Dry Hydrangeas Enjoy All Winter September 21 2014, 0 Comments
Hydrangeas have everything going for them to get a prime spot in your landscaping. They have pretty foliage, natural rounding shape, are not fussy and have prolific large blooms that last for months. I have an affinity for the old-fashioned farmhouse style with the super huge white balls of blooms, a smooth hydrangea. The blooms emerge in June as pale green balls, change in July to bright white blooms, change back to pale green in mid August, and finally to brown in the fall.
The smooth hydrangea is a native to the eastern United States, from New York to Florida and west to Iowa and Louisiana, with a popular cultivar named Annabelle. Our yard has many of these that began as a shovel full from my Mom, who got her start from her Mom. As they have grown and spread, they are shared with other friends and family. Hydrangeas are one of the few bushes that spread naturally without being aggressive.
Hydrangeas have such big showy blooms that they standout from the back edge of the yard. They can work well as a privacy hedge because they grow thick and full. Hydrangeas also can also be grown in a pot. It is hard to beat large, long lasting blooms, and versatility to boot.
Now is the perfect time to cut a half dozen of the green blooms and pop in a vase to enjoy all winter. The blooms dry themselves naturally and retain the light green color. Choose blooms that have changed completely to green from white and have not yet developed into brown. Cut to length and arrange. In a few days they will be dried. The arrangement will last all winter long, providing a bit of greenery that never needs watering and came from your own garden. How simple is that!
If you don’t have hydrangea, this is a great time of year to buy one because gardening stores tend to have them on sale. Or get your shovel full from a friend and plant it for next year’s enjoyment. If it starts with two or three stems, it should double to five or six the year after. By the third year, it will likely be a good sized bush, and will grow to about five foot wide by five foot high. Hydrangeas grow best in zones 4 to 9 and enjoy moist, well-drained soil. They also benefit from some shade, especially shade from the late afternoon’s hot sun. The smooth hydrangea bloom on new growth so pruning or cutting back in late fall or early spring is best. I tend to leave them through the winter to enjoy the brown balls in winter, and cut to a foot high in very early spring.
Note: The forged iron shears can be found in the garden section on bomisch.com. A personal favorite.
Posted by Karen Sappington, Amateur gardener