Dear Hydrangea Enthusiasts,

Happy New Year!  Where did 2005 go?
Welcome to the first edition of 2006 for our Hydrangeas Plus® newsletter.  We here at Hydrangeas Plus hope you and your family had a wonderful Holiday season.  The tree is down, decorations put away , files filed, payroll taxes done and we're ready for another hydrangea season!  We have many new irons in the fire here at Hydrangeas Plus.  I'm organizing our first meeting of the NW Hydrangea Society, setting up a retail location, and putting some hydrangeas in the field for blooms and wreaths!

We’ve had some unusual weather here again in the Willamette Valley.  Last year it was ice, this year, it's 55 degree temperatures!  And rain, rain, rain.  Many fields in our area are flooded but luckily, our nursery is draining properly.  We have drain tiles under our entire nursery and we reclaim water for re-use.  However, not much need for the extra water this year.  

As of today, we're targetting to resume our hydrangea shipping in the last week of January.  Especially if this warm weather keeps up.  It is usually the second week of February but the sooner the better.  We'll keep you posted on the website with a more definite shipping season start date.  As always we will contact you before we ship for those orders placed in colder zones.  It's really important that we ship the plants after your frost date has past.  If you don't get frost, we'll ship your order as soon as possible.  Order early.  It looks like it's going to be a fast and furious season.  The mailer we sent out is already starting to get us some orders.

Yard, Garden & Patio Show in Portland, OR - Outdoor Envy

We are participating in this wonderful show again.  Hydrangeas Plus will be selling 30 to 40 varieties of hydrangeas from our booth.  Our booth numbers are 1228 & 1230 right behind the largest indoor lake featured in any garden show.  Ever!  The lake is measureing 80 feet by 100 feet and about 2 feet deep.  There are four professionally designed gardens surrounding the lake with special interest plants provided by Proven Winners as well as other features from northwest growers.  Eamon Hughes of Hughes Water Garden is building a 20 foot waterfall so don't miss any of these talented designers.  Three other beautifully landscaped gardens will also be on display on the show floor.

Please come visit us and place your orders for spring or buy some new hydrangeas to take home.  We're offering the hydrangeas at below catalog prices so it will be a great time to pick up those hydrangeas you've been looking for at a great price.  Including our new offerings!

If you haven’t been to the Yard, Garden & Patio show, it will be more than worth the cost of the ticket.  Not only will you get some ideas to cure your envy or increase your neighbor's envy of your own yard with wonderful new plant varieties, old varieties used in new ways and many more outdoor living concepts.  There are over 275 exhibitors at this year's show.  There are over 50 hours of FREE seminars with world famous and talented local speakers including yours truly on Saturday at 2:00pm in the Burnside Room.   Don't miss the fabulous container contest or plant fashion show.  Yes, I said fashion show.  Complete with emcee and paparazzi blazing the trail with flashes.  The wine pavillion will feature 20 wineries selling their wares and Kid's Digs will return on Sunday in the convention center lobby.  There is no better place to be to get ready for Spring 2006!  There is also many amazing prizes being given away at this year's show:  Dinner with the local Garden Show personalities (Mike Darcy, Mallory Gwynn, and Kym Pokorney).  We are also coordinating several contests in conjuction with local TV and radio stations including, the dash for plants.

The show is February 24, 25 & 26th at the Oregon Convention Center.  Hours are 10am – 9pm Friday & Saturday then 10am – 6pm on Sunday.  Watch for $3/$2 off admission coupons in the Oregonian and at all Fred Meyer stores (also available online).  Admission is $11, free to kids 12 and under.  Join us at Portland’s True Garden Event.  That's the Oregon Convention Center.  Remember, this is the show that is developed, marketed and presented by the Oregon Association of Nurseries.  It's largest consumer gardening event in the US that is exculsively produced by a state assocation and volunteers.  Come out and support your local green ware companies.

