Dear Hydrangea Enthusiasts,
Welcome to the September 2006 edition of the Hydrangeas Plus® e-mail newsletter.

It's been a busy summer here at the nursery.  I really did start on this newsletter in August.  Our oldest daughter is starting Kindergarden this fall and I must admit, I'm a bit nervous.  School certainly has changed since I was a kid.  It is a wonderful school out here in the country and has a fabulous reputation for education.  So why am I so nervous?

Hydrangeas here in the nursery are looking fabulous.  Even with our seven (yes, that is 7) days over 100 degrees.  Here in the willamette valley, we're typically lucky to get just one.  One day we had tempatrues reach 107 degrees.  Needless to say, the hydrangeas don't like those temperatures and they didn't hesitate to tell us.  Regardless, the plants have rebounded and look great.

I am sad to say that we lost another hydrangea advocate in July.  One of our faithful wholesale customers, Larry Thompson, passed away suddenly in July.  Larry and Marsha Hildebrand bought Regan Nursery in Fremont, California in 1995.  Regan Nursery is a well known nursery (retail and mailorder) for its roses.  Larry expanded the line of hydrangeas they carried at the retail location and became well known for the vast selection available (over 70 varieties).  Please visit them online or in person at 4268 Decoto Road in Fremont.   Marsha and the able staff will continue to service your every need.  Our thoughts and prayers are with Marsha and the Regan Nursery family.

We had a significant loss in our immediate family in late July.  My great aunt Maryann Mahaffey passed away after a courageous battle with leukemia.  Maryann fought for so many causes and people in her lifetime.  She was a council woman and president of the council for the city of Detroit for over 30 years.  She was the first Mahaffey woman to keep her last name and when she ran for election in the 70s, the opposition took her to court and challenged the legality of her campaign because she didn't take her husband's name.  The suit went all the way to the Michigan Supreme court where she won the right to run.  She lost the close election but served as a role model for many to follow.  She was such an amazing woman and I will miss her very, very much.  She has been a true inspiration in my life and always taught me to "do" and not just watch from the sidelines.

Back in stock soon
Most of the hydrangeas are back in stock!  Order now to ensure your first choice will be available.  You can select fall planting or spring planting.  If you're unsure about fall planting, use this simple rule of thumb.  Do you have at least 6 (or 8) weeks before your first hard frost?  If yes, fall planting is really the best time to plant.  Cooler temperatures allow the plant's roots to focus on growth not getting water. Usually this means zones 6 and above are appropriate for fall planting.  As always, mulch your plants for the first few winters to be sure the roots get established before winter and maximize root growth.

There are just a few of the one year plants not yet available.  The Paniculatas and Quercifolias are always slow to root and sometimes take another season to get big enough.  

Thank you for your patience.  If you'd like to be notified when a particular variety and size is ready, just go to that product online at and enter your email address after clicking on the 'Keep me updated' button and we'll send you an email when it's ready.

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

Also note that Penny's house is up for sale.  Anyone interested in preserving this hydrangea heaven and purchasing the property, please let me know and I will put you in touch with the right people in Atlanta.

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 Universtiy 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.   If you're interested in group travel from the NW, please let me know.   I have some friends in the educational travel business that could swing a deal if we have enough interest.

See more on the website at

Le Tour de Plants:  September 16-24, 2006

The Oregon Association of Nurseries is pround to present our first annual 'Le Tour de Plants'.  Almost 30 garden centers in Oregon (up and down I-5) are offering great new plants, fun activities for you and the kids and friends, special deals, hands-on workshops and demonstrations, prize drawings, garden art and much more.  Hop in the car and visit participating Le Tour de Plants garden centers. Spend the day, weekend or week discovering new garden centers and exploring your old favorites. You’ll see fresh new plants and ideas galore for your balcony or yard.  This is a week long, self-guided tour designed to get our local gardeners excited about fall and all the wonderful offerings and opportunities that will enhance your outdoor living space.  Visit the informative website at

There are some special activities involved, too.  Two wholesale nuseries (not typically open to the public) will open their gardens for a limited time.  
Monrovia (Dayton, Or) on Sept 16th and Sept 23rd from 9:00am to 2:00pm
Terra Nova (Canby, Or) on September 16th from 12:00 pm to 4:00pm
Both these growers have a fabulous collection of hydrangeas for you to see!!!!

