Sunday, April 7, 2013

Hydrangea CleanUp

I really like that guy (Andrew May) who writes the Sunday gardening column in the Peninsula Daily News, mostly because he agrees with Miss MoneyPenny, but I do learn a lot from him.  One of the many things that I like about him is his knowledge of gardening here, on the Peninsula, and not, in say, sunny southern California.

When I lived in Portland (the Willamette Valley), I thought that I was a gifted gardener, because I had such huge success in everything that I grew.  When I began gardening up here, I despaired because it seemed like nothing worked very well, so I ended up learning a whole new way to garden.  I wish that I would have known Andrew way back in 1982 because he could have saved me a lot of money and heartache regarding my gardening efforts.

His topic today was something that Miss MaggieMae and I were discussing yesterday, so great minds, and all that, but he is totally right.  Just because the garden centers are putting out flats of beautiful tender annuals and you got the itch, don't do it.  It is just too cold and it would be a big waste of time and money, unless they were going straight into the greenhouse.

If you put petunias in now, they would either die outright, or worse yet, just sit and sulk and molder.  When it does warm up, they would disappoint because they would never be able to catch up after that shock to their little flower systems.  Wait until after May 15th, but it is safe to put primroses and pansies in now, though.

Now, readers of Miss MoneyPenny know that pruning is not her strong suit but she has been set free by Margaret Roach over at A Way to Garden.  She says that if you just take care of the three Ds, everything will be fine.  Dead, damaged, or diseased.  I can do that - and leave the fancy pruning the hedge into the shape of a poodle to the experts.  This is what my beloved hydrangea looked like after winter:

Lots of green stuff coming out.  The first thing that I cut off was the flowers (the dead):

Then I went after the diseased and damaged, cutting them back to the next healthy green or all the way to the ground if there wasn't any:

This is what it looked like when I was done:

I also cleaned out the middle so all those green babies down there can take off.  I did very little shaping but just enough to give it that mounded  look.

This is the cleanup that I did last year and I had the most beautiful hydrangea, with lots of gorgeous blooms.  This hydrangea was given to me by my late mother and I almost lost it because somebody cut it to the ground one fall, trying to help.  Last summer was its first year back after about 10 years of sulking.

The top picture is my flowering currant in full bloom.  It is a stunner for about two weeks but not so good the rest of the year.  I'm going to learn how to tame this wild beauty because the hummers are gaga over it.  I'll start with the three Ds.

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