Category Archives: Hydrangea

Marry a Carpenter

I think I’ve written before

About the great match of

A carpenter married to a gardener.

Over the years John has built

Fences and gates and arbors and potting benches

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And much more

Basically he’s handy – very handy.

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A few years back he built this screen

To help hide the back of the garden.

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You know

That place where you store things

Old broken pots

Millions of flats and plastic pots

That you haven’t gotten around to recycling.

Old hoses

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And whatever else you haven’t found a permanent home for.

This “hidey hole” has another side.

It’s where I park my double bin compost tumbler.

I literally wore one out last fall.

It’s taken us this long to get it replaced.

And John decided this time it needed a screen

So he built it.

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Nothing much has ever grown in the space

Opposite the compost tumbler.

So we talked about repeating

The plants that have done well

In the shade of the cedar tree

On the other side of the garden

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John planted Yews that will spread to create a backdrop

More Oak Leaf Hydrangea

And a passalong Hosta.

The largest I’ve ever seen

Which John divided into four large Hosta.

Who knows how big they will get.

 

I’ve also added two “Incrediball Hydrangea”.

They are pretty sad right now,

But since they are related to

Those wonderful Annabelle hydrangea

I’m hoping they’ll thrive like their cousins.

 

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All of this joined existing Hellebores and Ferns.

This fall

I’ll extend the brick path

And sprinkle in a few spring flowering perennials

To complete the space.

Thank you John for hours of hard work

In this hotter than usual summer.

This all started with the death of the old compost tumbler.

I was sad to lose my rusted out old friend.

You just never know what will grow

Out of loss.

Enjoy the week,

Gail

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Filed under Compost, Garden Planning, Gardening, Hellebores, Hosta, Hydrangea, Oakleaf Hydrangea, Uncategorized

HYDRANGEA PRIMER

I love Hydrangea.

They give perhaps more blooms

Than any other flowers

In my garden.

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But the last few years

Have not been great Hydrangea years.

Warm early springs

Followed by late cold snaps

Have limited the blooms for the last three or so years.

It’s one of the most disappointing things I know

Frozen Hydrangea buds!

This year the Hydrangea Gods aligned

Blessing us with an abundance of blooms.

All over town.

My friend Karen who was about to dig up her Hydrangea

Gleefully texted a picture in June

Announcing “They’re blooming!”

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Abundant blooms equals abundant questions

Because people want to add them to their gardens.

So here’s a little primer of what I know about Hydrangea.

Old fashioned Macrophyllia or Mophead Hydrangea bloom on “old wood”.

These are the most susceptible to those late spring freezes.

Yet they are spectacular plants

So don’t cast them out.

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Just provide them with a little more northern protection

If possible.

The newer are sold under the commercial brand of “Endless Summer.”

They bloom on new and old wood,

So your chances of getting lots of blooms are greatly increased.

I’ve made room for plenty of both in my garden.

I’ll never confess just how many I have.

Hydrangea are happiest with morning sun

And afternoon shade in warmer zones like mine.

My front bed started in the shade

But became full sun with the death of a pine tree’

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The results is that the blooms don’t last as long.

They fry a little

Actually a lot some years.

Like this year.

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I spent a couple of evenings this week

Cutting off the crispy blooms

And taking them to their final resting place.

The compost pile.

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They will have a second – lesser bloom cycle

Later in the summer.

Meanwhile those living in the shade

Of the back yard cedar trees

Continue to bloom and bloom.

Lucky me.

Then there’s my new friend, Annabelle.

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It’s an old variety

That I discovered a few years ago.

Mine are all planted in mostly shade.

Their white bloom begins in June

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Over the next month they turn to

This wonderful green.

It’s a color I love in the garden

And it’s not easy to get

So I get a little excited when they bloom.

Nature is such an artist.

As the spring pink hydrangeas

Take on a dusty late summer hue

They compliment the purple coneflower

Dahlias and other late summer stars.

I pull them all together

To make wonderful arrangements.

And if you plant enough Hydrangea

You’ll have blooms

Till it freezes.

So that’s what I know.

Hydrangeas give and give

And they play well with others.

We can all take a lesson from them.

Stay cool and enjoy the week.

Gail

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Filed under Hydrangea, Uncategorized

ARRANGING THINGS

It’s the height of summer here.

Endless sunny days.

And because we had all those wonderful

Badly needed rainy days.

The humidity is back

Big-time.

So what’s a gardener to do.