Whether you’re a casual or master gardener, you’ll find something of interest on the Le Tour de Plants garden center excursion!  Purchase a green Monrovia silicon wristband for $2 at Le Tour de Plants participating garden centers and receive special discounts at all Le Tour de Plants garden center locations! Wristbands will be available for sale at these participating garden centers beginning Sept. 5, 2006.

We've had lots of questions about new varieties of hydrangeas and we're please to offer a Dr. Michael Dirr and University of Georgia original.  This is the second in the Endless Summer series of hydrangeas that is being introduced by Bailey's Nursery of Minnesota.  This hybrid produces a double bloom starting a bit mellow yellow then aging white.  Blooms will age pink or blue depending on your soil pH.  The leaves are a striking contrast to the blooms with dark, lush green leaves that have proven resistent to many mildews and molds.   I'm very excited about this new offering.  We got them in the nursery in late June, right before the hottest valley temperatures in two decades.  They've taken a month or so to recover but they are huge!  This is a great plant to complement your Endless Summer(tm).  Bailey notes that Blusshing Bride is hardy to USDA Zone 5 and is currently being tested for zone 4.  Like other hydrangeas, the Bride needs a bit of afternoon shade.  See the picture on the website - It's fabulous.  The aged bloom is chartruese green with hints of deep red.  I only have this available in the three year size.  I'm hoping to get some smaller ones next year.

The Hydrangeas Plus 2007 catalog is in the works
Have you moved?  Or not purchased plants from us in a while, we may not have your current address.  We will do our bulk mailing of the catalog in January so please make sure your address is up to date.  Send me an email (to [email protected] with subject line:  2007 catalog) and I'll update your records.  

Past Newsletters online

Did you miss a newsletter?  We have put all the newsletters on the website.  It's on the left side of the website.

One-year & Three-year fall plant sale
It's that time of year again.  We have too many plants left!!  We are offering some of our 3-year plants for just $30 and select varieties of one-year plants for half price (minimum of two required).  These plants can be shipped now or in the spring, just order by the September 30th deadline. Here are the plants we're offering in our fall sale.  Limited time only and limited plants available.

One year plants..............Must use coupon code 2 FOR 1 in the coupon code box after placing first hydrangea in shopping cart..............see in catagory On Sale Now on website
Blauer Prinz
Blue Wave
Bouquet Rose
General Vicomtesse
King George
Kluis Superba
Komacha (also known as Pretty Maiden)
La France
Nikko Blue
Souvenior de Presidente
Tokyo Delight

Three year plants........................No coupon necessary............see in general 3-year hydrangea catagory
Blauer Prinz
Bouquet Rose
Forever Pink
Fuji Waterfall
General Vicomtesse
Kluis Superba
GB Kuhnert
Madame Faustin
Miss Belgium
Nikko Blue
Pee Wee (paniculata)
Komacha (also known as Pretty Maiden)
Tokyo Delight

Commonly Asked Questions

Q:  Hi I like to know if I can have the following hydrangeas for the area I live: My zone is between 5b and 6a and I like the Hydrangea Red Star and Hydrangea Alpengluhen(glowing embers).I don't want to fuss with them in the winter months.I don't want to plant in pots. I need to know if they will bloom on old and new growth. If they grow on new growth they will be ok but if the grow only on old stems, they won't make it, they won't bloom the next year. I have 2 like that and never bloomed. Beautiful foliage but no flowers.Please answer my questions and if I can have these two I will order them as soon as I can.

A:  You may have a tough time getting these deeper colored hydrangeas to bloom for you in your area.  The vivid colored hydrangeas have been bred to be that deep and are not as hardy as some of the paler colored varieties.  These definitely bloom on old growth - probably like your ones that have beautiful foliage but not flowers.  Does your hydrangea that hasn't bloomed die back to the ground every year?  Then that's probably the trouble. 
I've been getting a lot of calls from your area and it really seems like the winters have been unusually damaging to the hydrangeas.  I know you don't want to hear this but the best way to ensure blooms is to protect your hydrangeas in the winter months by covering them with burlap or thermal blanket once they loose their leaves in the fall.  That will give you some protection from the winter weather.
Please don't hesitate to contact me if you have further questions.

