August is almost upon us and sadly I can see that my beautiful hydrangea are starting to change colors. This heralds the beginning of the end of Summer for me. Now I will wait until the last moment possible because some of my hydrangea turn into beautiful red, maroon and dark blue colors that are even more vibrant the hot pinks that graced their stems throughout the previous months. But when that moment finally arrives It will be time to cut back the hydrangea bushes. Now to do it correctly follow these simple guidelines. Most hydrangea produce flowers on the previous year’s growth (two exceptions are ‘All Summer Beauty’ and Endless Summer, which bloom on new growth).To shape and keep up the plants’ size, and to avoid cutting off next year’s flower buds, prune them back right after blooms fade. Like I said though I sometimes leave my flowers on the bush until they have completely changed color. Cut stems that have bloomed back to 12 inches. To produce fewer, larger flowers next spring, cut back some of the stems to the base of the plant.
Hydrangea are one of my favorite flowers, and as with many things in my garden I often have my own way of doing things that works for me. I encourage you to find your way in your garden.
Cheryl in the Garden
I always have a Master Plan when I buy plants, I’m just not sure what it is until I get to Home Depot or the Nursery and see what looks good. Both places cause me difficulty in discerning what that plan might be. Home Depot because although the plants are very reasonable in cost if you don’t get there within a couple of days of their arrival they probably won’t make it due to lack of care. At least at the Home Depots around where I live. The nursery poses a different problem. The selection can be mind blowing but so can the prices. So I have to go for a happy medium and find what I can where I can at the best price I can all in that great scope of my Master Plan.
Flowers surround me, always. My friend Karen says no matter where I am there is always a flower. Simple, extravagant, common, unique, it really doesn’t matter in the end because they all make up a part of who I am and have done so for as long as I can remember. I was always the little girl bringing huge fresh picked bouquets of lilacs to my mom or teachers. Never mind that they were from the neighbor’s backyard! I was lucky at age 6 they thought I was cute trying to reach the elusive blossoms. I bought seeds every summer with what little money I had and planted hollyhocks and sunflowers and watched in awe as they grew taller than me, Then when the sunflowers turned to seed I waited for the birds to come and feast upon the delicacy awaiting them. I tried my hand at vegetable gardening and planted popcorn in hopes of growing corn. I had spent Summer vacations with my grandmother in Kentucky and she had taught me much about vegetable gardening as she had an enormous five acre garden that she and my grandpa planted. She taught me well because my corn grew only to be mowed down by the apartment maintenance man one afternoon when I was at a friends. I didn’t give up, but I went back to flowers. Life moved on and so did I. Peonies filled my first home from all the bushes outside my living room window. Tulips, daffodils and muscari have followed me everywhere. Moving from the East Coast and having my first jasmine plant here in California so sweet and intoxicating is a memory I will never forget. I could go on and on. You see each important moment in my life. Every special person has a flower associated with them. I know each and every one of them because they are part of who they are to me. Flowers surround me, in my garden and in the memories and people I love.