I failed to mention the hydrangeas yesterday when I posted what was in bloom. They've been at it for a few weeks now.
The very first hydrangea I ever had was a potted one that my mom gave me for Easter one year, which I later planted outside. It had beautiful blooms when she gave it to me, but it never bloomed in the years after that. It had gorgeous foliage, it just wouldn't bloom.
I happened to mention this to my mom and she asked me if I'd pruned it at all. Sure I had. And when did I do that? In the spring, because it looked kind of scraggy, so I thought I'd 'neaten it up.'
Well, we have met the enemy, and he is us.
The reason my hydrangea wouldn't bloom is because I was cutting the buds off! I didn't see any buds, but most hydrangeas bloom on old wood, and I was removing it. I learned that I need to prune right after it's done blooming. And what do you know - I had blooms the next year.
Two years ago, Mom had several hydrangeas that she was getting rid of in the fall, so I took them and we planted them inside the small gazebo we have. There's no floor in the gazebo, so we worked up the soil, added dead leaves for organic material and planted the hydrangeas.
They've done well and we've had some gorgeous blooms. Last year, Walmart had 'Lady In Red' hydrangeas for ten dollars, so I bought one and planted it near our fountain. It bloomed off and on all summer and this year it's nearly twice as big as it was last year. It's a lacecap and is just now starting to bloom.
Yesterday, we had to return some dead euonymus bushes to Meijer (they're one of those places that have a one year guarantee), and of course, we had to take a stroll through the garden department. They had thirty per cent off their shrubs, including hydrangeas. I spied nice specimens of both kinds of Endless Summer® hydrangeas ('Bailmer' and 'Blushing Bride') and we bought them. 'Bailmer' is blooming now and 'Blushing Bride' will probably bloom in the next week or so.
The plan is to surround the oak tree deck on the north and east side with different hydrangeas. The deck already has a mophead pink and a variegated, which are both blooming now. We still need two on the north side, then that area will be done.
I'd like to get a climbing hydrangea for the pergola to replace the old wisteria we planted about five or six years ago. It's never done well at all and we've yet to see it bloom. I had seen a climbing hydrangea earlier in the season at Menard's, but didn't buy it. And when I ordered one from one of my favorite online nurseries, Big Dipper Farms, it wasn't included in the shipment because it was out of stock by the time they filled the order. So it will go on my want list for next year.
Hydrangeas are interesting in that you can manipulate the color of the blooms. Alkaline soil will make it bloom blue, acidic soil and it will be pink. Adding aluminum sulfate to the soil will provide the alkalinity for blue blooms, but there's an easier way! Stick pieces of rebar down into the soil around the base of the plant and it will bloom blue. Pennies have been known to work, too.
We've got acidic soil here, so mine have always bloomed pink once they're established. I think I'll try the rebar trick and see what happens!