Monday, February 8, 2010

She aint heavy, she's my sister

Hydrangea arborescens 'Annabelle'
My friend Linda has called this hardy girl a 'THUG.' She is temperamental, tells you know when she is thirsty, likes some sun, but not too much-or that could be me not watering her enough. Her heads are about a foot across if you fertilize her enough (kept wanting to write 'fertilizer enough.'
On size I have been told many things. I have been told she is only 4 feet high and others tell me 8-10 feet. Guess it all depends on the gropwing conditions.
I was informed for years this is the only variety of H. aborescens you could find in any garden center and was sur la facture at most specialty nurseries. Now you can find 'White Dome','Hayes Starburst', 'Incrediball', and the lovely new introduction 'Ivinciball Spirit'.

I might as well start with the Invinciball Spirit. Here it is at last, a pink H. arborscens. This sweety will continually bloom during the season I am told. The flower buds are produced on new wood, not like Hydrangea macrophylla, so you are going to get bloom even if this pink darling gets winter damaged down to the ground.
So, again, summer it will start blooming all the way till frost!
I will try posting a picture up on the website once that is up and going.

Incrediball was the first dwarf introduction. So for those who would like something mid boarder or closer to the front, or this plant can work nicely as a foundation planting without getting out of hand.

'Hayes Starbust' I am attracted to because of the texture it gives the flower head. Now this a completely sterile form or flower head and the blossom petals are pointed instead of the typical round. It is also a double flower blossom, so it has this puffy, shaggy, just other texture that I find irresistible.

I tend to push Hydrangea paniculata forms for most gardeners around here, but if you must have a mop head style hydrangea I would say your best money is on Hydrangea arborescens.

To those of you who are struggling to grow blue hydrangeas in alkaline soil. Just surrender your frustration. We have a high PH here, in the 7 to 8 range, and they need acidic soil that is more like PH 3 to 4 to achieve that nice blue shading. Don't keep pouring chemicals into the ground. Let's talk.

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