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The wonders of hydrangeas, explored and pictured.

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Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Layering is an easy way to propagate new plants

This is my lazy time of year when I tend to drift around my garden doing a little of this and a little of that. It's a good time to take on projects that can be completed quickly and easily and layering plants fits the bill. On a recent wander around the back yard I stopped in front of the mophead 'Oregon Pride' and remembered that I wanted to layer one of the stems. This stem had, surprisingly, produced a lacecap flower. There were no little side shoots for taking cuttings so I knew layering was the way to go.

'Oregon Pride' is a sport of 'Merritt's Supreme'. I have the two varieties planted side by side in my garden. A "sport" is a natural offshoot of a plant that shows different characteristics. In the case of 'Oregon Pride' it had taller stems than the dwarf 'Merritt's Supreme' and the stems were darker in color; distinctly different. Naturally I wondered if 'Oregon Pride', the sport, was producing a sport itself, and would it return next summer if I propagated it?

I love these mini scientific experiments in the garden. Setting up the experiment never takes much time and then I have the pleasure of anticipation all winter. I got my supplies: some potting soil and a heavy rock, and got to work. "Work' is really not an accurate term as all I had to do was bend the stem down until it reached the soil, wound its underside a bit by scraping with my fingernail, pressing it into the soil, covering with a bit more soil, and anchoring it with the heavy rock. Done. That's it. The whole process took less than ten minutes. If all goes well that stem will root and become a separate plant and I will be eager to check the flowers on that new plant. Will they be the lacecap form? Stay tuned!

In the meantime, if you want to try the layering technique yourself, just look at the base of your hydrangeas to see if you have any stems hovering near the ground. You can find more details on how to layer a plant on my FAQs page. It's a very easy way to propagate new plants. My firm belief is the more hydrangeas in the world, the better!
9:16 am edt          Comments

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

In honor of little Charlotte

I recently had the pleasure of donating a plant to the Cape Cod Hydrangea Society's display garden in honor of my granddaughter, Charlotte. It delights me that the lovely mophead 'Brestenberg' is a baby in our display garden the same year my little baby granddaughter was born. I will have the joy of watching both of them grow and look forward to the day when Charlotte is old enough to know that a beautiful plant is named in her honor.
I first became acquainted with 'Brestenberg' on a field trip to Mal Condon's hydrangea farm on Nantucket. I think all of us in our group that day came away with the firm intention of acquiring 'Brestenberg' for our own gardens. It's just a lovely plant.
See for yourself by clicking on the mopheads page. I've added it to the newly established page devoted to recommended varieties. I plan to keep adding to that page so that you'll have many beautiful mopheads to choose from.  
4:14 pm edt          Comments

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Display Garden Birthday Party

This past weekend members of the Cape Cod Hydrangea Society gathered to celebrate the third birthday of our display garden at Heritage Museums and Gardens in Sandwich, Massachusetts. I'm sure all home gardeners can relate to the joy of seeing plants attain full maturity. What we once could picture only in our imaginations is now a reality! Our garden is filled with different varieties of hydrangeas, all in bloom showing off their beautiful flowers in many shades of pink and blue and purple, with the occasional white flowers accenting all the colorful blooms.

It was satisfying to see the display and wonderful to know our expansion goals are fully supported by Heritage Gardens. New plants will be added and it won't be long before they, too, will be full of beautiful blooms to inspire and educate garden visitors. We all feel lucky to have such a beautiful garden in the lovely setting provided by Heritage Gardens.

Anyone who loves hydrangeas should try to visit this garden during a visit to Cape Cod. July and early August are prime viewing times, with the hydrangeas still lovely in their antique colors in late August and September. Hydrangeas and Cape Cod: how can you go wrong?
4:04 pm edt          Comments

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Hydrangea Farm on Nantucket

I haven't posted anything for the last two weeks because of an important writing deadline but now, deadline having been met (huzzah!) I'd like to mention a wonderful place I visited recently, Mal and Mary Kay Condon's Hydrangea Farm on Nantucket. To be there in the middle of July when the hydrangeas were at peak bloom was fabulous!

I stayed in the lovely cabin set up for campers in the middle of the grounds and was treated to their excellent hospitality. They have recently begun offering a unique bed-and-breakfast hydrangea camp which has been experienced and thoroughly enjoyed by members of the Cape Cod Hydrangea Society.

I had my cameras ready for an early morning session which lasted over two hours and which yielded hundreds of beautiful pictures. It truly is a hydrangea lovers paradise, to see such a wide selection of varieties displayed in the many curved flower beds around the property with all plants carefully labeled.

To find out more about this opportunity for hydrangea lovers, go to my links page and click on the hydrangea farm. The farm is located conveniently on the Madaket bus route making it easy to get around by public transportation. Nantucket is a lovely island and the Condon's hydrangea farm is a lovely island of beauty in itself. I will long remember, with great pleasure, my visit to that beautiful spot.

7:38 am edt          Comments

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