Archive for the 'Hydrangeas' Category

Flower Gallery 2010

The gladiolas I’ve planted in the ground in past years have been hit or miss. This year, I bought a few small purple gladiola bulbs from a nursery and planted them in one of our raised beds, which is amended with compost and gets watered every other day. They seem to love it there. The flowers look perfect today when I took this picture. Gladiola flowers are beautiful when they are in bloom, but unfortunately, each plant only blooms for about a week.

We have 7 hydrangea plants, but the hydrangea shown in this picture is growing better than the others and has the most flowers. It’s growing under our yellow peach tree and only gets a little filtered sun for a few hours a day in that spot. One of our older hydrangeas is getting sun all day. That plant often looks wilted and the leaves tend to get sunburned. We have added aluminum sulfate around the roots of the hydrangea in this picture for the past few years. Aluminum sulfate is supposed to turn hydrangea flowers blue. Its flowers used to be light pink and now they are more purple, but they are still no where near being blue.

The white star jasmine that is growing up one of our backyard fences is in bloom now. Its flowers have a wonderful summertime fragrance. We often open the bedroom windows next to the jasmine to let the fragrance come into the house.

This picture shows one of our pink roses. It was at its peak bloom about a month ago when this picture was taken. I love this particular rose, because its flowers last so long. The flowers just started to fade a few weeks ago. Many roses open and drop their petals in about a week or less. But these flowers hold their petals for weeks without dropping them. In fact, the flower petals stay on for so long that they start to turn brown on the plant before they fall off. I don’t know what variety of rose it is, because it was planted by the previous owners and there’s no tag on it.

June 26 2010 | Gladiolas and Hydrangeas and Jasmine and Roses | No Comments »

June Hydrangeas

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The hydrangeas in our yard are blooming this month. I have always loved hydrangeas, especially the ones that have blue flowers. For the past few years, we have attempted to get our pink bigleaf hydrangeas to turn blue by feeding them aluminum sulfate. We have not been successful. But after a few applications of the aluminum sulfate this spring, the hydrangea in the first picture now has deep purple flowers. Last year, it had pink flowers.

We did not apply aluminum sulfate to two of our hydrangeas. Their flowers were lavender colored last year. This year, their flowers are a light pink color. It seems that without the aluminum, blue or lavender bigleaf hydrangea flowers tend to fade to pink over the years.

We also have three oakleaf hydrangeas. The second picture shows our oldest oakleaf hydrangea with its white flowers. I like oakleaf hydrangeas. They don’t need as much water as the bigleaf varieties, and they usually don’t wilt in hot weather. The flowers of the oakleaves are not as spectacular as the bigleaves, but the oakleaves do have beautiful leaves that often turn red in the fall before falling off. Also, oakleaf hydrangeas attract lots of honey bees.

June 21 2009 | Hydrangeas | No Comments »

June Flowers

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I took these pictures in our yard yesterday. In the first picture, our orange tropicanas are just starting to bloom, and a red gladiola is blooming behind them. The second picture shows one of our hydrangeas just beginning to open.

June 08 2009 | Cannas and Gladiolas and Hydrangeas | 1 Comment »

Thinking of Bigleaf Hydrangeas

This time of year there’s not much fruiting or blooming in our yard. The few plants that are blooming are not exactly photogenic. So I included some photos of a few of the bigleaf/garden hydrangeas that were blooming in our yard last summer.

Hydrangeas must be one of the most beautiful of garden flowers. Their eye-catching mass of colorful flowers last for weeks in June and July before fading gradually, or more suddenly when a heat wave hits.

When the inevitable heat wave occurs our area in June or July, our bigleaf hydrangeas wilt badly. Every time it happens, I water them excessively to rejuvenate them, but they never fully recover their original beauty. Instead, the flowers and leaves get burnt edges that get larger with each additional hot spell, as shown in the above picture of one of our hydrangeas taken back on June 22. Even under typical weather conditions, hydrangeas need a lot more water than most of our garden plants.

But during hot weather (90s F), I have not been able to prevent them from wilting. I have transplanted most of our hydrangeas from partly shady locations into the few locations in our yard that receive shade nearly all day long. The hydrangeas growing in the shade still wilt in hot weather, but not as severely, even though they are being watered daily. I am coming to the conclusion that bigleaf hydrangeas are not ideally suited to our climate despite the fact that the average high temperature in the summertime here is only in the upper 70s F. Despite the wilting, I like hydrangeas so much that I keep them anyway.

One of the interesting things about hydrangeas is that the flowers never seem to fall off. The color just fades to gray or brown over a period of months. Even in December, our hydrangeas still have flowers on them, but they are unattractive looking. The two pictures below show one of our purple hydrangeas. I took the first picture on July 4, and I took the second picture today, December 14. It’s amazing that the flowers have managed to retain most of their shape after so long.

For me, winter gardening consists mainly of tasks to prepare for spring. One of the tasks I perform each winter is to cut off the stems of all of the bigleaf hydrangeas flowers that bloomed last summer. I have heard repeatedly from other gardeners that bigleaf hydrangeas must be pruned each winter to remove the old dead flowers, otherwise they won’t bloom next season. I haven’t put that idea to test yet to see if failing to prune really does prevent them from flowering. I figure that cutting off the old flowers is probably a good idea anyway just to make the plant look better and to stimulate new growth next season.

December 14 2008 | Hydrangeas | No Comments »