Dear Hydrangea Enthusiasts,
Welcome to the Hydrangeas Plus newsletter for May!
I am determined to get our May newsletter
out but so much is happening here at the nursery. We are in the middle of
our spring overstock sale and we're right in the middle of the busiest part
of the shipping season. All our midwest and eastern customers are
emerging from winter. Finally. And ready for the hydrangeas!
We are having a very cool spring here in the Willamette Valley. We actually
had a light frost last Monday night, the latest in over 10 years. Maybe
more. That's just how long I've lived in Oregon. Remember, a
light frost is all right for most hydrangeas. It's those heavy frosts
(down below 35 degrees) that are especially damaging to the tender hydrangea
What's happening at Hydrangeas Plus«?
On my goodness, what's not happening here at Hydrangeas Plus?
Our spring sale in happening right now! We hope that our local customers
can find the time to venture to our nursery and find some room for some bargain
priced plants. We bring out those plants that we have over produced
or are taking out of production. We have 50 varieties of hydrangeas
in one gallon plants and 47 varieties in the three gallon sizes. Plus,
we grow other plants here at the nursery - Azaleas (looking fabulous this
year), barberry, viburnum, heather, hibiscus, ilex, and many others. These
are all at or below wholesale prices, too. Sorry, these prices are only
good for on-site sales through May 13th. Kristin relaxes and is out
of commission for Mother's Day.
Our spring sale is always the two weeks before Mothers Day every year.
We select this time of year for several reasons. First, it's at the
end of our busy wholesale shipping season and second, it's right before planting
so that we can ‘clean out the nursery’ of plants that are left over or that
we don't want to move into a bigger size. And make room for the new
Unfortunately, we're not able to accommodate a retail site for purchases
on an on-going basis. We are hoping to do so in the future. I
know I've said this for a few years. Who knew that kids were so much
We are also hard at work planting new hydrangeas. You've probably noticed
that we are very low on hydrangea varieties right now. We're planting
as fast as we can so we can have them ready for fall shipping but some varieties
may not be ready until Spring. If you must have a variety that is out
of stock, be sure to sign up for our email notification for that variety.
We will email you as soon as they are big enough to ship out. It's usually
September 1st for the three year plants and September 15th for the one year
I've got some new varieties in the works for next year. I do like
to grow a variety for a year (at least) so that I have some real life experience
before we recommend it to our customers. I'm diligently planning our
new catalog for the winter. Stay tuned.
Spring Tip - Fertilizer
It's 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. We are now selling fertilizer,
aluminum sulfate & garden lime on our website.
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- one that can be used on any shrub
or tree. 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.
Many gardeners love the Miracle Gro product for Acid Loving Plants. It's
called MirAcid but there are many other varieties on the market. This
type of fertilizer is almost instant acting. We use it for emergencies
only. Depending on your area, when the hydrangeas begin to show buds
and grow very quickly, the hydrangeas are absorbing nutrients out of the
soil at their fastest rate. If your soil doesn't have enough nutrients,
the hydrangeas may get yellow leaves. We recommend using the instant
fertilizer when this occurs. If you fertilize too much with
this potent nitrogen based fertilizer, you'll get lots of green leaves but
the plant will be so focused on growing green instead of blooming.
Cutting Hydrangea Blooms
Now that hydrangeas are starting to bloom, we get the ‘cutting hydrangea
blooms’ question often. I asked my friendly cut flower guys (Thanks,
Johnthan and Ray) his tricks of the trade and here are his tips.
Don't cut fresh blooms: Be sure that the hydrangeas are at least a
few weeks old. The older the bloom, the longer it will last. Color
pigments should be fully developed before cutting.
Cut all the leaves off: Leaves take moisture away from the flower
head so strip the leaves off before cutting. Long stems are nice for
vases but the longer the stem, the less water that reaches the bloom.
Immerse cut blooms immediately in water and soak for two hours: this
may require that you weigh the hydrangeas down in the water. Cold water
that has been boiled works the best.
Some other methods for cuts that eliminate the oxygen bubble in the stem:
Florist gel is expensive, time consuming and can be messy but works
Put the cut ends in boiling water
Smash the cut end with a hammer right after cutting
Cut another inch off the stem underwater
SALE SALE SALE SALE SALE
What to do for Mother's Day? We've got hydrangeas? What a
wonderful gift for that special Mother in your life.
We are offering hydrangeas for $30 in the three year size! Check out
our website for specific varieties. Be sure to order by May 7th to be
sure your order arrives in time. We can process gift certificates (great
for that mother you know has everything!) until May 12 via email.
The sale of the $30 three year plants is good til May 28th.
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
Hydrangea news - upcoming gatherings for Hydrangea Lovers around the
American Hydrangea Society (Atlanta, Georgia) - see http://www.americanhydrangeasociety.org
for membership information
June 10th - Annual Garden Tour in Atlanta - see http://www.americanhydrangeasociety.org
for more information
Mid-South Hydrangea Society (Memphis, Tennessee) - Membership/Newsletter
Caroline Brown 683-9766 or at [email protected]
June 17th - 2nd annual Garden Tour
Blue Ridge Hydrangea Society (Western North Carolina) -
President/Founder: Linda Shapiro [email protected] (828)
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.
CSRA Hydrangea Society (Aiken, South Carolina and Augusta, GA
areas) - Membership questions - Bill Hayes (803)641-1077
at [email protected]
Thursday: May 18, "The Hydrangeas Garden" Pendleton King Park in
Augusta, GA - Members/Guests will tour garden
Plant Sale, June 3, 2006, in Aiken SC - contact President Annette Ferris at [email protected] for
Plant Sale, June 10, 2006, in Augusta, GA - contact
President Annette Ferris at [email protected] for more information
Thursday: August 17, "Shady Characters with Hydrangeas". Guest
Speakers: Everett and Karen Jones, owners Shady Characters Nursery, Location:
Aiken Technical College.
