they would not do that... would they? Hee, hee, hee! Lord, oh lord. I hear you!
You are all correct!
I've mentioned this before, but it's important to notice that as a grower, you can TRADEMARK a 'brand' name SANS any genetic similarities to other plants. The real differences occur in the US PATENT office. To summarize, if you want to be sure you're getting a unique plant, make sure it has a US Patent entry.
Ultimately, to this point it appears that most picotee-flowered plants are a PITA to get to flower in harsh climates. There simply have not been any breakthroughs here, so use at your own risk. (This filters all the way down to plants like Peppermint which do have a patent but carry only the guarantee of "might flower once with adequate protection").