What Will I Find Beneath All That Snow?

snow plowed driveway
We have a lot of snow

I am a little worried about my hydrangeas. When I planted my babies last Spring I had to take a lot into consideration. Will they get enough sun, too much sun, and was the spot I chose enough room for them to grow to their potential. I also had to consider the snow plowing.
Well, last winter was a strange one for us, and much of the U.S. when we had very little snow. I had just moved into a new home and that winter really told me nothing about conditions and snow piles that would occur in a normal year. So I had to guess.
I put the Pinky Winky hydrangea at the edge of the garage. The one big storm we had meant that I had one big snowstorm in October and the snow was easily pushed to the grass out of the way. I thought the plant would be safe in the spot I chose. Now, I am not so sure.
As you can see in my picture, there is quite a bit of snow that has been pushed up into the spot – very close to where my hydrangea is sitting, buried in many feet of snow. Each time the plow comes that whole pile is slammed into with the truck, trying to get it out of the driveway.
If the bush survives this winter, I think it will be okay because I am planning to get a snow-blower for the following years. My small, downward sloping driveway doesn’t give the plow guys much to work with and I can’t even use the right side of my garage at this point.
I just hope the Pinky Winky won’t be broken.

Pinky winky
my Pinky Winky

Buying Is Fun, Planting – Not So Much!

hydrangeas in pots
Newly purchased hydrangeas in pots

Going to the nursery and buying new plants for the yard is such fun. I love to imagine them each growing large and gloriously enhancing my landscape. But once I’m home and the work of digging and getting them into the ground begins, I’m not having as much fun.

Finding the right spot for them is the first obstacle to overcome. Some of them, in fact most of them, like sun with some shade. The blue “Endless Summer”, white “Blushing Bride“, the “Limelight” (I bought two), and the “Pinky Winky” all need to get some sun, but the “Pee Gee” wants shade.

Also, the full grown size of these plants needs to be considered. Hydrangeas don’t really need to be trimmed, so I want to give them all the space they need to look natural in their settings.

While I am considering all these things and watching my yard for the sunny spots, the plants sit in their pots. Each day they must be watered. Plants in pots dry out very fast. Then a freeze was predicted and I brought them all inside the garage for the night. I wouldn’t have worried had they been planted in the ground, but being in pots makes them more fragile.

I know they want out! And they will do some nice growing once they are in the ground. This weekend the weather in my part of New England will be fabulous, so I plan to get the planting underway.  After all, adding perennials to the yard is a wonderful and lasting gift you can give yourself.

Planning A Garden: Sketch A Picture of Your Yard

sketch of yard on paper
Sketch it Out

Whether you want to add a small perennial garden to your already established and well landscaped yard, or are re-doing an entire yard, planning a garden takes time and thought.  Sketching a picture of your yard will help you remember important features that disappear in the winter months.

One of the most important factors in planting is the amount of sun those plants will be getting. If you’ve just moved to a new place or simply haven’t been paying much attention to what goes on in your yard, then begin to take notice of when and where the sun hits in the areas you’d like to turn into gardens.

You’ll have to watch through out the day and the sun will change it’s path depending on the season, but summer is when the plants will do most of their growing so having a sun-loving plant in a spot that gets plenty of sun is important.

Once you know about the sun, then search for plants that will work to your advantage in the spots they will like best. Make a list of the plants you’d like to have and sketch out the section of the yard where you plan to do the work. This helps me to remember what I planned to do. Next Spring I can read my notes and continue on with my plans.

I also like to keep track of where I bought my plants. That way, if I really love the color of the flower I may be able to go back and buy another one just like it.

As you can see in my sketch above, I plan to add a few hydrangeas along the back front area of my yard. That spot gets a good amount of sun and although hydrangeas can live in shady conditions, they don’t flower as well if they don’t have some sun so I think that might be a good spot.

Who knows, by next Spring I may have changed my mind!

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.

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