Dear Hydrangea Enthusiasts,

Welcome to the December 2006 edition of our Hydrangeas Plus® newsletter.  We here at Hydrangeas Plus® wish you and your family a very happy and safe holiday season.  Thank you for a wonderful year and we hope you are looking forward to 2007.  We strive to provide you with the best selection and quality hydrangeas in the country!  

Our last day of shipping will be December 19th but we'll continue to process gift certificates.  We will begin shipping plants again in late January 2007, depending on our weather.

We did set a rainfall record for November at 12.86 inches of rain but the nursery and the plants made it through just great.  And, well watered for now.  It's been very frosty here in the Willamette Valley - even for December.   We are waking up daily to slightly freezing temperatures but most days warm up to the mid 40s.  Some varieties of hydrangea are still holding on to their leaves but it won't be long until the plants are totally dormant here in Oregon.  We had such a lovely fall and the temperatures have been optimal in terms of slow decline into winter.  

Our family and our employees thank you for your business.

Gift Ideas
Have you finished your Holiday shopping yet?  Well, me either but I'm definitely in the home stretch.  I have just my husband left to buy for this year.  He is always the hardest but once I find that perfect gadget, I'm done.  How about a gift certificate from Hydrangeas Plus for that friend that is flower crazy?  We have online redemption available with our website.  We can email a gift certificate or send one the old fashioned way through the Postal Service.  We can do any amount you specify in multiples of $10, too.  Please let us know if we can help with your gift giving this Holiday season.

New Catalog is getting closer to your mail box

I went to see the progress on the 2007 catalog yesterday and WOW!!!  Our graphic designer is doing a fabulous job.  I was a little hesitant to let someone else design the catalog this time but with the changing technology and software out there, I knew someone else, a little more right brain than I, would do a better job.  

Please keep us up-to-date on any address changes.  We'll be sending the catalog after Christmas so that it doesn't get lost in shuffle of presents and cards.  If you haven't ordered in the last few years, you may not be signed up to receive a free catalog.  Sign up NOW!  Just send me your name, address, phone number and I'll sign you up.

SECRET CODE - The best way to sign up for the catalog is to use our coupon code CAT7 after you put the 2007 catalog into your shopping cart.  This will really save me some time if you don't mind filling out the information page.  This is a special code that I've created just for you subscribers of the newsletter.  here's how to order the catalog...
go to
In the left hand box called Categories select Order Catalog
Select Hydrangeas Plus Catalog VOLUME 7 by pressing Buy Now button
(Shopping cart should illustrate that the VOLUME 7 is in your shopping cart for $4.75)
Below the cart you should see a box for discount coupon.  In the coupon code box type CAT7 and press the submit button
(Shopping cart will recalculate and total cost should be zero for the catalog)
Select the Checkout button
Fill in your personal information and select the Submit button
(you'll get an email with an order number but catalog will be sent at NO cost)

Costs are going up
We are again faced with rising shipping and supply costs next year.  UPS and the US Postal Service are raising their rates and we may be forced to increase our shipping costs or get a little creative when it comes to shipping the plants.  We will be raising the cost of the plants next year for the first time in our history of the business.  We will be adding a smaller size next spring, a starter size that can be shipped for less.  I haven't gotten the information from UPS and USPS yet but I suspect marginal increases in that cost.  Please know that we are doing everything we can to keep the costs down.

Most of you are familiar with the closure of Heronswood in Washington State. The Pacific Northwest Horticultural Conservancy has been established to purchase and preserve the garden with the goal of creating a horticultural and educational center in partnership with institutions such as the University of Washington. If you're interested in helping with their mission, please see their website at

Memorial for Penny McHenry
The Atlanta Botanical Garden is honoring Penny by naming the new hydrangea collection in Penny's memory, Penny McHenry Hydrangea Collection.   Please indicate on your check that your donation is in memory of Penny McHenry and send it to the Penny McHenry Hydrangea Collection. 

