Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Heavenly Hydrangeas

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.

Endless Summer® Hydrangea (Hydrangea macrophylla 'Bailmer')

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!


Anonymous said...

Thank you for stopping by on my blog. But YOU have wonderful hydrangeas TOO!! Up to now I didn't see the white sort of Endless summer. I hope you'll show us a picture of these blooms too!! I've just ordered a h.paniculata Winky Pinky. I'm looking forward to this two-colour hydrangea.
Have a good time!
Greetings from sunny and warm (33°C) Switzerland.

Muum said...

I love hydrangeas, but the only one I have planted was a gift in a pot, it is struggling along in zone 5, alkaline dirt! Carol at has a post about hydrangeas, too.

greenlegs80 said...

One of my favorites...the hydrangea. Ahhhh...

Anonymous said...

I love hydrangeas, but usually the ones that bloom on old wood don't do well here in Indiana. They grow well, but usually don't bloom. I have Lady in Red, but it has never bloomed.
If you get a climbing hydrangea, try to get the biggest one you can afford, they are very slow growing, but well worth the wait.

Connie said...

Beautiful hydrangeas! I have one called Nikko Blue, which has only bloomed once for me in 5 years, as it gets nipped by frost in spring. I want to rip it out and replace with an Annabelle, which was given to me as a gift by 2 of my gardening friends this year.

Sweet Home and Garden Carolina said...

Hey Kylee,

Great minds think along the same lines! I've been posting on my favorite hydrangeas as well. Just discovered on at the garden center where I work that is hardy to Zone 4 and is only 2 feet tall.

Iowa Gardening Woman said...

Lovely hydrangeas! I will have some to post soon, I hope :).

Ki said...

Very beautiful H. macrophyllas especially the one in the first picture. Just gorgeous. I wish I could grow them but they don't seem to flower for us. We just stick to the old reliable H. paniculata.

Unknown said...

Gorgeous hydrangeas, Kylee. Despite having acid soil, my Endless Summer insists on being a sort of blah pink. However, Limelight is superb, and I have a couple of lacecaps too. And I was just sent some shrubs to cold test from the Proven Winners Colorchoice line, and the shipment included three different hydrangeas, including two PeeGee types, which are my favourite.
Ever see a purple hydrangea? There is a collection of shrubs in a yard in Yarmouth where the flowers are deep purple. Honestly. I nearly drove off the road. I'll find the post and send you the URL of one of the photos.

Yolanda Elizabet Heuzen said...

Hydrangeas are great aren't they? Close friends of mine have a wonderful collection of Hydrangeas in their garden and they are thriving there, as it is a very shady garden.

The story about your non flowering Hydrangea cracked me up. We live and learn, don't we? ;-)

I have bought a climbing Hydrangea too. I have yet to plant it. I had one in my previous garden too. They are slow starters but once they decide to grow ...... there's no stopping them.

Kylee Baumle said...

Lots of great comments here! Thanks for teaching me so much!

No, jodi, I haven't seen a deep purple hydrangea in person, only in catalogs. And I've done the 'nearly drove off the road' thing before, too. LOL!

I'm still looking for a climbing hydrangea.......

Anonymous said...

fyi - my friend's wisteria took 7 years until it bloomed. Every year i'd check with her then she retired but i got a big happy email one spring saying "it bloomed" in the 7th year.

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