This time of the year is basically for maintenance.

Deadheading and weeding and watering are the order of most days.

I love it because it can all be done in little snippets of time.

But there is one more activity for high summer.

Flower arranging.

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For some reason I don’t bring a lot of flowers into my house.

I have a few here and there

But mostly we enjoy them from the inside of the house

Or on the morning garden walk.

So it’s great fun

When I have a reason to make flower arrangements.

Friday night was just such a reason.

We were one of several host couples

For a shower for our minister Andrew

And his bride to be Katie.

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Now it’s too hot to have the party in my garden

So it was held at a local lodge.

Decades ago it was part of an amusement park

And has been lovingly restored.

So along with chamber music

Yummy food

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Including crab claws In honor of Andrew’s Maryland roots

Family from home

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Church members

And local friends

We needed flower arrangements

And lots of them – 26 to be exact.

First order of business

Find 26 vases.

I’m embarrassed to say that 25 of them

Were alive and well living in my garden house!

The schedule went like this.

Weekend before dig out all the vases

And wash them

Tuesday the vases were taped with cross hatch pattern

To hold the flowers in place.

It was also the day to cut Euonymous.

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And Hydrangeas.

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They last for days if you sear the end as soon as you cut it

And let them rest in buckets of water up to their necks.

Wednesday morning Linda came to help with the harvest.

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We cut buckets of Phlox, Purple Coneflower, Dahlia & Dusty Miller

We added bits of White Balloon Flower, Veronica Spicata, Hellebore leaves and blooms.

Linda and Virginia each cut a bucket of Zinnias – one fuchsia and one pale pink.

I even used the blooms on the radishes that should have been pulled long ago.

Wednesday night the arranging began.

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Linda, David, Mary and Gay came on Friday morning to complete the arranging

And haul it all to the lodge.

It takes a village!

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Friday was a warm evening.

Not just the temperature.

But the people, the place and the occasion.

There’s something wonderful about small towns.

When I looked around the room

There were people I had known for decades.

We have raised our children together.

We have buried our parents together.

We have thrown a million wedding and baby showers together.

We have welcomed newcomers together.

Those newcomers have become new friends.

What is there to do in a garden

In the mid- summer heat?

Share it.

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Photo Credit David Meara

 

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Filed under Bouquets, Bridal Showers, Dahlias, Dead Heading, Euonymus, Flower Arrangements, Garden House, Hellebores, Hydrangea, Purple Coneflower - Echinacea, Radishes, Tall Garden Phlox, Uncategorized, Vases, Veronica Spicata, Wedding Flowers, Zinnia

THE GARDEN HOUSE IN WINTER

I mentioned last week

That I was ready for a rest

From the garden.

That is true.

It’s part of the rhythm of gardening.

But the real truth is it never really stops.

There are plants that I drag in

To carry over to spring.

This year its Plumbago

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And Foxtail Ferns

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That will require watering

And watching over.

And sweeping up of all those dropped leaves.

Then there’s the Christmas cactus

That Kristina gave me a few years back

That will be bursting into bloom soon.

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There are hydrangea drying

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And Cockscomb.

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Soon I’ll have Amaryllis to plant.

But it’s a slower pace inside.

A cozy place

To putter

To plan

To think

Even though I don’t really enjoy cold weather.

I do have to admit

There are parts of winter

I embrace.

Happy Thanksgiving.

Gail

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Filed under Amaryllis, Christmas Cactus, cockscomb, Fall, Ferns, Garden House, Hydrangea, Plumbago, Uncategorized

WINDING DOWN

You may recall that spring was a bit late this year.

With four freezes continuing through the end of April.

We had a late start to the season.

That’s why I have reveled in this glorious fall.

Endless days of crisp air

And sunshine

And all this color.

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I knew it would eventually freeze.

But I am grateful for the “catch up” time

Mother Nature has given us.

Last week it did finally freeze.

Not a light frosting

But what we gardeners call

A “killing freeze”.

I did pick

Green tomatoes.

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The last batch of produce for Loaves & Fishes.

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The last roses of summer.

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And cosmos.

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And hydrangea.

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But a hard freeze is inevitable.

Necessary really.

We need things to die

So that we can clean up

And put our child to bed.

Mounding it all up to compost

So that we can return it to the earth.

But before I can even begin to think about all of that

I have to finish planting

ALL THESE BULBS!!!

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What was I thinking?

So on Saturday

I began.

Digging trenches

One section at a time

Along the path

Leading to the garden house.

