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May in the Garden

Floral Designer's Plant of the Month

Hydrangea macrophylla

Hydrangeas are wonderful this time of year: they are so beautiful, elegant and simple. They are big and even a few one can make an arrangement look full.  They also dry nicely for fall and winter designs (sprayed gold for Christmas gives you a lovely natural accent for the evergreens.)

The big flowers take a lot of water so be sure to pull the leaves off your stems so all the water goes into the bloom. 

Hydrangea does better in water. But there are times when you need to use foam for a design. You can put them in tubes, which you insert into the foam, but then you will have to pull them and fill the tubes about every day.  If they will go into the foam directly, but sure to condition them very well.

Conditioning hydrangeas from the florist will prolong their life. This method will also perk up droopy ones most of the time.
Submerge the hydrangea heads under tepid water for 2 minutes and gently shake. Cut them at a 45 degree angle – because of the thickness of the stem you may need to make two cut on opposite sides.  You will now have a end that looks like an arrow.  Take your knife and gently make a cut up the center of this arrow –  this will create more area for hydration.  Put the newly cut stems in clean water and allow to soak for an hour.

Checklist for the Garden

•Let leaves of spring flowering bulbs die back naturally, so they can manufacture enough food for next year’s blooms.

•Plant annuals for summer color. 

•Plant tender summer bulbs such as cannas, dahlias, and ginger lilies.

•Mulch beds to minimize weeds and retain soil moisture when the summer heat comes.

•Shear formal hedges.

•If needed, prune spring blooming shrubs like azaleas, camellias, Indian hawthorn, and oakleaf hydrangea after they finish flowering but before mid July.  Give them some organic fertilizer before mulching.

•Hummingbirds Are Back! Red flowers attract hummingbirds to your garden. They especially like tubular shaped blooms, like Monarda, especially the old fashioned red one. 

Earlier Event: April 1
April in the Garden