Hydrangeas are such beautiful shrubs and it is easier to understand them than we think. Success With Hydrangeas by Lorraine Ballato is by far THE necessary tool required for anyone who loves Hydrangeas. The task of having a successful garden season is easier with Hydrangeas that are cared for properly from start to finish.
Lorraine Ballato, a hydrangea lover, residing in Connecticut really knows her stuff! She has broken down the mystery of why certain hydrangeas are called macro, petiolaris, Querci, paniculate or serrata. Most people go to the store and are not quite sure what they are getting into. The longstanding and eternally asked question is simple – “Can I prune it now? I am certain that almost every garden center has had this question by now. SPOILER ALERT – If you are on the East Coast and know what type of Hydrangea you are growing…wait until May 15th to be safe.
As Lorraine points out in the chapter on pruning, the gardener must know the type and bloom time prior to pruning. Mindlessly pruning can be the cause of lack of blooms on older cultivars. There are many new options available that bloom on new wood prolifically. This is good news for many hydrangea fans. Usually, the greenhouse grown, bloom forced hydrangeas which are found in many stores are difficult to re-bloom. Sometimes with a lot of coaxing, this might happen.
I love bodacious hydrangea blooms. The kind of blooms that are larger than life. My Quercifolia “Alice” is the Queen f my hydrangea row. I only prune it so I can meander down the pathway. I keep her feet covered with shredded leaves and quench her thirst with grey water. Alice has withstood everything a harsh, zone 6b, dry winter has offered. In spite of this, her candelabra tips are signaling another year of bodacious 12-inch blooms. I cannot wait.
In chapter 3 – Troubleshooting Hydrangea problems was quite informative. Using the photos found in this book as a guide, Lorraine has made it quite easy to identify common hydrangea issues. With the photos, along with suggested methods of treatment, “Success With Hydrangeas – A Gardeners Guide” is a great book to have on hand. As in any garden, good garden hygiene goes a long way in preventing damage or loss of a favored shrub.
Another favorite part of this book was Chapter 9. When it comes to propagating to make more of this garden gem, I am all ears. I have a hydrangea that my mother wanted me to have. By laying a stone on a low-lying branch of one of my favorite ‘, by the end of the summer, we had a new plant. This was one of the last things my mom did for me as a gift from her garden to mine.
Whether flanking a doorway, gracing the edge of a woodland walk or simply in a garden plot, Hydrangeas can be grown successfully…with a few tips from Lorraine Ballato.
I want to say Thank You to Lorraine for donating two signed copies of her book to a Seed Swap I co-sponsored in February. After really delving into her tips, I know that the recipients of her book are going to have absolutely beautiful this year. Thank you, Lorraine!
Success With Hydrangeas – A Gardener’s Guide – If you Love Hydrangeas.by