Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Fashionably Late

Crisp white against the dark green leaves
I had meant to blog weeks ago about my favorite late-blooming hydrangea, Hydrangea paniculata 'Tardiva', but I, like this shrub, am a bit tardy.  Actually, my Tardivas began blooming in mid-August (and still a few presentable blossoms a week ago).  Just as the garden was winding down and the other hydrangeas were past their prime, Hydrangea 'Tardiva' provided fresh, white color opposite the pool.  Blended among my mixed shrub hedge, this bush's vegetation helps create privacy and a lush background for ferns and anemones well before the blooms appear to steal the show.

This species and particularly this cultivar is easy to grow with limited maintenance.  Since they bloom on new wood, I did read that you should prune these in winter to remove old blooms, improve structure and open up plant.  Unfortunately, I did this after their first season with poor results.  The new branches that popped out the following spring were weak and contorted into wildly crooked shapes.  I have since limited my pruning to cutting out only the most odd-growing limbs.  I would suggest holding off on any pruning (except deadheading) for a season or two. My shrubs are now about 6 feet high with mostly straight branches.

A colorful addition to the privacy screen around the pool

In my Hamptons garden, the Hydrangea 'Tardiva' bloom with partial sun, but they supposedly are more floriferous with full sun.  They are pretty drought tolerant once they are established.  I've noticed that limbs touching the soil root easily so you could propagate these easily.

And while I'm a little late sharing my adoration for this late summer shrub, now is a perfect time to plant some for next year.  In fact, I added several more to my collection this autumn so they will be well acclimated by next summer.  The added benefit to late season planting is that most shrubs are heavily discounted at the local nurseries.  Just goes to show you that being late isn't always that bad.

Ostrich ferns fill in at the base

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Welcome back. We missed your photos and your garden comments. Thanks also for the tips on Turdivas. We have three. They are doing just okay. We think they got too much water this summer.