THE OLD SIGN PHILOSOPHER, THOUGHT FOR THE DAY!

SOME ARE WISE.......SOME OTHERWISE!!!!

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WHAT A MEMORIAL DAY WEEKEND. IT WAS GREAT SERVING THE BEST CUSTOMERS IN ST. LOUIS OVER 900 HOT DOGS OVER THE THREE DAY MEMORIAL DAY WEEKEND. SALES WERE BRISK AND THE FOOD AND DRINK WAS "FREE". ITS THE GREENSCAPE GARDENS WAY OF SAYING THANK YOU FOR YOUR PATRONAGE. WE'VE BEEN TOLD THAT THERE IS OTHER GARDEN CENTERS IN THE ST. LOUIS AREA BUT THE BEST GARDENERS COME TO GREENSCAPE. KEEP SPREADING THE WORD TO YOUR FRIENDS AND NEIGHBORS. THANKS

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HYDRANGEAS----THE SUMMER FLOWERING SHADE SHRUB

Hydrangeas bring color to your shady gardens. Hydrangeas provide flower clusters like fluffy balls of cotton candy. From now through July, huge flower heads of blue, pink, white and blends of those two colors appear above the rich green leaves of these plants.

Hydrangeas (Hydrangea macrophylla) are deciduous shrubs originally native to Japan. They need an evenly moist soil and are intolerant of dry conditions. If you allow hydrangeas to wilt excessively, either those growing in pots or in the ground, it will shorten the life of the flowers and can cause the foliage to develop scorched edges.

Locate hydrangeas in a spot where they receive some shade during the day. A shady (two hours of direct sun) or partly shaded (about four hours of direct sun) bed is ideal. Avoid hot, sunny, dry areas or beds that are baked by the afternoon sun. Morning sun is much preferred by these plants, so an eastern exposure is excellent. Hydrangeas do best in beds that have been amended with generous amounts of organic matter, such as compost or peat moss. Dig in a 2-4 inch layer of organic matter during bed preparation. The organic matter helps retain moisture in the soil.
Once planted, it is important to keep hydrangeas well watered. Water deeply and thoroughly two or three times a week while they get established and then once or twice a week later on if the weather is dry. Hydrangeas also benefit from a 2-3 inch layer of mulch, over their root system to help maintain a moist soil condition.

The colorful parts of the flower head are not part of the flowers at all. What you might think of as petals actually are modified sepals. The actual flowers are tiny, inconspicuous and located in the middle of the four showy sepals. The flowers which have showy sepals are called sterile flowers. The mophead or hortensia hydrangeas have huge round heads of sterile flowers. Another group, the lacecap hydrangeas, has a center cluster of small fertile flowers, which are not showy, surrounded by a ring of attractive sterile flowers. The popular variegated hydrangea is a lacecap type.

When the colorful flower heads turn green it signals the ideal time to prune your plants. First, cut off the faded flower heads with stems about 4-6 inches. If you are trying to reduce the size of your bush, cut the heads with longer stems.
If there are any especially tall shoots, or if you need to cut the whole bush back to reduce its size, you may continue to cut back shoots to achieve the desired results. Pruning back stimulates new growth – creating a fuller, shapelier bush. This type of pruning must be done by the end of July at the latest. Hydrangeas set their flower buds for the next year in late summer, so any pruning after that removes the flower buds and reduces or eliminates flowers the next year.

The flower heads of hydrangeas are rather unique. Depending on how acid or alkaline the soil the plant is growing in, the colorful sepals can be different colors. For example, if you have pink hydrangeas and you want them to be blue, treat the soil around the bushes with aluminum sulphate in March and again in October each year. Gradually, over time, the flower heads will turn blue. If your hydrangeas are blue and you want them to be pink, treat the soil around the bushes with lime following the same schedule. It may take a couple of years to be fully effective.
The intensity of the color is controlled by genetics and depends on the variety you are growing. Since white hydrangeas do not have pigment in their sepals, they are white regardless of the soil pH. But the others can be varied.

The oakleaf hydrangea (Hydrangea quercifolia), with its large pointed cones of white flowers, which age to dusty rose, and its dark green attractive leaves, also deserves consideration for shady areas of your landscape. Larger growing than standard hydrangeas (up to six feet), oak leaf hydrangeas also are deciduous and have the added attraction of orange to burgundy fall color.

Greenscape Gardens has a great collection of hydrangeas including the "Endless Summer Hydrangea". This hydrangea flowers on last year's wood and this years new growth. Also of interest is "Big Daddy". We have seen "Big Daddy" flowers as big as a basketball. These two new hydrangeas are a must for any shade garden.