A Yard Without Hydrangeas – The Horror!

View out the door
Time to Make Some Changes in the Yard

Now that I have moved out of my rental, I live in a flowerless environment.   I have a yard without hydrangeas and in fact, there are no flowering plants.  The house I bought has been sitting empty for about a year and apparently the previous owners didn’t believe in growing flowering shrubs. Two huge tree looking bushes were blocking the front windows (until I trimmed them- quite a bit – you can see one of them in my photo) and the only other plants in the front are holly. Oh, I did find a small azalea amongst the weeds and dug it up and gave it a sunnier location. I imagine it will be light purple since most azaleas I see in the north seem to be. I’ll have to wait until next Spring to find out.

My landlady had talked about letting me dig up part of one of her hydrangeas, but I got too busy to even think about doing that, so I came to the new place empty-handed.  Now the search is on for blue hydrangeas of my own.  I am not searching too frantically, since the front yard still needs some work – maybe grading – so the planting might have to wait.  I’m also watching the sun to find the best locations for planting.

Also, I spent 5 hours in the yard on Saturday and have been in pain ever since.  I should know better.  This body is not used to yard work, so I will have to remember to pace myself and stop after an hour or two.  Also, I’m not as young as I’d like to be!  A nice reader suggested I do a soil test and that reminded me that we have a great resource here in New Hampshire at the UNH campus.  The UNH Cooperative Extension will test soil for you (if you live in the area).

As I find good places to buy hydrangeas (and other plants), I’ll be sure to share with you.

The Petiolaris is a Climbing Hydrangea

Hydrangea petiolaris photo by Bruger:Sten
Image via Wikipedia

I am unfamiliar with the climbing form of hydrangea, or at least I was before I researched it for this blog post.  I will be moving soon into a house of my own where I plan to do lots of gardening so I need to know what is available for my area of the country.  I live in growing zone 5 so my plants have to be able to withstand cold and lots of snow cover.  Always check before you buy plants online to make sure they are suitable for your area.

The petiolaris, or climbing hydrangea plant, can be used as a ground cover as well as a climber.  The blooms are white and lacey looking and show up around the month of June and the leaves are heart-shaped and green.  If you want this flowering vine to climb, then plant it near a sturdy structure that will be able to bear the weight of the full grown bush which can be up to 50 feet in height… yikes!  That is big, so think long term when planting this one.  It likes shade or semi-shaded areas which is good to know since my new yard will be surrounded by trees and I’m assuming will be quite shady most of the day.

I like the idea of planting it to cover an unsightly tree stump (I have a tall one in my new yard) or some other part of the yard that isn’t very nice looking.  According to what I’ve read, it takes a year or two to get established and then it takes off and grows like crazy.

Scroll down this page at Dave’s Garden site and read what people who are growing this plant have to say.

Check with local nurseries to purchase.

Baby Hydrangea In Second Year After Propagation

Hydrangea planting
New Plant - Second Year

Want to see my baby?  This little hydrangea bush was propagated from a large one.

Sometime in the summer of 2009 I noticed that the big, blue hydrangea plant in my front yard had a “baby” growing next to it. It didn’t have a bloom, so I dug it up and put it by the front steps.

**Note: I’ve since read that before digging up a new plant, first chop it from the “mother” plant and then leave it where it is for a while to let it get accustomed to growing on it’s own. After a month or so it’s safe to dig it up and it will be more ready for life out on it’s own!

Anyway, it is thriving and even has little buds showing this year. Last year, summer of 2010, it grew two long stalks, but no flowers. I was worried about it this winter with all the snow we had, but the brown stalks were still there once the snow was gone and leaves began to grown from it quickly. Besides new growth on the stalks, it is filling in with more stems and I look forward to seeing the flowers of course and am a bit curious what color they will be. I am thinking blue.

Give Shrubs Plenty of Space

Our Home / Virginia Creeper
Image by bill barber via Flickr

Any time you add a new shrub or tree to the landscape, it needs to be planted in an area where it will have all it needs to thrive, including plenty of space to spread out.

How many times have you seen a yard with huge plantings covering the front of the house.  Windows might be blocked or walkways overgrown so badly that it makes you wonder why on earth those big plants were put there.  The simple answer is that the size of the plantings were not taken into consideration.

When you come home from the nursery, most likely you will be carrying a fairly small and manageable bush.  It may be difficult to imagine that one day it will be 4 feet wide, but if that is what the tag says (or your research), then you must plan accordingly. Before you leave the plant stand, ask someone if you aren’t sure what you are buying. There is always the internet too.

No amount of trimming will help if your hydrangea shrub is too close to the house. The natural beauty will be hindered if it can’t grown the way it was meant to. In fact planting near a foundation is a bad idea anyway, so find a nice sunny spot in the yard to put your hydrangea and make sure that you have a hose that will reach it for those dry days.

There are many types of hydrangeas and for the most part you can plan on them growing at least 3-4 feet in all directions, but chick on the type you want to grow to be sure because some will grow much larger.