Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Hydrangea Die-Back 2018

Winter got me like ..
The long cold winter is a not so fond memory. Souvenirs of the protracted cold of 2018 are showing up in the garden

This spring some hardy hydrangea are missing the early vitality of prior years.

In 2018 the Midwest suffered through several days of continuous cold.  Some weeks never saw the thermometer rise above twenty degrees Fahrenheit.

While the seemingly endless snow cover might have offered  insulation for below-ground plants, the living stalks of many hydrangea varietals could not survive the sustained onslaught of icy temps.  Rather than remain dormant, the upper eighty percent of many hydrangea appear lifeless. But that's not fatal for the entire plant.

My lace cap hydrangea hedge, which rounded out above three feet, is only green at the bottom quarter.

Forever and Ever look like lettuce plants.

Annabelle hydrangea, on the other hand, never missed a beat.  It's not yet Memorial Day and these beauties are right on track.  Healthy globes of green.

Annabelles are indigenous to Zones Five and Six.  Many of the newer hydrangea introductions are dubbed "marginally hardy."

For the struggling plant, it's best to stand by.  Don't remove the shrubs so long as they show signs of growth at the base. 

Defer trimming back the brown stalks poking out from the plant base.  But, if the branches were not trimmed back in the fall, cut back by one-third.  Hopefully the remaining stalks will act as plant supports to  new growth.  If they're still protruding by late June, then cut back those that poke out. 

Will there be hydrangea blooms this year?  Yes, but maybe not as robust as past years.

Gardeners are experts in the art of patience.  By next year, if there's fewer troughs of cold, blooms should return to normal.

Annabelle in May
My husband likes to point out how eager I was to pull out a seemingly dead Annabelle hydrangea a few years ago.  Uncharacteristically I agreed to wait.

That Annabelle is a repeat showstopper.

Ignore the funky looking hydrangea until summer is in full swing. 

The vagrancies of nature can be accommodated if anticipated.

More mopheads:

The Incrediball Hydrangea ~ From Annabelle to Forever and Ever

Hydrangea Hedgerows

Friday, May 11, 2018

Garden Gates

Gates are the opening act.

A fence is not required.  Garden gates stand alone, unite hedges or define a pathway. 

The gate can be made of any material, wood, willow, iron or copper.

A gate can be functional, keeping intruders out,
or occupants in.  Or it can be purely decorative.  From simple creations to elaborate works of art.

Gates know no language, they are impervious to cultural or political influences. They can be shabby or grand.  Always charming.

Gates are the cherry on top of a lovely sundae of a garden.

They may creak, or lean, but gates always add an element of interest, whether open or closed.

They  offer mystery and inquiry.  Doorways to the beauty within.

Single or double the message is the same.  While fences create boundaries, gates are an open nvitation.

In my travels, I've paused in front of innumerable entryways, wondering about the gardens they protects, and the gardeners therein.

Sometimes the latch opens easily. 

Curtain's raised!

And the magic begins...


Beyond the gates:

The Garden Potting Bench

Cottage Garden Design