Dear Hydrangea enthusiasts,
Welcome to the April 2010 newsletter for Hydrangea Plus®.
I hope you all have a great spring. Raise your hands if spring for you is constant changing weather! Weather whiplash I call it. It’s sunny then it’s raining sheets of water then there is pea sized hail. I think I saw a little snow mixed in with the water the other day.
We’re really getting busy here so be sure to leave a message or send me an email if you have a question. I’ll get back to you as soon as I can. Thursdays are usually a good day to call, sometimes. Remember we do mail order on Monday so I label the boxes and have to turn around and get Tuesday’s orders queued so please be patient. I call that day crazy Monday, as if Mondays weren’t bad enough for just being a Monday.
Our annual on-site retail spring break weekend sale just keeps getting bigger. I sold a lot of plants and met some great new hydrangea enthusiasts. It was actually a beautiful weekend and fun was had by all. Oh, and the VanHoose family went to Disneyland to celebrate spring break and see my family (first time for all but me).
With the winter mild and the spring, well, wet, we’re on track for a wonderful hydrangea year here at Hydrangeas Plus®. I have buds on the Serrata (hint, hint, buy me!) and several of the 3 year new wood blooming and early blooming macrophylla (All Summer beauty, Marechal Foch, just to name a few). Oakleaf and Paniculata are still just peaking out of the woody stems. Nothing illustrates spring for me like leaves peaking through the buds.
The eighth annual Gardenpalooza at Fir Point Farms was a huge hit even with the less than glorious weather. But, the plant enthusiasts from all over weathered the downpours, hail and the most biting wind gusts in a long time.
Our next event is our annual overstock sale here at the nursery. See heading later in the newsletter for details.
Hydrangeas Plus® Catalog (X)
The number 10 catalog is done and is the best looking one of them all. Remember that I’m going to have to charge for them this year. Because we are doing fewer, the cost is much much greater. The charge is $5. Order on line (at http://www.hydrangeasplus.com) or send me a check to
PO BOX 389
Aurora OR 97002
You may order a FREE download version of the catalog (be sure to say zero when it lets you put in the cost so you don’t have to enter your credit card number).
In case you missed our last newsletters, we had some significant damage with a December 2008 storm and lost 20 cold frame greenhouses to the weight of snow and ice. Our insurance company has denied our claim for the damage. With the large cost to repair our cold frame greenhouses, we are not able to send out the catalog, at least for free. I hope we can continue our free catalog practice in the future.
Spring Overstock sale – BIG BIG SALE
Sale is April 24 – May 8, 9am to 5pm daily only here at the nursery. Don’t miss out. I’m not sure what we will have but come and find out. We grow more than just hydrangeas so come even if you’re not looking for hydrangeas….I made new signs for this year, too. They are white with a picture of a hydrangea.
Our address is 6543 S. Zimmerman Road
Aurora OR 97002
Sale – Free shipping
Free shipping on orders of $150 or greater. This offer is good just through May 1st. Orders must ship before June 1st, 2010 and is good to US addresses only! It’s a coupon code and if you have trouble using the coupon, just let me know. Use the coupon code, FREE SHIPPING (below your shopping cart) once your order has reached $150 (that’s just four three-year hydrangeas). You won’t be able to see the coupon is accepted and in effect until your reach the check out stage. If there is an error with the coupon, you will get a purple box at the top of your shopping cart that says ‘you have entered an incorrect coupon code!’. But again, if you have trouble, just email or call and I can fix it for you.
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A winter tip – Pruning
If you forgot to prune your hydrangeas last fall, don't worry, you can still prune them in the spring. Unlike many of your other flowering bushes (roses & buddleia), hydrangeas should not be harshly pruned in the spring. Most mophead and lacecap hydrangea varieties bloom on old wood and if you cut too much, you won't get any blooms. Once your plant starts to leaf out, you can see the leaf nodes beginning to form. Count back from the end of the plant such that you have at least three fat and healthy leaf nodes forming. Prune right above the third one. That is, after the pruning, you'll have three of the fattest leaf nodes remaining. Be sure that you leave nice plump buds. Wait until leaves are starting to show before you prune your macrophyllas so you don't prune too much.
When in doubt, just cut off the dried bloom heads from last year. The new leaves will grow around these old heads even if you don't cut them. But, each cut you do will give you two branches and two future blooms.
The Paniculata and Arborescens varieties bloom on new wood so you may cut them for size every year, spring or fall, whatever time is most convenient for you. Cut these for size. These varieties will put on one foot to three feet of growth in one year depending on the amount of sun (more growth in less sun)
A spring tip – Fertilizing
It's almost time to start fertilizing those hydrangeas. My rule of thumb is when the leaves start showing through the leaf nodes, it's time for an application of time release fertilizer.
What do your hydrangeas need in terms of fertilizing? The three essential components of fertilizer are nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium, the N-P-K numbers on any fertilizer. Nitrogen is for healthy green growth by helping the plant to grow chlorophyll. Fertilizers high in nitrogen like 25-10-10, is great for greening up your lawn. Phosphorus helps a plant grow good roots and stems in the early growth season then in flower production. A mix like 10-30-10 is great for flowers on your annuals and perennials. The Potassium (K) helps your plants generate and process nutrients. Other important elements in fertilizers are calcium, magnesium, iron, copper, manganese, zinc, and sulfur. Organic fertilizers are usually very low in these trace elements.
Hydrangeas like a balanced fertilizer. We prefer the granular time-released kind that delivers nutrients to the plant over a 3 or 4 month period. Water will break down the outside coating of the fertilizer slowly and nutrients won’t dwindle out in the active spring growth season. Be sure that the soil is slightly moist when applying the granulated variety and keep the fertilizer off the foliage to prevent burn.
For blue hydrangeas, a low phosphorus element (the ‘P’) is important as too much will limit the plant's ability to absorb aluminum. The amounts of sulfur (lowers pH) and calcium (raises pH) are important to keep the blue color. A good soil test from you local garden center can tell you what elements are missing from your soil.
Working and office schedule
We’re off and running, literally this time of the year. If the internet ordering isn’t for you, you’re not alone and we’re here for you. If I’m not in the office or on the other line, please leave a message. I’m a working owner, the big boss, the lone office employee and I like to get my hands dirty and not sit inside and do paper pushing on sunny days. But I’m never far away. Mondays are totally crazy now with mail order frenzy but otherwise, I try to stay in the office when I not chauffeuring the kids to school. If anyone has figured out how to clone a busy mom, please let me know.
Hydrangeas Plus® important dates for your calendar – more details on the website
Here at the nursery
Overstock Sale – April 25th – May 9th
NW Hydrangea society meeting – late May/early June
Gardenpalooza the Tour – 2nd weekend in September