Friday, March 23, 2007

Hydrangea revisited

Exactly one year ago like now, I posted an entry about my hydrangea sitting at my doorstep.

Picture of the plant as it appears today.
I was perplexed. Hydrangeas are supposed to be big floppy bushes covered with pom poms of blue and pink flowers, not a gangly, bark-shedding skelaton with conical flowers bunches lurching at my doorway.

Nevertheless, Inspector Rosemarie (the game I am forced to play since the previous owners planted no less than 300+ species of plants, but failed to leave me even a scrap of evidence of what anything was) discovered that this lurch was none other than the Oakleaf Hydrangea.

Picture of the plant as it appeared June 2006.
So last year my big concern was pruning this plant after getting mixed reviews from the numerous "plant authorities" who give their two cents anytime they see someone with gardening shears. They shall remain nameless. But, as a newbie with a wealth of information on the Internet, the library, blogs ... I listened to this "plant authority"and pruned my hydrangea for the past 2 springtimes. Result? No Flowers!

Last year I quoted this website, and if I had just comprehended what I quoted (honestly, I didn't have a clue) I would have realized that in the springtime I was pruning off any buds the plant grew the previous Aug/Sept.
So lesson learned? Prune the Oakleaf Hygrangea in June/July.

Or better yet... don't touch this plant.
I have to realize that not everything in the garden has to be blessed with Rosemarie's pruners. Instead, I am going to play the game called "Don't touch, just watch" -- also known as "lookey, no touchy." Then maybe I'll have some beautiful pictures to post later on this summer and learn to love the "lurch."


Gloria said...

Hi Rosemarie, I'm a Chicago gardener as well.I have been at it for more years than I care to admit. We have two Oakleaf hydrangea that took a couple of years to bloom because the Rabbits were clipping off the flower buds during the winter. After protecting in a wire gage until some of the limbs were thick enough and the ends tall enough to evade hungry rabbits (unless snowpack gives them height) last year both flowered nicely. The white flowers grew rosy then in fall dark lusious brown against the lovely color of the leaves. I think the fall color and even the shape of the leaves makes this hydrangea worth its space even without flowers. Good luck with blooms this year.

Carolyn gail said...


The Oakleaf Hydrangea is a wonderful shrub even if it doesn't look like much in the winter. Be patient and you'll be rewarded.