Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Hydrangeas

I love Hydrangeas! It was not until I moved to the South that I was first introduced to these lovely shrubs. How did we live without them in Ohio? I think Ohio would have been a much more pleasant place with Hydrangeas.

Hydrangeas prefer early morning sun followed by afternoon shade. They do not like the late afternoon sun that causes their leaves to wilt, but with enough water, they can tolerate these conditions. Some hydrangeas are flexible in color and will bloom blue in acidic soil (add sulfur) and pink in alkaline soil (add lime). White hydrangeas always bloom white and green hydrangeas always bloom green.

We currently have five hydrangeas, all different species. Let me show you some of them!

I'll start with my favorite, because you might get bored with this long post, and I really want to share this one with you - the Endless Summer Blushing Bride. Check out that dark green foliage and snow white mopheads. This bush was just planted this year in May, so it is still quite small, but it will reach 4' x 4' at maturity.

blushing bride endless summer hydrangea

The blooms start off small and green. I think they're quite lovely in their miniature form.

blushing bride endless summer hydrangea

As they age, the blooms get fuller and begin to turn white.

blushing bride endless summer hydrangea

Until they finally reach maturity and their glowing white color.

blushing bride endless summer hydrangea

The blooms stay this gorgeous white for many weeks, when they start to get a "blush" of pink to them. (If your soil is acidic, they will blush blue!)

blushing bride endless summer hydrangea

As they continue to age, the blooms turn green with a blush of red (or blue). They are gorgeous and dry very well. I have no pictures at this stage although I do have a nice vase of them on the counter. Maybe I'll do a follow-up post on drying hydrangeas.

We also have a standard Endless Summer hydgrangea that will not bloom this year, because it was damaged by the late April frost we experienced. It will bloom again next year though, and probably more prolifically than ever! This bush was planted last May, and it has reached about 3' x 3' in size. The first year it did require a lot of water, but it has become more hardy and drought-tolerant in its second year.

endless summer hydrangea

This is a Penny Mac hydrangea, named for the founder of the American Hydrangea Society. I found it at Lowe's and have been pleased by its wonderful performance. I was very naughty and planted it in full afternoon sun, but the shrub has taken the heat like a champ!

penny mac hydrangea

I'm currently letting it bloom pink, because it seems our soil is naturally alkaline. Next year I am going to force it to blue though. You can see that the flower petals of the Penny Mac are smaller than those of the Blushing Bride.

penny mac hydrangea

I love watching the progress of the blooms as they open.

penny mac hydrangea

We also have a Niko Blue and a Woodlander hydrangea, but they were planted alongside the Penny Mac in full afternoon sun and are not doing as well as the Penny Mac. I think they will pull through and thrive next year, but they aren't really in shape for a photo shoot at this point!

Catmint is a popular perennial for underplanting with Hydrangeas.

catmint and hydrangea

Catmint gives off a light minty scent and the delicate blooms are a nice accent to the blooms of the hydrangea.

catmint

I love hydrangeas because the blooms are very long-lasting and cover the plant all summer long. I recently trimmed some blooms off the Blushing Bride that had been on the plant since I purchased it in May, so they were at least 3 months old. Hydrangea blooms also dry very well so you can enjoy them all year long. Although they can be needy when first planted, mature hydgrangeas require very little care and look great in any setting.

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4 Comments:

At 6:36 PM , Blogger LMizzle said...

Can you please teach me how to properly care for freshly cut hydrangeas? Seriously, I killed some that I bought on Granville Island in a week, and they are suppost to last for a month! I am a plant killer. I confess.

 
At 6:37 PM , Blogger LMizzle said...

Also, I am so dissapointed that I killed them because I love hydrangeas as well!

 
At 11:51 AM , Blogger Goodboy Norman Featherstone said...

lmizzle, keep them in water, and put them in a cool, dry, semi-shady spot. Also, make sure you strip the leaves off of the plant from the water line and below. You never want to immerse leaves of cut flowers in water. You could also try adding some 7-up or Sprite to the water. The sugars help preserve the flowers. Hydrangeas dry naturally very easily, so I bet you either have them in a humid spot, or you aren't keeping them immersed in water.

 
At 2:15 PM , Blogger LMizzle said...

Hmmm, perhaps all the rain in Vancouver would lend to the humidity. I put them on the counter in my kitchen, which is facing a window, but not direct sunlight. I think that I left leaves on, so maybe that killed them...awwww, I am a plant murderer. I saved my two other plants from dying though! It was a moment of accomplishment for me when I saw them perk back up. Funny how much a little plant can do for your gardening self-esteem!

 

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