Tag Archives: growing

Hydrangeas in My Yard: The Paniculatas

My last post was about the macrophylla varieties of hydrangeas growing in my yard. Those have big, rounded blooms and large leaves. This post contains pictures of my two types of paniculatas, which are hydrangeas with elongated type flowers.

In general I have found the paniculatas to be very easy to care for. They seldom droop in a drought, as the macrophyllas (Blushing Bride and Endless Summer) wilt quite easily in hot sun, and when they are dry.

The first photo is of the Limelight hydrangea. It was taken in August 2015, and as you can see it is not flowering, but it does have buds. The second photo is from last year at approximately the same time.  As you can see, this year I will not get the blooms like last year.  Again, I blame this on our incredibly horrible winter.  The extreme cold and piles of snow have done a number on just about everything in my yard.   Some of my Hostas never grew back, and the perennials I thought had died, are still living, but they are way behind on growth, like the hydrangeas.

limelight hydrangea shrub
Limelight Hydrangea – Aug. 10th, 2015
flowering limelight hydrangea
Limelight Hydrangea – August 20th, 2014

The last picture I have is of the Pinky Winky hydrangea. I have come to love this plant for it’s beautiful, long-lasting blooms. It is also a very easy plant to grow. Plant it and forget it.
pinky winky hydrangea
Unfortunately, I could have chosen a better spot for this one to grow. Without a lot of yard space, I thought it would have plenty of room to expand next to the garage. Then the snow came and my plow guy pushed loads of snow over the poor thing. It came back and grew fine.
This year I had to have a broken tree taken down, and as the tree-cutters brought the big beech down, the branches landed on my Pinky Winky. It was enough to break one of the main, low branches. I will have to cut it, as it’s split. I want to wait until the blooms go by.

Pinky Winky 8/20/14
One year ago – Pinky Winky, August 20th, 2014

The only problem I have with this one is that the deer eat it – see how lopsided it is in the photo above?  There is a big deer population around my house and they come up from the woods at the side of the house to check the yard for dinner.  After they munch on my rhododendron, they chew down the stalks of the hydrangea. It’s the only hydrangea they eat, and I think it’s placed just right (or wrong).
So between the broken branches and deer trimming, I may not get to see this perennial grow too large before I move, but it’s still beautiful.

This is the only hydrangea that doesn’t seem to have been bothered as much by the extremely cold winter.  I would love to have more Pinky Winky hydrangeas in my yard.

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Sparse Vegetable Garden This Year

zucchini in the garden
Growing Zucchini

It seems to be the consensus here in my part of New England, the gardens are not growing all that well.  Not that I know that many people, but almost everyone I do know has a small backyard, or patio garden.

Just last night, one of my neighbors walked by and we chatted for a few minutes.  I know she has beautiful raised garden beds behind her house, so I asked how the garden was growing.  She said it’s not producing well.

My sister grows all her vegetables on a big, sunny deck in front of her house.  It’s convenient to care for, as she works long hours each day.  But this year she doesn’t even have zucchini growing.  If we lived closer I would have some extra to give her.  My zucchini started off slowly, but now I’m picking one or two from the two plants I have.

The cucumber is really slow.  I’ve only had 2 cukes so far.  And the hot pepper plant is also not producing the many peppers I remember having last year.  The only thing that is doing better this year than last is my garlic.  Even the parsley, one of my favorite things, is not all that big. Continue reading Sparse Vegetable Garden This Year

A Little About Sunflowers

yellow sunflower poster
Sunflower Poster

Soon the sunflowers will be popping through the soil and by mid-summer their happy blooms will decorate the garden landscape.
Sunflower plants can be tall or short. When mixing varieties be sure to leave enough space between them as they all need lots of sunlight. Seed packs will describe which is which.

Besides bright yellow the petals can be rusty redish orange as in the Autumn Beauty
variety.  (I don’t know what variety this red sunflower is, but it’s pretty.)

red sunflower
Photo by eponaspirit @ Pixabay

I used to plant sunflower seeds until I realized that the squirrels were digging them up as fast as I could plant them! My gardening space is very small, so I don’t need many sunflowers, but a few are nice to have. Because I feed sunflower seeds to the birds in winter, I always have a few volunteers that grow on their own. All I have to do is weed out the ones that are too close together and let the others survive. Of course they don’t always sprout where I would prefer they live, but I can’t be picky. It’s that or no sunflowers, and a summer without sunflowers is just not right!
Here is a picture of my garden last year.

backyard garden scene
My Backyard Garden – 2014

My ‘Celebrity’ tomatoes looked so wonderful right up until they developed late blight, just as they were almost ready to pick, and I never got to eat them.  It was very depressing.
I like the fact that sunflowers grow beautifully on their own.  Usually they mature and have plenty of seeds to feed the birds.  The goldfinches love them.  Although, I have had squirrels climb the stalk and chew off the stem to steal the entire flower! Those little buggers are a real nuisance. Now that I have cats prowling the yard, I haven’t had that problem.
I did however have big green grasshoppers chewing on the flowers. It’s always something. But they were so interesting that I let them eat and got some photos.
grasshopper eating a sunflower

“Blushing Bride” The White Hydrangea

hydrangea plant in garden
Newly planted “Blushing Bride” hydrangea shrub.

In the mix of hydrangea shrubs I recently purchased, the white flowering “Blushing Bride” was new to me. I’ve had the blue endless summer variety, limelight, pee gee and a few other types, but not the one with round, white flowers. I planted it in the front of the house, next to the entryway. It won’t be really large – only 3 to 5 feet across – so won’t block the doorway.

(My yard is a work in progress – soon this front garden will be spectacular! Wait and see.)

The tag says that the flowers will be blue in acidic soil, so this new type of hydrangea is apparently closely related to the Endless Summer. I don’t know if my soil is acidic or not so I guess I’ll just wait and see what the flowers look like on this one.
I’ve read a bit about it and it should be a hardy plant. If you have one, here are some things to remember:
* Don’t cut it back. This one blooms on new and old wood. (Trimming of dead stalks can be done mid-summer.)
* It likes sun with some shade
* White to light pink flowers (in alkaline soil)
* Cutting the flowers in summer will produce more blooms
* Pile mulch around the base for winter
When mine gets flowers, I will be sure to share them here. It already has buds so I’ll expect flowers by July.

See the updated page with flowers here!