Sunday, August 23, 2015

President’s Message – Fall 2015


We will meet at The Atlanta History Center in McElreath Hall 130 West Paces Ferry Road Atlanta 30305 for social time and refreshments from 7:00-7:30 pm and our speaker, Mal Condon,  begins at 7:30 pm.

Whew, it has been a challenge lately gardening in the Atlanta area! After this past winter with record cold freezing temperatures, including early and late frosts, our H. macrophyllas have taken it not on the chin, but most definitely on the bud resulting in a second year in a row without our beloved blue Hydrangea blooms.  The damaged H. macrophylla buds were caused by the repeated fluctuating temperatures from cold to warm and vice versa. Let us hope that the winter of 2016 will be more “normal!” There is much to be said for covering and protecting our plants so that the buds will not freeze. I am sewing my frost-proof fabric into assorted sizes of pillow cases now in preparation for this upcoming winter just-in-case (no pun intended!) More about Winter protection later.

It is important to remember that it is now too late to prune your H. macrophyllas  which will remove the buds for next year’s flowers.  August 1st, was the deadline!  The new growth needs time to harden off to set the buds and pruning now or any time after August 1st will result in NO BLOOMS!

We are looking forward to our next AHS meeting on Tuesday, October 27th, 2015 when Mal Condon will be speaking to us on this very topic “Maximizing Hydrangea Blooming – The Seasonal Approach to Pruning!”  You will not want to miss this important and very informative meeting. Please see Mal’s complete bio in the “News” section.

Thankfully, we have several other species of hydrangeas to come to the rescue including H. arborescens and H. paniculata which bloom on new wood, therefore are not affected by cold. H. quercifolia, native to the Southeast, did exceptionally well too!  It was a weird winter, where my H. quercifolia ‘Harmony’ which on any given year normally has 2-3 blooms this year it had 22 blooms!  Go figure!  I guess it was harmonious with the cold!

I wish you all could have been with me this summer in Cape Cod for the Hydrangea Conference! It was a sight for sore eyes seeing all their blue hydrangeas and all the other beautiful hydrangeas.  Cape Cod is “Hydrangea Heaven”.  I had whiplash from looking at all the beautiful blooms of all kinds of Hydrangeas EVERYWHERE!  Please do yourself a favor and go to Cape Cod for a visit in July.  The Chamber Of Commerce puts on a Hydrangea Festival with many garden tours!  Not to be missed is the wonderful Heritage Museum and Gardens, home of the Cape Cod Hydrangea Society’s Hydrangea Display Garden where Mal Condon, our AHS October speaker is the curator. They have done incredible work there since planting it in 2008.  This was the dream of my dear friend, Joan Harrison, who spoke to our membership a few years ago.  This garden will be expanding, always including three of every cultivar planted.  There will be more about this in our upcoming member’s newsletter.

I am looking forward to seeing you all on 10/27/15 at the Atlanta History Center!

Happy Gardening,

Gloria Ward
AHS President


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