Hydrangeas Pruning And Designing In The Northeastern USA With Woody Ornamentals

Long Island, New York, Suffolk and Nassau County homeowners who need garden designs, YO YO YO, what is with the snow in early spring? I have said before and I will say it again. We are in the midst of planetary climactic changes and it is so cool. Anyone who is unhappy with the snow should realize this pattern the last few years is here to stay. We will have gardens and flowers at some point no mater what the weather (unless we have a great flood like in the days of Noah and then SORRY, can’t help you with that) lol.

Hydrangea Endless Summer 'Blushing Bride'
Hydrangea Endless Summer ‘Blushing Bride’
Hydrangea 'Endless Summer'
Hydrangea ‘Endless Summer’

What was my title again, oh yeah, HYDRANGEAS! For specific pruning ideas please visit my May 15, 2011 article @ #mce_temp_url# . I knew I was thinking about some type of plant material. Hydrangeas are quit the diverse group when it comes to flowers, form, leaves, colors and flowering times. I have considered talking about all the hydrangeas but I feel in todays world of gardens and homeowner expectations I will address only four varieties today. The tree form Hydrangea paniculata Grandiflora ‘Pee Gee’, the shrub form Macropphylla Endless Summer (especially ‘Blushing Bride’), the climbing Hydrangeas anamala subsp. petiolaris (common type) and Schizophragma hydrangeoides ‘moonlight and finally the lace cap group Hydrangea serrata ‘Bluebird’ (a drouoght tollerant blue purple with great fall leaf coloration). Do not expect great detail here in this article because I have discovered that learning about plants and how to manage them is learned through being an active participant in their development.

Climbing Hydrangea 'Moonlight'
Climbing Hydrangea ‘Moonlight’
Hydrangea Tree 'Pee Gee'
Hydrangea Tree ‘Pee Gee’

I may touch on Hydrangea quercifolia more commonly know as Oak Leaf Hydrangea, but only because you can’t talk about hydrangeas without addressing the oak leaf group (great leaf and flower combinations with wonderful fall coloration you should know about or need to learn about).

Hydrangeas aren’t tricky or confusing. If you know the variety you have it is actually very easy to manage them (if you don’t know the variety you can develop an idea through it’s flowering time, flower form, fall color and stem development). There are older varieties that will bloom on old wood while there are newer varieties that will flower on new wood. Some will flower early summer while others will flower late summer. There are pinks, whites, blues, purples and a variety of those color combinations. Another interesting element to some of the Hydrangea varieties is that some of them like a greater amount of shade than others. Don’t be put off by the many variables. If a plant doesn’t do great in one area you can always transplant it into another environment (always give a new plant 2 years to acclimate and supplement water during the process. The greatest think to remember when planting this group of plants is that they all appreciate water. What most varieties don’t like is drought or sitting in water (roots drowning, can’t engage in cycling gasses and waste products). I am trying to use language everyone will understand without getting too technical.

single Hydrangea 'Blushing Bride' in a mixed planting
single Hydrangea ‘Blushing Bride’ in a mixed planting
Hydrangea 'Pee Gee' in all it's blooming glory
Hydrangea ‘Pee Gee’ in all it’s blooming glory

OK too much information. I have given you all some wonderful starting points the rest is up to you. The web has a lot of extended information on all these varieties. Look at some of the pictures I have taken as well as some that I have captured from the web and make a choice. AS I HAVE ALWAYS SAID, ONE MOMENT, ONE PLANT. Now get to work. All those that would love to learn more in an intimate gardening environment, click on the link to discover when, where and how @ www.plantwithme.com with Michael Rosenberg.

Pruning hydrangeas can be simple, even if neglected for a number of years, restoring them just takes some sensitivity. Depending on the type of woody ornamental you have, pruning focusses on thinning and tipping back plants to a strong swelling bud. I always feel as though Hydrangeas and Roses have a lot in common when it comes to their overall maintenance. Fertilization can be done every early springtime as the new growth is emerging with a balanced 10-10-10 fertilizer. The one thing I love to do every year during my fall clean-up (I don’t like that terminology “FALL CLEAN-UP”) is blow lots of leaves into and around the root-crown of my plants to insulate them and encourage new stem development from the plants core.

Hydrangea changing color for the fall
Hydrangea changing color for the fall
Late Summer Hydrangea garden display
Late Summer Hydrangea garden display

I can’t help it but I must go off on a tangent and discuss why I don’t like the landscaper language of Fall and Spring Clean-ups. They are not really cleaning up, they are ripping you off by clearing off your properties organic mater. These landscapers are removing a great deal of valuable material that a month later they charge you to bring back onto your property in the form of mulch. Another problem arises when you discover you need to fertilize to compensate for the loss of natural material, which is missing some key beneficial soil amendments. So here you are with a cleaned up property, waiting to be unnaturally fertilized and insulated. Please don’t think I am against fertilization and mulch. I am against the practice of stripping the man made environment of it’s natural resources. there are ways to save the environment, save your gardens and save money all at the same time.

Climbing Hydrangea 'Moonlight' in July
Climbing Hydrangea ‘Moonlight’ in July
Climbing Hydrangea 'Moonlight' in the end of April
Climbing Hydrangea ‘Moonlight’ in the end of April

Back to my main topic, Hydrangeas, a plant for every homeowner, every property with minimal maintenance. You can’t go wrong when committing to put a plant into the ground.

Just lovin’ it… Whatever it is, I’m lovin’ it. I think you should to. Whatever it is for you, find it and love it. Good luck finding your way through the love garden.

Oakleaf Hydrangea Flower and leaves in mid August
Oakleaf Hydrangea Flower and leaves in mid August

With warm regards,

The almighty me (just humor me) LOL

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