November meeting: Sid Morris (former agriculture extension agent) "Hydrangeas
- Day to Day"
Birmingham Hydrangea Society of Alabama (Birmingham, Alabama) -
President is Philip Sarris
May 17th - Speaker: Elizabeth Dean of Wilkerson
Mill Nursery, Aldridge Botanical Gardens located
in Hoover Alabama
June 10th - Hydrangea tour
Aldrige Botanical Garden (Hoover, Alabama) - Hydrangea SALE
May 12 & 13 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. More than 60 different varieties
will be available, including the Snowflake Hydrangea patented by Gardens founder
Eddie Aldridge and most recently designated as the official city flower of
Heronswood (Kingston, Washington)
Hydrangea Daze - Friday and Saturday,
July 21 and 22, 2006 - 9:30 am to 3:30 pm each day
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
Commonly Asked Questions
Q: I've heard news reports about Sudden Oak Death. Does
it affect hydrangeas?
A: No, Sudden Oak Death (SOD) doesn't affect hydrangeas. The
US department of Agriculture has deemed 41 plant families natural hosts for
Phytophthora ramorum, the fungus like organism that has been found to cause
Sudden Oak Death. Commonly found hosts are Rhododendron, Pieris and
Camellias. The Oregon Department of Agriculture, in cooperation with
the USDA, has instigated a thorough inspection process with the nurseries
here in Oregon to ensure the spread of the disease is curtailed. Every
registered nursery is surveyed for host and associated plant families and
testing for p. ramorum spores is done by an independent laboratory. We
recently received our letter from the testing service stating we are clean
of any p. ramorum in the nursery. We do grow some of the known host
plants in our nursery but again, hydrangeas are not a known host of this fungus.
See the USDA website at http://www.aphis.usda.gov/ppq/ispm/pramorum/ for
Q: How much aluminum sulfate do I apply to my hydrangeas?
A: It really depends on the concentration of the aluminum sulfate.
You don't want to over do it because aluminum is toxic to plants in large
doses. Aluminum occurs naturally in most soil. If you can get
the pH lower, the plant may absorb some on its own.
My general rule is ╝ cup per foot of hydrangea. This means
that for an established 4 foot hydrangea, 1 cup of aluminum sulfate spread
around the base of the plant should be adequate. This assumes a 15%
concentration mixture of aluminum sulfate, the most commonly sold concentration.
You may mix the aluminum sulfate in water and dissolve or apply straight
to the plant then water in well. Be sure that the plant has established
itself before application. We don't recommend aluminum sulfate for
Apply in the early spring when you see the first leaf. Apply again
six weeks later. If color isn't as desired, add a fall application
Q: How big are your hydrangeas (Nikko Blue) when they
are shipped? I know they are about 1 year old, but how big is that?
A: Most of the one year plants are about 10" tall and
6" wide right now. The Nikkos are about average size for our hydrangeas
right now. If planted correctly and in a good soil environment, they
should triple in size by the end of the year. We grow them in one
gallon containers but don't ship them in the container. But they aren't
bare root either. We keep the potting mix (bark, mulch, pumice, fertilizer)
around the root ball and wrap in a plastic bag. Then, we wrap the whole
plant in newsprint like to a burrito to protect the branches. Some
breakage may occur on the more delicate plants.
The three year plants are approximately 12” – 24” right now with three
times as many branches. These are coming from a three gallon container.
We believe that our plants are larger than other mail order companies
which send '1 year' plants in a 4 or 6" container. I know it's hard
to know what you're getting from mail order companies. We try to be
consistent from variety to variety and from day to day but plants are not
consistent so these sizes we describe are just approximate. We can't
promise a height. But remember, it's the plant that's important. A
healthy root ball and pruned branches will give you a better plant.
Q: Your shipping charges are very high. Why?
A: This is a constant battle for us. We are currently
using UPS 3 day service to the eastern states. For smaller orders,
we can also use USPS Priority Mail. Cost of shipping has gone up
three times in just 6 months. Not to mention the fuel surcharge that
UPS imposes on every package. We are doing everything we can to keep
prices low without changing the size of the plants we ship. Our plants
are extra large this year and believe it or not, the shipping & handling
fees are not covering the cost to ship to most customers.
Q: I LIVE IN ATLANTA GEORGIA IF I ORDER FROM YOU WHEN WILL THE
ORDER BE SHIPPED? DO YOU FOLKS EVER ANSWER THE PHONE?
A: For orders placed by Sunday night, we can ship the following
Monday or Tuesday. The order will arrive by week's end. Sometimes,
orders placed Monday morning will go out on Tuesday but it really depends
on the work load. This time of year (spring rush), our volume increases
and my fingers can't type fast enough so I apologize if you must wait another
week for your order. The plants are not just sitting ready to go.
We must pull them from the nursery, check water, remove debris, prune
if necessary, inspect for bugs, apply moisture lock product
and allow to dry.
We are not a plant mill that cranks out poor quality midget plants. We
take great care to provide you the correct variety with great quality.
We answer the phone when we can but when you speak to us, you are speaking
to the owners and not some service representative that doesn't know about
our plants or operation. Please leave a message on our call back
line (press 4 on the machine). We try to answer all calls by the next
business day but sometimes that may not be possible. But we will get
back to you. Emails are more easily answered as I can do that any
time of the day. We appreciate your business and we want you to be
given the full customer service that our company is known to provide. But,
we're small business owners trying to get it all done in only 24 hours a
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