Friday, June 20, 2008

Hydrangea blues

No I don't mean that I have lots of blue hydrangeas. I am supposed to but the hydrangeas in my garden are certainly not the hydrangeas of my youth. I planted quite a few different varities in our garden several years ago and I must say I am not happy with the way they have matured. Below you can see this Bluebird Hydrangea hardly lives up to its name. I probably should show you the entire bush. It looks pitaful. The blossom booms on old wood and it doesn't fill out very well.I have a Silver Blue Hydrangeas. They are supposed to have varigated leaves. Well, you guessed, they are about to revert to what ever they were bred from. They have very few varigated leaves and they hardly bloom either.
You would think the old standard Niko Blue would be able to with stand any types of soil and light conditions.

Even though these Niko Blue Hydrangeas have grown quite a bit since they were planted. They don't bloom blue as you might expect. The ph here doesn't allow blue blossoms. I get a sickly washed out rainbow of light blue, pink and yellow. Really odd, do you notice there are no blooms at the top of the bush. Most years I am lucky to have these blooms along the bottom of the bush due to late frosts. I have a couple of hydrangeas that I moved to where the pine trees shed their leaves for 20+ years. One is trying its best to live up to its name, Niko BLUE. I have doctored the soil around these hydrangeas for years but haven't had much luck getting them to a blue hue.
My very best bloomer and doer is the Oak leaf hydrangea. It continues to bloom and look amazing in all seasons. At least I have one hydrangea I can depend on. I mean these bushes have been here for 10 years this summer. It looks like they would be used to their environment. Maybe I just expect too much out of them. After all in my minds eye there should be big round blue balls that I could pick off and use as kick balls. Hmmm maybe that is why I remember them so vividly from my childhood. I got into big trouble for picking the neighbors blossoms.



A friend of mine gave me a start of an old fashioned snowball bush that was in her garden when they purchased the house. I have only had it a couple of years and it gave me its first bloom last summer. It is one that blooms later in the summer. I believe it is going to do well in its situation.


I also have this hydrangea. It is relatively new to the garden. It has only been here about 3 years. Don't adjust your monitor. It has a yellow varigation in its leaves. I sure wish I could tell you exactly what it is but I can't. I simply can't find a tag or any mention of it in my garden journals. Hmmmmm I do remember reading that it wasn't known for its blooms but is usually grown for its foilage which is what drew me to it. It does give me a couple of blossoms every year. As you can see there is a bud at this time.
Lastly in my hydrangea menagerie is the small patio pink. I have three of these out by the barn. They are in such deep shade that they do well to exist. This one however is situated up by the patio as it should be and it is generous with its pretty pink blooms. So on this happy note I will leave you with well wishes for the weekend.

24 comments:

nina said...

I have no experience with hydrangeas, but I love their look.
And they're such a classic plant.
But, the whites are my favorite. So simple--green and white.

Good luck with working on them.

Q said...

Dear Lisa,
Hydrangeas never have grown very well for me. We have a huge Snowball Bush, that is my neighbors, in back! Oakleaf Hydrangea looks like my kind of bush, do the bees or the butterflies like it?
Happy Summer Solstice,
Sherry

Rose said...

I do love hydrangeas! But I have a confession to make--remember that beautiful blue bloom I showed on a post a while back? It was on a new shrub I just planted this spring. My old ones are just beginning to bloom, and they are...pink, of course! I usually forget until after they start blooming to give them some acidic fertilizer, so then the blooms turn lavender. My old ones haven't gotten very big, either.
I've read that hydrangeas are picky about where they're planted. I don't think mine like their home very much.

Mary said...

Lisa,

Your hydrangeas look great to me!

I have a line of blue hydrangeas that haven't bloomed at all. This is their third spring. My neighbor has one blue hydrangea that blooms beautifully and I remember her telling me she adds coffee grinds to the soil. Maybe I should try it? But we don't drink coffee... Acidic fertilizer like Rose mentioned is probably what I need to do.

Have a good weekend!

cindee said...

It is all about the soil. I have amended my soil for years too. I might get a pale blue but mostly pink too. I keep adding the stuff they sell for hydrangeas to turn them blue though. I add plenty of pine needles too and oak leaves...Hopefully someday(-: Yours are pretty anyhow(-: Pink ones are just as pretty but I know how you feel you just want that hydrangea blue you see in pictures!!! Don't give up...keep trying...(-:

gintoino said...

I just love Hydrangeas. They bring me very good memories from when I was a kid.

Robin's Nesting Place said...

You have quite a variety of hydrangeas. I have three and none of them are blooming yet. In fact, they are pretty small.

