Saturday, January 12, 2013

Everlasting™ Hydrangeas - Bloom all summer


Everlasting™ Ocean, like frothy surf pounding on the beach.

Everlasting™ Hydrangeas - better than "re-blooming"

We are pleased to announce the release of eight new compact Hydrangeas that maintain beautiful flowers all summer long - right to frost.  No browned edges or flimsy florets, these thick petals slowly evolve from their prime color to a marvelous shade of lime or celery green in late August.

End of summer florets are delightful.

Originally bred and selected for the "cut flower" market, these beauties are at home in the garden as well.  Rated for USDA Zones 5 to 9, most bloom on both old and new wood, producing flowers within a year of planting.

Everlasting™ Pearl 

Pink toned or purple blue ("Blurple") flowers, depending on your garden's pH - meaning whether your soil is acid (sour) or alkaline (sweet) - all flowers begin a greenish-white, move into their prime color, then slowly evolve into lime green petals at the end of the summer, usually with a tint of the peak color on the petal edges until Autumn, when they have strongly lime green colored through to frost. Leaves will turn lovely colors in colder climates; a nice group - made up of two breeding lines, they will add value and drama to your landscaping.   

Everlasting™ Diamond (alkaline soil)

Growing Hydrangea macrophylla, Everlasting™ Series 

Plant in part shade to full sun, depending on how warm your summers tend to be, either directly into the garden or into a two to three gallon container.  Although they prefer medium-high light intensity for compact growth, too much heat or hot sun can damage flowers and buds.

Avoid crowding, Hydrangeas like good air circulation, especially as they become a densely growing shrub and like moist, but well drained soil - like lily bulbs - they do not swim well.  If soil is dry two inches below the surface, then it is time to water young plants.  As Hydrangeas mature, they can be watered less frequently, but deeper to encourage a good solid underground system of deep roots.  Bark mulch or another product will help to keep soil evenly moist, control weed germination, plus reduce the frequency of watering. 

Buds on the current year’s branches will begin to form in late summer to early autumn - if you need to prune to keep the shrub in bounds - remove only branches with the current year’s flowers, so as to not reduce the bloom for next summer.

"I thought this variety was suppose to be blue!"

(Don't panic.)


Changing Hydrangea Flower Color from Pink to Blue

To make Hydrangea flowers blue, add a solution of 1/2 oz (1 Tbsp) aluminum sulfate per gallon of water be applied to damp soil throughout the growing season. The soil pH should be approaching 5.0-5.25, which will give best results.  Increasing organic matter to the soil by adding coffee grounds, fruit and vegetable peels, grass clippings, conifer needles etc. will also tend to acidify your soil.  Remember however, if your water is naturally alkaline, then you will have an ongoing battle.   Note that new concrete foundations or sidewalks will leach out lime and can be helpful to keep Hydrangeas pink, but they may not be too happy very close to the foundation and may need pruning to keep them in bounds.

Growing Hydrangeas in large pots with lots of compost will help to lower the pH as well.  When watering, add about a tablespoon of Aluminum sulfate to a gallon of water several times throughout the summer.  Because the plants are hardy to Zone 5, you can leave the container outside all winter without worry.  Protect the pots and wrap the branches in burlap if you are in a very cold climate that is subject to very late hard frosts.

Changing Hydrangea Flower Color from Blue to Pink

In the Pacific NW, where our soil is very acidic, if gardeners want pink flowers, they need to add dolomite lime several times a year to areas around the plants to manipulate their color.  Lime will help to reduce the soil pH and to prevent the up taking of the naturally occurring Aluminum - which causes Hydrangea flowers to be blue.  Raising the soil pH to between 6.0 to 6.2 and applying a fertilizer with high levels of phosphorus, such as 25/10/10 (the middle number is Phosphorus) will also make a difference.

This will be an ongoing chore to keep the “pink” and if you slack off  - and who doesn’t from time to time -  your Hydrangeas will tend to be more mottled purple in color, which many in the nursery trade affectionately refer to as "Blurple' or "Blurpling", but it can still be quite pretty in the landscape.  While liming your Hydrangeas, also consider treating the lawn to control moss growth, which has become a problem due to the past few years of high rainfall.  Lime will not kill moss, but it will will help the grass to grow well and resist infestation.  If you have an overgrowth already present, consider a commercial product which kills the moss, turning it black and makes it easier to be raked out and discarded.

In areas that naturally produce blue hydrangeas (soils with aluminum), consider growing hydrangeas that naturally tend towards “pink” in large pots, using a good grade of potting soil which will be closer to a neutral pH.  Because the plants are hardy to Zone 5, you can leave the container outside all winter without worry.  Protect the pots and wrap the branches in burlap if you are in a very cold climate that is subject to very late hard frosts. "Everlasting Trademark owned by Plants Nouveau, LLC Charlston, SC

(Go to our website and read more information about each variety. )

Everlasting™ Hydrangea 'Amethyst'
Everlasting™ Hydrangea 'Amethyst'
(Pink tones in alkaline soils)
Everlasting™ Hydrangea 'Emerald'
Everlasting™ Hydrangea 'Noblesse'

End of summer bloom.

Everlasting™ Hydrangea 'Veronique'


Monday, January 7, 2013

Winter Planting of Poppy Seeds

Dianna's Purple Poppies

Just an update...

Planting annual poppy seeds in the milder areas of the Pacific Northwest or similar climates should be done in "batches'.  Sow 1/3 of your packet in either December or early January, then another third in another location about Mid February, and the remainder of the packet (or packets) in Early March.

Your goal is to spread out the bloom through June to August, plus should the early seeds be washed away by heavy rainfall - not unheard of in Western WA or OR - you will not have bloom for this summer.  Seedlings can still be transplanted when they have their first leaves.  More precise information on sowing seeds and culture can be found on our previous post:  How to Plant Poppy Seeds

We'll have fresh seed from September's harvest at the  Tacoma, Portland, Seattle and San Francisco Garden Shows (January - March) or you can order on our website for delivery ASAP.  Bear in mind that seed sown during warm spring days will require watering, but seed sown during cold and wet weather pretty much takes care of itself - just provide a prepared bed to scatter the tiny seeds and do not cover - they need light to germinate.   Sowing in pots is more specialized, see the link above for instructions.