Please mail your donation to:

Atlanta Botanical Garden
1345 Piedmont Ave.
Atlanta, GA  30309

Belgium Hydrangea Conference
All you hydrangea fanatics out there, need an excuse to go to Europe?  Visit the Mallet mecca for hydrangeas?  There is the International Hydrangea conference schedules for 2007 at the Ghent University Botanical Garden in Belgium.  The dates are August 16 - 19, 2007.   All the experts IN THE WORLD will be there for this wonderful conference.  Start saving your pennies - or $100s!  More information to follow about coordinating US registration.  

See more on the website at

New varieties coming in January
We are offering many new varieties in our fantastic new catalog and website for 2007.  Here are a few new offerings to get you excited for the new year.
Hydrangea Macrophylla Izo No Hana - Flowers of the Izo peninsula
Hydrangea Macrophylla Blauer Zwerg - The hydrangea truly named the Blue Dwarf
Hydrangea Macrophylla President R. Touchard - Here comes the prize of cut flowers

from last time...
Dichroa Febrifuga  – Hydrangea like foliage that stays green all year long
Hydrangea Quelpartensis – Originally from the Quelpart Island of Korea
Hydrangea Serrata Miranda - Showy and super hardy but as dainty as a princess

Yes, that time again.  We're doing our 10/20/30 sale.  What is that you ask?  Order $100 of plants or amendments and get 10% off.  Order $200 of plants or amendments and get 20% off.  Finally, order $300 of plants or amendments and get 30% off.  This offer is good through 12/31/06.  Sorry, we can't apply the discount to the shipping cost.  No coupon or code is necessary, the discount will come right off your order.  This can applied for plants/amendments shipped this fall or next spring.

Commonly Asked Questions (not a common theme this month but some great questions)

Q:  All summer long I placed coffee and tea grounds around one of my hydrangeas but it did not produce blue flowers. Should I continue doing this next spring, making another attempt or use something else?

A:   The coffee and tea grounds aren't as acidic as I once thought.  I still continue to put them on the hydrangeas, though.  It's very good for the soil.
My best recommendation is to do a soil test of the area.  There are so many contributors to pH (soil, soil amendments, water, residual, leaching of cement).  One or many of these factors may be combating your efforts for blue flowers.  Also, avoid super phosphate fertilizers - they tend to make pink blooms.  Also, do a pH test of your water.  Water treatment plants may use neutralizing chemicals that will keep hydrangeas pink.  Well water changes with the season so test in the spring.
To lower pH, you may use sulfur chemicals.  But, to get blue flowers, the soil needs to have aluminum present.  Blue hydrangeas need both low pH and available aluminum.  The lower the pH, the more the hydrangea is able to absorb the aluminum and change to blue.

Q:  Planted a Hydrangea tree last year in memory of my father. I have had more people ask me "what kind of tree is that?" Since the weather in Indiana has been sort of abnormal over the past several months, dead (brownish) blooms still remain on the tree. Do I need to trim those off? I do not remember doing that last year. All of the leaves did drop off though. Any advice? Thanks!

A:  The Paniculata family of hydrangeas can be pruned in the fall, winter or spring - whatever is most convenient.  This family blooms on new wood so you don't have to be nervous about cutting off blooms - like the other hydrangea families.
I like to prune in the spring after buds start popping out of the stems.  Be sure to leave one on the stem when you prune - a nice big one.  That is, cut all branch off down to the last leaf node such that when you're done there is one leaf node left on the each branch.
I hope that's clear.  Let me know if I can be of further assistance.

Q:  I see all these beautiful arrangements with long stem hydrangeas and I do well to cut blooms with maybe a 6" stem. Am I not fertilizing enough or what? I've decided to never prune again since it is so confusing. Well, maybe never. Your input would be appreciated.

A: It's probably more a function of the varieties that you have than fertilizing.  The compact varieties (that are most popular) don't have long stems and because of their breeding, probably never will.  Select taller varieties like Souvenior de Presidente or General Vicomtesse.  these are two of the largest growing.
Do you know what varieties you do have? 
If you think it's a nutrition issue, take a soil sample to your local agricultural extension agency.  Hydrangeas like rich soil that is low in pH (high acidity).  It's my understanding that most of Georgia is awesome for hydrangeas.
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Kristin VanHoose
Hydrangeas Plus®