Q:  Please recommend a 6 feet white lacecap hydrangea shrub with large flowers which remain white in the fall for a slightly shaded location between my front lawn and my neighbor's driveway. I would like to plant a few of them as a hedge. I live in Queensbury which is about 50 miles north of Albany, N.Y. near the Lake George area. Our area is classified as zone 5. Thank you very much! I enjoy your newsletter a lot.

A:  I'm having trouble thinking of something that will meet all your conditions.
First, zone 5 pretty much eliminates the macrophylla (big leaf) hydrangeas unless they bloom on new wood.
Another trouble I have is that it must stay white in the fall.  The other varieties I'll recommend will most like change color by then.  Here's some of the choices.
Blushing Bride (white macrophylla that blooms on new wood - NEW!! but will age blue/pink depending on the pH of the soil and then turn antique green)
Paniculata - white conical blooms that open a bit later than macrophylla hydrangeas but by middle of September, age pink, red, burgundy.  These bloom on new wood too.
Arborescens - native American hydrangea that starts green then ages creamy white and then back to green, hardy to zone 4!!  blooms on new wood
Oakleaf - native American hydrangea with conical shaped leaves and fabulous oak tree shaped leaves.  Blooms age red and burgundy (along with the leaves) in the fall.
I'm sorry I don't have anything that will stay white.  Please let me know if I can be of further assistance.

Q:  I've had a Nikko Blue hydrangea for two years and each summer it just barely makes it. Last fall I transplanted it to our new house and this spring it made it but right now (August) it's green, short, and no blooms. I live in NE Indiana (zone 5). Do you have any suggestions to revive this plant? Thanks.

A: Hydrangeas don't bloom for several reasons but because you are zone 5, I suspect it's weather related.  Hydrangeas bloom on old wood and if the old wood dies back every year (for instance, your Nikko is growing from the ground every year), you will see very few blooms.  I can suggest that you wrap the plant and protect it from the elements.  Buds are hardy to about 0 degrees.

The reasons why hydrangeas don't bloom are usually (1) too much pruning (2) improper pruning time (3) weather - too cold or transition to winter/summer too drastic (4) too much shade (5) too much fertilizer.
Now to talk about the growth.  Check the pH of your soil.  Hydrangeas grow best in slightly acidic conditions and I suspect your soil (or water if city provided) could be the trouble.  Ideally, pH should be below 6.0 on the scale.  Have a local agriculture college of extension agency help you find a testing lab.  Or, most garden centers can help.

Q:  Illustrations in order to prune my plants correctly

A:  It really depends on the variety.  Here is a link to pruning for general mopheads & lacecaps
We also have some hints & tips in past newsletters.  Judith King of also has detailed information by variety.

Q:  This is the first year I have grown hydrangeas and am looking forward to some beautiful blooms next year.  I do have something eating on the leaves of several of my plants.  I've put slug bait out but that hasn't really helped.  Do you know what could be eating them and how to get rid of  the pests?  Some of the leaves being eaten are four feet off the ground (that's on a climbing hydrangea.).  The other plant being bothered is only  about a foot high.  The leaves that have been eaten on look just like they  would look if slugs got to them.  Do I just need more slug bait or some kind  of bug spray?

A:  This may sound a little strange but set your alarm clock and go outside with a flashlight in the middle of the night.  Most of these leave munching bugs are nocturnal and are eating your plants in the dark.

here are some possibilities (although it may depend on where you are located)

Each will have a different prevention technique.  Also, check with your local garden center or agricultural extension office.  They will probably be able to tell you what is eating leaves in your area..

Q:  We recently planted annabelles and lamarth in our new garden. The plants are getting alot of sun and our weather has been usually hot. I water them regularly, but the leaves are browning around the edge. THey were planted the end of May. Is this normal for the first year? Should I be worried?

A:  Could it be too much water around the roots?
Unfortunately the signs of too much water and not enough water are very, very close.
Hydrangeas do like water but they don't like their roots to be sitting in it for long periods of time.  If you amended your soil, some potting mixes are a bit dense and the water doesn't have anyplace to go.
In your heat and weather, you must water a lot but hydrangeas are relatively shallow rooted plants so watering less and more often is better (in general).
The only way to tell for sure what's happening is the take out the plant from the location and look at the roots and the soil surround them.  Is it soggy or dry?
I hope that helps.  Please let me know if I can be of further assistance.

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Kristin VanHoose
Hydrangeas Plus®