Shipping cost and permanent discount structure
I've loaded the new costs into the shopping carts.  USPS Priority Mail will save $5 to $10 on smaller packages.  We'll continue to work on UPS discounts at this end and we'll pass on any savings we can achieve.  All ground shipments will use UPS. We are also expecting bids from other delivery services and if anything blows our socks off, we'll switch.  I am pleased to announce that the USPS website can now track more details about the shipments and with essentially no trouble last year with deliveries, I'm confident we can successfully endorse USPS Priority mail.  

A few customers have called and asked if we can ship to their location.  We can ship everywhere in the United States, Canada including Puerto Rico.  We have been regularly inspected by the Oregon Department of Agriculture in conjuction with the US Department of Agriculture.  If you have trouble ordering online, just call and we can take your order over the phone.

Because of the new cost increases, we are going to install a permanent discount structure that we talked about last month.  The 10/20/30 will be a permanent discount structure.  What is that you ask?  If you spend $100 on plants and amendments, you get 10% off your order.  If you spend $200, you get 20% off your order.  And, if you spend $300, you get 30% off your order.  The discount will automatically calculate for you and no coupon or special code is required.

New varieties
We are offering new varieties on the website for 2006.  Here are a few new offerings to get you excited for the new year.  We are constantly looking for new varieties, too.  I have some new hydrangea contacts so look for new offerings later in the year.

Lady in Red - Attract attention! This distinctive new hydrangea will add to the beauty of your garden with color and style all season long. ‘Lady in Red’ Hydrangea has lacecap flowers that open a pinkish white (pale blue in acidic conditions) and turn a lush burgundy rose as they mature. The foliage is rich reddish purple in the fall with distinctive red stems and veins throughout the growing season. A compact mounded habit, high mildew resistance, and sturdy stems make ‘Lady in Red’ a special part of anyone's garden.

Koby - This is our own homegrown sport from Nikko Blue.  It is named after our Foreman's basketball crazy son.  Can you tell what his favorite team is?  Laker fans unite!  Anyway, this large growing hydrangea has the biggest flower in our garden.  It surpassed even Goliath and Paris in bloom size over the last few years.  In just a few years, this specimen is over 5 feet tall!  It will require lots of shade to keep the wonderful pale blue or pink blooms from scorching.  The leaves are more tapered in shape, a bit more rough to the touch and more lime green than other cultivars.

Hornli - Another dwarf!!  I can't believe I'm saying this.  We've grown this variety for a few years and I'm so impressed.  This Switzerland bred dwarf grows slowly and very compact.  But blooms and blooms all season long.  This will rival Pia for ultimate compact hydrangea.  The blooms remind me of pia but are not as carmine pink.  I would say they are bit more orange red.  I hope we have grown enough of this beautiful little plant.  This is the ultimate shrub for a small garden or container.

Office upgrades
Our new website is up and running.  We've tested and tested and we think all the bugs are out.  We continue to have streamline ordering but now you can signup for the newsletter right from the order form.  That probably doesn't matter much to you since you're already getting this newsletter but many customers don't know we have a monthly newsletter.  We have the capability to download orders straight into our accounting package.  This is a huge time saving for me, the lone office employee.  Please feel free to email me if you find something on the orderform, website or newsletter that's not quite right and I'll see if I can fix it.

New phone system is in the works!  Living in the country, we lose power more often than the city folks.  Especially in the winter months when trees are blowing and branches are breaking.  Whenever we have an outage, the phone messages are lost unless I can get to them within a few minutes of power loss. Our last outages were in the wee hours of the morning and I lost a few messages.  

NW Hydrangea Society
The website is reserved!  I don't have anything on the website yet but  I've got big plans for our society this year.  We'll start with an organizational meeting in April then our first meeting in May.  I have contacted several nurseries that have openned their doors to our visits.  Email me at if you're interested in helping me get this society started.   I have lots of ideas from the other new hydrangea societies in Tennessee, North Carolina, South Carolina.

