Dear Hydrangea Enthusiasts,
Welcome to the March 2006 edition of Hydrangeas
Our founding matriarch has passed away. On March 2nd, Penny
McHenry passed away in her home from cancer. Penny was the founder
of the American Hydrangea Society based on Atlanta, Georgia. I had
the honor of meeting her for the first time last year at the Hydrangea Conference
in Georgia. What a lady! Penny was the original and tireless hydrangea
advocate. I doubt that any one person has done for any variety of
plant life what Penny did for hydrangeas. Penny will be surely missed!
Please see the memorial link at http://www.ajc.com/search/content/auto/epaper/editions/saturday/living_44902292c34fb0fb00e4.html
This is the Atlanta Journal Constitution article from Saturday, March
4th. Don't miss this wonderful article about Penny, her life and her
Memorial for Penny McHenry
I just received a note from Genia Ryan, the current American Hydrangea Society
President, about Penny's service and memorial.
Hello Hydrangea Friends and AHS Members:
I want to provide you with information about Thursday's memorial service
for Penny McHenry. Also, I've provided contact information should you
want to make a donation in memory of Penny.
The service will be on Thursday, March 9, 2006, at the Shallowford Presbyterian
Church. The church is located at 2375 Shallowford Rd., NE, Atlanta
GA 30345. The service will start at 4:00 p.m.
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
We encourage you to make your donation to the new hydrangea collection at
ABG. However, you can also make donations to the American Hydrangea
Society, P.O. Box 986, Grayson, GA 30017. Please indicate that
your donation is in memory of Penny McHenry.
Genia Ryan, President
American Hydrangea Society
Happenings around Oregon
Spring has decided to take a vacation for a few more weeks. We
had an 19 degree day back in mid February. We were all frantically
covering our plants and hoping for the best. Upon inspection, we are
doing very, very well. I can't remember the last time we had frost
in March but we did have it on March 1st and another round is expected this
weekend. But keep those orders coming. Everything is protected
from the frost and looking fine.
March is typically a great time to plant for those zone 7, 8 and
9 gardens. Be sure that your frost has past before you plant to
ensure that the buds (future flowers) don't freeze. If you watch
the weather and notice that a frost is close (usually 35 degrees and below),
grab an old bed sheet or light blanket and cover those tender buds. Be
careful when you put on and take off the covering. The buds are very
tender and break off easily with too much handling. We are also
using anti-transpiration products to keep as must moisture in the plant as
possible. Our product is organic and has no chemicals. Green power!
Yard Garden Patio Show in February was a great success. Welcome
all our new customers. We will be at Fir Point Farms in Aurora,
Oregon at Gardenpalooza Saturday, April 1st (no fooling) from 8am to 4pm.
Come visit us at Fir Point on Arndt Road. I'll pick some special
varieties just for the occasion. Especially Penny Mac, in honor of
Annual ‘Overstocks’ spring sale is April 28rd-May 13th, 8 to 5 everyday
here at the nursery. Directions to follow.
Hydrangea news - upcoming gatherings for Hydrangea Lovers
American Hydrangea Society (Georgia)-
held at the Atlanta Botanical Gardens - next meeting to be announced.
Mid-South Hydrangea Society (Tennessee) - Membership/Newsletter
Caroline Brown 683-9766 or at email@example.com
March 11th - Memphis Area Master Gardeners spring fever event - Hydrangea
March 18th - Hydrangea walk and clean up with Pruning class
April 10th - Dr. Dirr presentation - Doors open at 5:30pm, limited
space so reserve now! ONLY 100 seats left
April 21st - 23rd - Memphis Botanical Garden plant sale
June 17th - 2nd annual Garden Tour
Blue Ridge Hydrangea Society (North Carolina) - President/Founder:
Linda Shapiro firstname.lastname@example.org (828) 890-0880
Saturday, April 29, 2006 - Guest Speaker: Dick Bir Topic: “What Works…Hydrangeas
That Survive and Thrive in WNC”.
