Happy Hydrangea News

Dearest Hydrangea:

Please forgive me for mistakenly identifying you as an Annabelle variety and hacking you nearly to the ground in the fall of 2010. (Incriminating photos HERE.)

Your blooms were sorely missed last year, and I have only myself to blame.  (I’m learning, I’m learning!)

With the help of Lady Flora and In My Garden (Country Edition), I now realize that you are most likely a macrophylla variety, possibly ‘Niko Blue,’ and that you bloom on old wood.

Thank you for the tiny, amazing green cauliflower-like buds you have begun to produce all over, which give me hope that this summer you will bloom once again.

I promise to never come near you with the pruners again, except to remove your lovely faded blooms in early winter.

You are free to do your “hydrangea thing” uninterrupted (I hope) by any more blunders from this novice gardener.


your biggest fan


To Prune or Not To Prune…

When we moved into our apartment in August of 2010, the Hydrangea in the backyard was in full bloom.

Hydrangea blooming when we moved in...

blooming in summer of 2010

That fall I researched how to prune hydrangeas and decided, based on photos and info found here, that our hydrangea must be H. arborescens, an Annabelle type.  According to this very helpful site, these types of hydrangeas bloom on new wood (new stems), and that they usually “bloom every single year, no matter how they are treated.  The only time they cannot be pruned is in the spring when they are preparing to bloom.”  The site recommends that you prune this type of hydrangea back to a few inches above ground or to about 18″ – 24″ if you want to leave old wood to support the new branches and keep the plant from flattening in the rain.

So, that’s what I did. However, I also divided the hydrangea at the same time. It was enormous and was crowded in with a holly (which I have since dug up and given away as it didn’t have a mate and produced no berries.)  I gave the hydrangea division to my friend Bev in PA.

Here is the hydrangea in March 2011, after being pruned and divided in November 2010

same day, top view

It continued to grow…

And here it is a month later, in May 2011: (note the cat hiding in my transplant tray!)

…and to become huge, green, and lush:

Hydrangea in June 2011

The only problem?  No flowers!  Not a single bloom all summer long.  I am hoping that the lack of flowers was due to it having been divided the previous fall and not to an error in my pruning methods.

This year I have not yet pruned the hydrangea at all, partly because I’m scared to, and partly because the weather has been so strangely warm that I wondered if I ought to wait for colder temperatures…which are kind of upon us now.  Is it too late?

Here it is now, not yet pruned...showing some buds on those stalks already.

Toward the end of fall I noticed powdery mildew on its leaves before they fell off, so I’m hoping that will not make a comeback this summer.

What do you think?  Have I missed the boat on this one?  Should I just let it be, or start chopping?  (Oh, I know you YOU would answer this question, my good Linnie!  You may be right!)