Walking through residential areas these days makes me wonder what it would be like, if those lovely Hydrangeas would not exhibit their brilliant show of late summer and early fall bloom beauty. Gardens would look pretty dull after all the summer blooms are spent. So, why not plant more Hydrangeas in your gardens? The don't require work and are reliable for years to come, and cost less in the long run than annuals.
Hydrangeas at Wilkerson Mill Gardens
Last February I visited Wilkerson Mill Gardens south of Atlanta, GA, where they have a HUGE variety of Hydrangeas, possibly the largest in the country. It was amazing to see them budding. Wish I could be there in May when they start blooming in the South. If you are in the area, make the trip, here is a map, it's worth seeing. If not, the Wilkerson's are also shipping.
What blooms so beautifully in yards across the country around June/July are big orbs of blue, white, green and pink balls of Hydrangea flowers on leafy shrubs. These so-called mopheads (a type of Hydrangea macrophylla) are staples in gardens around the country. Many Hydrangea Macrophylla varieties can produce pink to deep blue blooms (even on the same plant), depending on the soil's pH.
But there are also these delicate Lacecaps that have flat heads dotted with color and ringed with four-petaled florets, with climbing varieties that can cover house walls easily. And then there are Panicle Hydrangeas with white cone-shaped flowers. However, not only shrubs grace yards, in the past years elegantly formed small Hydrangea PeeGee trees have been bred or better said trained into their shape, and became very popular.
PeeGee Hydrangeas on the East Coast
These Hydrange paniculata 'Grandiflora' (PG or PeeGee) are very popular on the East Coast and around the Maritimes in Canada, where they often reach the size of Apple trees. PeeGee's tend to turn pink as the blooms age. There are many varieties and forms of H. paniculata such as 'Limelight' and 'Tardiva'. Limelight is an especially beautiful paniculata and is also one of the most popular.
There are also easy-care species native to the U.S., such as the shade-tolerant Oakleaf Hydrangea and cold-hardy smooth Hydrangea.
The Origins of Hydrangeas
Hydrangea has been celebrated for centuries, especially for their long blooming times. Imported from Japan, China, and Europe in the 19th century.
The Hydrangea most commonly known is Hydrangea macrophylla. In the U.S., the variety ‘Merritt’s Supreme’ was developed and is currently the most popular variety among Hydrangea growers.
How to Propagate Your Own Hydrangeas?
Many well-established Hydrangeas, especially the Annabelle and Arborescens 'Bounty' variety send out shoots, which can be cut from the mother stem and planted to a moist, shady area with well-draining soil. Another method is to take cuttings. Use a very sharp, clean knife, and cut from a branch of the hydrangea shrub about 5-6" long. Many experts say the cutting will work best if taken from a branch that did not flower this year. Strip the leafs off - but leave two or three. Dip cuttings in #3 Rooting Hormone, poke a deep hole with a pen and insert the Hydrangea cutting into damp vermiculite, coarse sand or other sterile medium. Water pot well and allow to drain. Make sure soil is moist but not soggy. Some people even succeed with rooting Hydrangeas in water.
Dry Hydrangeas for Year-Round Pleasure
One of the easiest ways to preserve these flowers is to allow them to almost completely dry on the plant. On a dry day, cut the stems the length you need for making floral arrangements. Strip off all leaves and then find a dry place indoors where the flowers can finish drying.
What about your garden, which Hydrangea varieties spruce up your late summer and fall garden? What are YOUR favored Hydrangea and which ones do you plan to plant this year. Garden centers offer right now steep discounts, don't miss their sales.
Tips on how to enchourage Hydrangea's to bloom
How to change Hydrangea Colors
How to prune Hydrangeas
Answers to Hydrangea Questions