Time: 1:00 P. M.
Place: NC Arboretum Directions: Call The NC Arboretum at (828) 665-2492
$6.00 parking charge per car if you are not a member of the NC Arboretum.
late July/early August - Hydrangea Tour - Cindy Hudgins of “A Touch of
the Mountains”, will give us a tour of her working hydrangea field in bloom.
Directions will follow
September, Dates to be announced via WNC Agricultural Center NC State Flower
and Garden Show- 2 weeks of hydrangea lectures. WNC Agricultural Center
at (828) 687-1414 Ext.210.
Saturday, October 28, 2006 - Guest Speaker: Mal Condon of Nantucket Hydrangea
Farm Nursery Topic: “Got Hydrangeas”?Place: NC Arboretum
Time: 1:00 P.M.
Northwest Hydrangea Society
June - date to be determined - here at Hydrangeas Plus
Do you know of other gatherings where HYDRANGEAS are the topic? Please
let us know. We'll publish in our newsletter and get the word out!
Please, just Hydrangea gatherings. Contact me if you need some
information about Hydrangeas. We provide FREE information. Hydrangea
We aren't the only ones upset about the AOL development.
Remember last month - We may soon lose some our valued newsletter subscribers.
AOL and Yahoo have announced that they will soon begin CHARGING us
to send our newsletter to you. Even though we are an "OPT IN" (that
means you sign up and we don't buy email addresses) sender, they will soon
require the use of an e-mail verification service imposing a per subscriber
charge for every email we send. I am a huge fan of AOL and what they
have done for internet access but this latest development is simply too much
for a small business like ours to get on board with. I don't know the
specifics but from what I've read, we will be subject to this charge because
of the number of subscribers we have with AOL and Yahoo addresses.
We have had trouble with AOL in the past when they blocked us as 'SPAM' (in
spite of our OPT IN policy). I'm not sure what can be done about this
but if you are an AOL or Yahoo customer and want to keep receiving our monthly
email newsletters, please also subscribe with another email address. We
don't want to lose you. Alternatively, you might want to consider contacting
either of these providers directly and expressing your displeasure with this
Please go to this website http://www.dearaol.com/
and let them know you're not happy with the recent development.
Commonly Asked Questions
Q: I'd like to have one plant like Nikko, with bright
blue, also one plant that has small mopheads , such as two inches across that
is a bright dark blue
A: Be sure to check the pH of your soil. Even with my
recommendation, you'll need a pH between 5.5 and 6.0 (and available aluminum)
to get blue blooms.
The smallest blooms are the Hornli & Pia. these are also the smallest
hydrangeas. They both have blooms about two or three inches across.
I have yet to get that Pia to go blue. I haven't tested the Hornli for
myself buy many books describe it as pink or blue, depending on the soil.
The next size plants (I call them semi dwarf) are a little bigger growing
to 3 or 4 feet and having blooms about 3 inches to 5 inches. The Enziandom
and Blue Danube have successfully turned blue with acidic soil and available
Q: Michael Dirr mentions confusion in the trade around
some research done on Nikko Blue and winter hardiness. He says that
there was variation in performance - some reflowered and some didn't - and
he suspected confusion in the trade. Will the real repeat flowering
hydrangea please stand up? I have a customer in USDA 6, on the cusp
of 7, that had to cut to 18" her Blue mopheads at the end of April due to
winter kill, specifically split Bark and dead Buds after repeated temperature
spiking. The name of cv is unknown and I suspect it's the mophead default
around here, 'Nikko Blue'. The darn things flowered 3 times last season
after they were cut and when last seen in mid fall, were flowering again.
(I fear for this spring's flowers; should stop worrying since it's likely
to recover again). Do you have any thoughts on this repeat flowering?
Is there any other common Hortensia that would act like this? THANKS.
A: There is HUGE variation in the industry. I
think some nurseries will call any blue mophead 'Nikko Blue'. Customers
don't like buying 'Blue Hydrangea' - they want a name.
