Greetings and Happy New Year Hydrangea-philes!
We look forward to seeing you at our next AHS meeting, Thursday, February 18th, 2016 at Holy Spirit Catholic Church when accomplished landscape architect, Dottie Myers speaks to us in McDonnough Hall at 7:30pm. She will be sharing important info on designing with evergreen perennials with your hydrangeas! I am really excited to hear her speak. Please note that this meeting is on THURSDAY and not our usual Tuesday. Regretfully, the AHS could not reserve McDonnough Hall due to a previously planned church function. This Thursday night switch will occur again in April when when we will meet at the church but on Thursday, April 21st. Always 7:00 pm social and 7:30 meeting/lecture.
In addition, Ozzie Johnson will be giving a short pruning demo before Dottie Myers starts speaking! So come early to get a good seat and a raffle ticket or two!
We were thrilled with the wonderful attendance we had at our last AHS meeting on October 27th at the Atlanta History Center when the delightful and knowledgeable, Mal Condon spoke to us on “Maximizing Hydrangea Blooming – The Seasonal Approach to Pruning”. He included many timely tips on Winter Protection as well. I hope we do not have a lot of fluctuating temperatures this year, which destroys the bud for most of the plants, especially the young plants.
Personally, I am re-evaluating future hydrangea purchases focusing on the Hydrangea serratas which are the mountain hydrangeas that have better bud hardiness because they originated in the cooler mountains of Honshu, Japan where conditions are harsher. H. serratas typically bud out three weeks later than H. macrophyllas. As a result, they are hardier and less prone to frost damage. Be sure to protect your lacecaps from north and east winds, and sited away from frost pockets. My favorite serrata cultivars include ‘Lady in Red’ which is used to breed several new remontant cultivars, ‘Bluebird’, ‘Blue Billow’, ‘Grayswood’, ‘Tiara’, ‘Tuff Stuff’ and ‘Tiny Tuff Stuff.’ I must include two more favorites, ‘Purple Tiers’ and ‘Preziosa.’ That reminds me of what our founder, Penny McHenry use to say when asked what her favorite hydrangea was and she would always say “the one I am looking at now”. She was very careful not to let her “girls” get jealous of her favorites! One of Mal Condon’s favorite serratas is the compact ‘Blue Deckle’, which has the added interest of some serrated sepals. There are many more serratas but I am partial to these. Arborescens and Paniculatas are not affected by the fluctuating temperatures as they bloom on new wood and pruning takes place in March. You can always drape Christmas lights under the cover to help keep the plants warm.
We are on that trail of undiscovered gardens to share with the membership for the 2016 garden tour and beyond. Be sure to mark your calendars for Saturday, June 11th, 2016. We are looking for pretty gardens of all sizes that incorporate hydrangeas into their design. We need you to suggest and share your garden or a friend’s garden to either Scott Grosse or Dörte. Sharing your garden is such a rewarding and fun experience. We hope to hear from you soon.