Mr. McGregor's Daughter said...

I don't even bother trying to get my Hydrangeas blue. Fortunately, my mopheads bloom a good pink. The mopheads & lacecaps are such fussy plants. At least we have Oakleaf Hydrangeas to cheer us.

Frances, said...

Hi Lisa, it looks like the jury is still out on growing hydrangeas at all. We struggle with them due to the drought, late frosts, etc. The only one that blooms worth a dime is Annabelle, not any of the mop heads or lace caps have done a thing. I keep moving them, we have acid soil here, and drink coffee, maybe that will help. I have been giving Nikko Blue extra water, he has two sad blooms, blue but puny. Should we give up?

Naturegirl said...

Lisa it seems that your hydrangeas have a mind of their own!Any way we look at them I love them all!
That first looks like a climbing hydrangea...mine looks like that but white!
Love the varigated leaf one..I must look into getting one! Thier glow in the sunlight must be stunning!!
Tomorrow I will post more blossoms..the sky watch was fun!
I wish you a happy day in your garden of hydrangeas!

Diana said...

Lisa - I can't even think about growin the hydrangeas in my garden, and I think yours look lovely and blue and cool! As in, not 102 degrees cool -- how's the rain up there this week? Any relief in sight. We're heading to Arcadia next weekend for 5 days and looking forward to some cooler weather.

mon@rch said...

Such a stunning garden that you have! So many varieties!

Stephanie said...

wow your garden looks so good

beckie said...

Lisa, since I have no hydrangeas, I can offer no advice. What ever it's worth, I think they look pretty good. From the sound of it they are very persickety plants. I wish you lot of luck!:)

Meems said...

Lisa: Oh how I love any kind of hydrangea but not a flower seen very often in my neck of Floirda. I did plant my first oakleaf hydrangea this spring and even though the two plants produced some very nice white blooms they are small plants. I'm hoping for survival until another round of blooms.Remains to be seen.

I'm seeing lots of gorgeous hydrangea blooms while driving around North Carolina the last two days. They are very hardy apparently around here.

Even though I know it is disappointing when plants don't give us what we expect I think you have some lovely blooms. Maybe there is still hope for them with all the beautiful foliage they produce... wish I could add something helpful.
meems @Hoe&Shovel

Meems said...

Lisa: Oh how I love any kind of hydrangea but not a flower seen very often in my neck of Floirda. I did plant my first oakleaf hydrangea this spring and even though the two plants produced some very nice white blooms they are small plants. I'm hoping for survival until another round of blooms.Remains to be seen.

I'm seeing lots of gorgeous hydrangea blooms while driving around North Carolina the last two days. They are very hardy apparently around here.

Even though I know it is disappointing when plants don't give us what we expect I think you have some lovely blooms. Maybe there is still hope for them with all the beautiful foliage they produce... wish I could add something helpful.
meems @Hoe&Shovel

Teri C said...

They might not be blue but they are so pretty. I have seen these advertised and wondered if they stayed blue. You answered that question. But they are still pretty.

Sherry at the Zoo said...

I don't have any in my yard, but maybe I'll try my hand at one..... They just don't seem all that easy to me which is why I've never planted one before.

kate smudges said...

The oakleaf hydrangea looks great - I love the look of it. Hydrangeas don't grow so well here either. I have never even tried, although my parents have one that is doing great. White blooms, mind you.

You do have a good collection of them! If only they all grew and bloomed just as you remember from your youth.

Cheryl said...

Hi Lisa....you could have written that post about the hydrangeas in my garden....I have two that do well, the rest bloon, but are sad to look at.
Most of mine have turned sickly pink....I think the thing with them is having the right soil.
Its annoying isn't it???
Loved reading the post though, made me feel a lot better about mine.

Cathy said...

I love your hydrangea. I have never grown them, but have always heard they were testy.

Marvin said...

Sorry about your lack of success with the hydrangeas. I've never attempted growing them. They seem to temperamental for my laid back (i.e. neglectful) gardening habits.

Dee/reddirtramblings said...

Here, hydrangeas are iffy too. My best are my 'Annabelle' ones. I also have the not on the market yet 'Pinky Winky' which is a paniculata, I think. They are small and will probably not bloom until next year.

I decided I got tired of treating the soil, so I don't anymore. I decided to like pink and white.~~Dee

tina said...

My favorite shrub-blue or not. Oakleafs do best in my garden too. You are not so far away at all. I have a little garden in Evansville and often visit there. I like the weather a bit better, plus I just love this part of Indiana.