Here's my theory. Many of the (pastel) blue/pink hydrangeas with Asian
heritage will flower on new and old growth. Many come to mind - Nikko,
Dooley, Penny Mac, Oak Hill, Decatur Blue, David Ramsey, All Summer Beauty,
Bodensee, Bouquet Rose, Blauer Prinz, Kluis Superba, Otaksa. Some of
these are quite common. I'm not sure all strains of these will bloom
on new wood. These are just the ones I have that have done it at some
Just in my discussions with other growers, there is a consensus that others
can rebloom too - Fuji Waterfall, Coerulea, Lanarth White, Lilacina - again,
pale or white hydrangeas. Look for some of the new Japanese varieties
- there are rumors that many of these will bloom on new wood, too.
Dr. Dirr is continuing his breeding program so look for more new wood blooming
varieties in the future. Bailey's is coming out in 2007 with Blushing
Bride (cross of Endless Summer and Veitchii). I hope to get some this
summer. I got a test plant and it was fabulous this summer.
Did you read the article by Dr. Richard Birr? He's in mountainous
NC and did some studies about which varieties actually bloomed well after
a typical zone 6 winter. I think it's on the CANR site =
Center for Applied Nursery Research in Athens, GA.
While in Georgia for the Hydrangea Conference, I spoke with Vickie Waters,
Dr. Dirr's technician for a few decades. She mentioned they are experiencing
new wood blooms on several Serrata varieties. Blue Deckle was the one
that I've had that experience and she confirmed it. Also, she mentioned
Tiara. I don't have that one but I do have Diadem. Very close.
I thought that my Diadem would reflower but no confirm from Vickie on that
Serratas are great for areas with lots of late frost (TN, NC, KY).
Q: I am interested in hydrangea flowers that dry well.
Could you let me know which ones they are? As I read the descriptions
of them, some you
do say and others you don't. Should I assume that if you don't mention
it they are not the best for drying?
A: Most of the mopheads do dry and dry well. The ones that
I specifically describe as good dried varieties are just my favorites.
Here are my recommendations for dried flowers (based on my experience and
experience of several of my dried flower grower customers but by no means,
a comprehensive list)
Large size blooms
Souvenior de Presidente
Medium size blooms
Q: Could you please tell me what is the variety of the blue lacecap
you use on the home page of your website? I am in the process of choosing
some blue lacecaps, and it is very beautiful. Thank you.
A: That's the Fasan, in acidic soil. It's usually a purple/blue
in pH of about 5.7 or below.
Q: Can you please tell me which varieties of mopheads are good
to grow in zone 5. I bought 2 Dooleys and 1 All Summer Beauty last year from
you. I also have Endless Summer. Are there any others?
A: I've found that all the mopheads for zone 5 will look very
similar. Their habit is the same and the bloom colors will be the same.
I have some Penny Mac hydrangeas that are just as hardy as the Endless Summer,
Dooley & All Summer Beauty that you've already purchased. There
are also varieties Oak Hill, Decatur Blue & David Ramsey that I will have
in a few years.
I'm hoping to get the new Endless Summer branded Blushing Bride. It's
a new wood bloomer that starts white and ages to a slight blue or pink, depending
on the Ph of your soil. The major release of this variety will be in
If you want to protect your hydrangeas, you could probably grow any of the
zone 6 mopheads. The French hybrids (darker colored mopheads) are usually
the most tender to your zone 5 temperatures and will definitely need added
protection. The Asian influenced mopheads (Nikko Blue, Otaksa, Bodensee
just to name a few) are more hardy but will probably need protection from
Q: I am wondering if there is something I should do to protect
hydrangeas that were planted less than a year ago. I live in Portland
and the weather report is grim.
A: I covered my plants that were leafing out with felt/frost cloth.
If your plants are really leafed out, that's the best option. This is
the 'late spring frost' that isn't good for hydrangeas.
If you don't have felt, use an old blanket or bed sheet. And tie the
base so the wind doesn't blow it away. It doesn't have to be tight but
snug fitting is best.
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