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Thursday, June 03, 2010

The Buena Vista Garden, by Yarddawg

June is Hydrangea Month

Yarddawg is back. I would like to thank everyone for their thoughts and prayers over the past week or so. I lost my mother on May 26th. She was a great lady and loved reading this Blog and the Buena Vista Garden in particular if I was “behaving”. She once wished my 7th grade English teacher; Mrs. Odom (we didn’t get along at all) was alive to read it.

Ah June. All over North Carolina hydrangeas are strutting their stuff right now. These easy to care for plants come in many types, sizes, shapes from mopheads to lacecaps, bloom types and colors (depending on soil PH). The pictures here are of a close-up of a lacecap called ‘Lady in Red’. The other is ‘Lady in Red’ surrounded by mopheads called ‘Mini-Penny’.

How do I get the color you want? Don’t get freaked out about color. If you want pink add lime around your bush. If you desire bluish to almost purple and all shades in-between, add Aluminum Sulfate. How much you ask? It comes down to trial and error but over time you will succeed. Just keep at it and also check this out from NCSU.

There seems to be much confusion and debate about pruning hydrangea. I’ll be honest. I generally don’t prune at all because pruning too early or too late or too far down the plant will not hurt it but it can diminish or eliminate flowers the following year or so I’ve been told. I just leave the flower heads on because it does provide some winter interest in the landscape. But if you really must know more read Pruning Hydrangeas also from NCSU. To add even more confusion, there is one type called Hydrangea arborescens which will actually benefit from hard pruning all the way to the ground in late winter. I have one called ‘Annabelle’.

There is even more confusion, even among experts, on types and nomenclature. To simplify things some, the main types are mopheads & lacecaps, vine types, and oak leaf types. The good news is the hydrangeas have forgiven us for our ignorance and just shine in June year after year and mine seem to do OK with neglect. Plant in partial sun if possible but they are flexible from light shade to full sun. Just give them a quick drink during long, hot, dry spells especially in full sun until the plant is well established. Plant in native soil mixed with plenty of compost. These plants are available everywhere locally. Go to a good reliable nursery and just ask for a quick primer. Indulge me and check out one more link for an all in one site for all things Hydrangea. A little clicking around will provide a lot of information for those wanting to learn more

I also need some help from Life in Forsyth readers. Is hydrangea plural or is it hydrangeas? Maybe Miss Maya will respond since Mrs. Odom can’t. [Esbee note: I believe that's Dr. Angelou to you, and while I would love to daydream she's my most ardent reader, alas, I have absolutely no reason to harbor the faintest glimmer of hope that she even knows this blog exists.]
-Yarddawg
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