Friday, July 25, 2008

What Might Have Been...


I am the poster boy for the Hydrangea Endless Summer hyperbole club: I embarrassingly said when it first came out that it might be the single biggest advance in cold climate horticulture... Sigh. Try Googling "Endless Summer won't bloom"; there are 152,000 results. It has been quite satisfactory from zones 6 on south, but the whole point of its introduction was to provide northern gardeners with a hardy blooming Hydrangea macrophylla. Bailey Nurseries now says in northern zones you should winter mulch it, and fertilize it in the spring. Well, wasn't that the issue with cheap old Nikko Blue; that it would only bloom if you mulched it well in the winter? I do know that Endless Summer also needs extensive sun to bloom, which means extensive water to keep it from flopping about every afternoon; in other words, to get Endless Summer to reliably bloom in Zones 4 and 5, it must be coddled like Nikko Blue.
I have in my garden a Hydrangea serrata species (seen below) from the old Heronswood Nursery; tagged only with a code number, it supposedly was discovered growing in a very high area, so was thought likely more cold tolerant. Well, indeed it blooms well every year, in heavy shade with no winter protection. The flower clusters are quite modest, this being an unimproved serrata species, but it makes you wonder what could have been done with it in the hybridizer's hands. The old Heronswood is gone now, of course, and who knows about their full plant collection.
The "Walmartization" of horticulture is a sad development.

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Comments:
That is disappointing, but perhaps you'll find a way to coax them into bloom. :)
 
It looks like the endless summer variety has been pretty popular this year. I've seen multiple blog posts on it already. I guess I took a different route with my liriope groundcover this year. It's looking great though.
 
I tried to grow them for 3 years with no success. I had them in perfect conditions and still no blooms.
 
I really like your second one best, anyway. ;-) I looked up hydrangeas and found that there are vine hydrangeas. Do you have one?
 
Well many times we buy the hype and try the plants only to be utterly dissapointed. I was looking for some hydrangeas for positions that only gets 1 hour direct sunlight every day. Guess I will forget about Endless summer nad Nikko blue now - I have seen pictures from California of them doing well - so I rather suspected they were doing better in a warmer climate.
 
Hmmm...my Endless Summer hydrangeas - both 'Bailmer' and 'Blushing Bride' - are in full shade and are the bloomingest hydrangeas I've got! This is just their second year here, too. I mulched all they hydrangeas in that location with pine needles. Wonder what it is that I'm doing right? Or maybe I'm just stupid lucky.
 
Nancy... I may coax them right out of my garden!

gardenguru... the ES does VERY well in z6, and has been a big deal there.

Anna... join my club :o)

Shady... I don't; i just never seemed to have a good spot for one.

kylee... what zone are you? They will bloom great in full shade in z6 south (as I gather). BB does take more shade, too.

Don

Niels... people in z6-7 say the ES blooms great with only an hour of sunlight. Here in z5 you won't get a sniff of a bloom with that much shade.
 
I'm in Zone 5 in northwest Ohio, just an hour south of the Michigan border.
 
Kylee... You must be both good and lucky :o)
Don
 
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