Winter tip - Getting ready for hydrangea planting
It may be a little early for some parts of the country but I saw that many of us are experiencing warmer than usual temperatures.  The rain and wind may prohibit some of our spring preperation but the sooner your ground is ready for hydrangeas (and new shrubs in general), the sooner you can get them in the ground and growing.   Hydraneas and most shrubs like well draining soil.  This allows the roots to grow and reach for and absorb vital nutrients.  Compact soil typically results in stunted top growth and poor absorbtion of nutrients for hydrangeas.  It can also lead to the roots drowning if soil doesn't allow water to drain.  Just digging a hole and putting a shrub in the landscape won't guarantee success.

What can you do about compact soil?  Amend, amend and amend.  Amend with composted material that is clean and has aged well.  Pay special attention to salt and nitrogen content of manures and other homemade mixes.  

Check the pH of your soil.  Absorbtion of chemicals is optimized with slightly to moderately acidic soil.  That means, less applications of fertilizers and amendments if the pH is corrected.

All clay soil is not created equal.  My first gardening class was a true eye opener.  There are several different types of clay and not everything breaks it down the same.  Breakdown salty clay with gypsum, a mineral amendment that replaces salt with calcuim.

Amend soil three or four times the size the anticipated root ball size.  The bigger the better.  Give your plant a great start by giving it's root system lots of room to grow.

Commonly Asked Questions

Q:  I live in the mountain area of North Carolina.  If I order from you when will the order be shipped?

A:  In your area, I would guess March 15 - April 1st.  I'll email you before I ship so that I don't ship them too soon.  It's best to wait to ship until the last chance of frost has passed so that the plants have the best possible chance to bloom.  A late frost can nip the buds and reduce the number of blooms.

Here's a rule of thumb but is by no means always correct:
Zone 9/10 - February
Zone 8 - March
Zone 7 - April
Zone 6 - May
Zone 5 - June

We charge your credit card at shipping time, not at the time of order.

Q:  I read the FAQs but am not sure of the answer to my question. I would like to purchase one or 2 PeeGee Hydrangea trees...If I put the order in now, will you "hold" the trees for me until my ship date (april/may - I'm on Long Island in NY) or would I have to wait until April to place the order?

A:  Order now and we can hold them until you're ready.  There is a location on the order form that asks for ship date.  We will email before we ship.  I haven't sold out in the last few years but just in case, it's a good idea to reserve them.
The shipping costs are going to look way too big.  We use USPS for the trees because they charge just the actual weight and not dimension like UPS does.  The boxes are 65 x 10 x 10 and I can put two trees in there.  I will adjust the order for shipping charges when I figure out USPS new rates then send you an email with the corrected total.
The Paniculata trees are not susceptible to frost and weather like the other hydrangeas so we should ship them as soon as you can get the other trees out.  This is the only product we sell that is shipped bare root so we ship them out only in the spring prior to Mother's Day - before they have leafed out too much.
Thank you for your inquiry.  Please let me know if I can be of further assistance.

Q:  If I purchase three glowing embers now, will wait till spring 2006 to mail them to me? You tend to run out of the three year olds. Thanks for your time and consideration

A:  Yes, we can wait until the spring to ship them.  There is a place on our order form that asks for ship date.  We will always email before we ship to check weather and make sure you're able to plant them right away.
We like to wait to ship until the last chance of frost has past (unless you don't mind covering the plants for a while).  We usually start seeing the plants leaf out about March 1st which is probably a bit early for your part of the country.

Q:  I live about 6 miles from the coast in the San Diego, CA. area. I purchased three hydrangeas ftom you this past summer. They seem to be doing well except for the past three weeks the leaves are turning brown starting at the tips. Is this normal? Should I expect al the leaves to fall? Thanks for your help

A:  Hydrangeas want to be deciduous but in your climate (warm and sunny) they may not completely loose their leaves.  It's probably the plant going through a modified life cycle.  New leaves may form in January and February and push off the old ones.
If the plants seem otherwise healthy, I'm sure the hydrangeas are fine.  Some varieties do have the tendency to get fall color on the leaves as part of their life cycle.  I checked your order and all the hydrangeas you ordered may experience some degree of fall color.
Thank you for your question.  Please let me know if I can be of further assistance.

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Kristin VanHoose
Hydrangeas Plus®