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Then over planting

With Pansies.

Now I won’t bore you with the details

Since it’s the same process

We walked through

In the front

A few weeks ago.

But I will tell you

I’m glad to have it done.

It’s a big job

That needs a chunk of time.

Pulling up

Cockscomb, cosmos, tomatoes and peppers

Can be done in small snippets of time.

As is the case in most years

I was ready for the freeze.

To rest.

Gail

The last rose of summer.

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Filed under cockscomb, Compost, Cosmos, Fall, Fall Vegetables, Flower Arrangements, Gardening, Green Tomatoes, Hydrangea, Peppers, roses, Uncategorized

COLORS OF THE SEASON

We are experiencing the glory of the season.

An amazing fall.

Driving through the older neighborhoods

I am stunned by the breathtaking

Gold of plain old Elm trees.

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By Kelly’s mature Ginkgo tree.

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And the American Elm in front of the church.

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For years gold was our dominate fall color.

Some red was dotted here and there.

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But to get lots of red you had to head east

To the Talahina trail, or Arkansas or New England.

And since we are human we always want

What someone else has.

A few years back

The Men’s Garden Club made a subtle effort

Called “Plant the Town Red”.

They encouraged people to plant

Redbud for spring.

Red Crepe Myrtle for summer.

And varieties of Red Maple that are happy here for fall

Autumn Blaze and Autumn Glory.

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Or Chinese Pistache.

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We were replacing the dying elm trees in our front yard

And were happy to oblige.

In four years

This is the reddest they have been.

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So the question is

Are maple trees like Hydrangea?

Does their color depend on the soil chemistry?

Or is it a question of maturation.

Do they have to be a certain age before they are actually red?

Or could it have been

A mix-up in tagging

Somewhere along the way

Before it came to live at our house?

Only time will tell.

But this year it doesn’t really matter.

I’m drinking in the gold

As it sparkles in the sun.

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As it takes my breath away.

As it reminds me that the season is winding down.

And like every season of every year.

We are not in charge.

Red

Gold

It’s all glorious.

I was afraid I didn’t have enough pictures for this blog

So on the way to church this morning

I stopped to take a few more.

After snapping a picture or two

I heard someone talking to me.

“There’s a better one in the back.”

A young man yelled out his window.

“I took a picture of it a few days ago.”

He was right.

It’s glorious.

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So after a blustery Sunday.

Leaves cover the ground.

Apple pies are in the oven.

It must be fall

And one more certain sign.

Happy Birthday, John.

Gail

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Filed under Chinese Pistache Tree, Elm Trees, Fall, Gingko Tree, Hydrangea, Maple Trees, Redbud Trees, Uncategorized

A STATE OF HORTICULTURAL CONFUSION

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This is the time of year that really messes with my head.

On Friday it was cold

And wet

And windy.

Frost and freeze warnings

Running through our part of the state.

But…it’s only mid October.

We should have at least 2 more weeks before a freeze

Maybe as long as a month.

So do I believe the forecast.

Drag all those ferns inside

Depriving them of a few more weeks

Of open air and sunshine.

Because once they are in

They are in.

Too heavy to lug back and forth.

Or do I just cover them for the night.

I opted for the later

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And got lucky.

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But basil is a different story

It begins to pout at anything below 50 degrees.

So I cut it all

And put it in the sink

Awaiting the energy to make it into pesto.

The red pesto is done.

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But the green is more labor intensive.

So here we are on Sunday night.

Still with a sink full of basil.

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Maybe tonight.

But it’s the front yard

That truly suffers from

Horticultural Confusion!

You’ll notice I haven’t written much about Hydrangea this summer

That’s because after not 1 or 2

But 4 freezes stretching to the very last day of April

My Hydrangea have bloomed very little this year.

Until now.

So as the mums, which line the front of the hydrangea bed,

Are budding and blooming.

So are the Hydrangea.

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Thankfully for the most part they are in the same color family

So it seems to work.

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Then there’s the true front yard mystery.

Lettuce.

Growing along the grassy edge

Of the new bed John created

On the front landing.

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Lettuce!

I’ve never planted it here.

The closest would be the pot on the landing

But how did it jump so far?

And that my friends is what I love about gardening.

The mystery.

No need for answers

Just revel in the mystery.

Gail

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Filed under Basil, Boxwood, container gardening, Fall, Ferns, Gardening, Hydrangea, Lettuce, Timing, Uncategorized