Thursday, August 21, 2008

Hydrangea Time!

Today is my mother's birthday. I hope it is a happy one. You see, my mother just lost one of her beloved pets, and has been having an awful hard time with the loss. You all wish her the best birthday ever and I have no doubt it will cheer her up immeasurably. And while the cockatiel in the picture is not Alice, we know Alice would wish you a Happy Birthday too Mom!
The above picture shows some of the harvest my mother and sister (Terri) are raking in up in my mother's vegetable garden in Maine. They are all excited about harvesting some watermelons soon. Sure looks good!

It's hydrangea time at Tiger Gardens. I LOVE hydrangeas. They are my favorite type of shrub and I think of my mother and Maine when I see pretty mophead hydrangeas. That being said, just like with people, there are many types of hydrangeas. To the best of my knowledge they fall into five categories: Hydrangea quercifolia, Hydrangea macrophylla, Hydrangea arborescens, Hydrangea paniculata, and Hydrangea anomala subsp. petiolaris. I grow all except the climbing hydrangea (H. anomala). My favorite is by far the oakleaf hydrangeas (H. quercifolia) for its four seasons of interest and easy care. I also love the mophead hydrangeas (H. macrophylla) for their romantic side and sentimental considerations, and the big showy Annabelles (H. arborescens), but honestly my heart goes to the paniculatas.

These hydrangeas bloom like crazy for a long period of time and are pretty easy to grow. They all bloom later in the summer and put on a show for quite for some time.
The above picture shows my four types of paniculatas. I did not plan it this way but it is a happy accident they are all growing close to one another. The first hydrangea on the left and brightly lit up is 'Limelight', the very next one (going to the left and set back a bit) is 'Tardiva', in front of the chainlink and next to some silver artemisia is 'Pink Diamond', and the last hydrangea is the 'PeeGee'. Let me now take you for a walk through hydrangea time here. Not all are featured, only the ones in prime now. To see the oakleafs you can check here.
Hydrangea paniculata 'Tardiva'.
A long view of Tardiva. This is a pretty large shrub and has a different growth habit from the PG hydrangea. I cut mine in half each year but you should do this consistently for optimum display of blooms. I failed to cut it back the first two years and the blooms decreased while the shrub got leggy. Leggy and less flowers is not a good thing for hydrangeas. When I did cut it back it suffered for about one year, but has now fully recovered.
Pee Gee, Hydrangea paniculata 'Grandiflora'.

Pee Gee...
Limelight, Hydrangea paniculata 'Limelight'.

Maresii, Hydrangea macrophylla 'Maresii'. (Thanks Frances for identifying!)

Another bloom of the Maresii. Blooms on this hydrangea are very rare. This has been an excellent year for them here at Tiger Gardens.
A long view of Hydrangea paniculata 'Pink Diamond'.

A close up of Pink Diamond's bloom.
Pink Diamond's bloom living up to its name with the petals turning pink.

'Blushing Bride' Hydrangea macrophylla. I love this series of hydrangeas. The Blushing Bride, along with Endless Summer are superior additions to my garden. They both bloom reliably with stunning blossoms. They are also easy to care for. I think the Blushing Bride differs from Endless Summer in that it turns a pale pink after its initial blue bloom. It is a lovely addition to the garden. If I wanted to preserve this blossom, I would pick it now. I chose to leave mine on the plants and they are now turning brownish.
This hydrangea is the standard unnamed variety of Hydrangea macrophylla. It was taken at the same time I took the Blushing Bride picture. Can you see the difference? Both are lovely but it is evident the Blushing Bride is bred for an improved bloom in addition to its ability to bloom on new and old wood. Standard hydrangeas bloom only on old wood and that is their problem. Sometimes late frosts kill all the blooms and then the plant will not bloom. The Endless Summer series has eliminated this problem; which is a boon for gardeners.

in the garden....thinking of hydrangeas and wishing my mother and my niece a Happy Birthday and anyone else celebrating a birthday today!


  1. Oh Happy Birthday to you, Jean! (Imagine off pitch singing here). We do wish you the best and happiest of days but know the devastation of the heart when we lose a pet. My daughter, Chickenpoet has a cockatiel and he is so human like that your grief is very understandable. We hope you will remember the good times with him and look forward to happier times. May your birthday be full of love.

  2. Hi Tina, thanks for the photos, I used yours in my post, my stomach was not hanging out as badly, I must remember to suck it is when a camera is near. ;-> Your skill with hydrangeas is impressive. Ours are drooping more and more without water. When I got home the garden was so sad that I didn't even go out to walk the paths, that never happens! It was great to see you again and get to know you a little better, you are such a fireball!

  3. I, too, love hydrangeas and grow several different types. I can't decide which ones I like better. Though, when it comes to color, I prefer the white ones. The ones you show are lovely esp. the blue one.

    Always Growing

  4. Good morning! Frances, Always great to talk to you first thing in the morning. Can't wait to see your post. I am doing mine tomorrow. Thanks for your kind words to my mother, I am sure she will comment once she comes on too. Me a fireball? Maybe, but nothing compares to the pretty redhead in blue. Now who might that be?

    Jan, Thanks. That Mareseii is something else. But I have grown it for more than 5 years now and this is the first year of big blooms. Only one other time did I get a bloom so I gave up on them. Not sure what the secret is but think just pure dumb luck.

  5. HAPPY BIRTHDAY Jean --from all the kiddos and me --

  6. Happy Birthday Tina's Mom! I love all your Hydrangeas Tina. I have Limelight which we both know is a great one but I love your PG & Pink Diamonds. I plan on adding more hydrangeas to my garden each year.

  7. Wishing your a happy birthday, Tina's Mom!

    Tina your hydrangea are lovely. We are more limited in the varieties we can grow here. My favorite is Annabelle. I would have a hundred Annabelles if I could keep them all watered:)

  8. A very happy birthday to Tina's mom! Just visited your garden in Maine and it's so neat and beautiful! Have a lovely day!!

    Tina...hi! Another lovely post! Since hydrangeas don't grow well here, I took the much-loved opportunity to gape ('look' would've been putting it a little too mildly) at all the pretty blooms! And oh! Happy birthday to your niece too!!

  9. Jean,

    Happiest of birthdays to you! How will you celebrate? Vegetables from the garden, phone calls from all your girls or a quiet day to celebrate you! Please celebrate. You are a treasure in so many lives! I appreciate your being a loyal reader of my blog! Jean, I am so very sorry to hear of the loss of your beloved pet Alice! Pets bring us such tremendous joy and ask for so little in return.

    Take care and celebrate the day!


  10. Tina,

    You always surprise me! I had completely forgotten you made the garden plaque for my mom! Thank you. But while that was a surprise to this aging memory, the big surprise today are these wonderful hydrangeas and in Tennessee! I never would attempt to grow them and you've shown me they can grow and thrive!

    They are beautiful! I like the little lace flowers like Maresii has the best! I am not a mophead fan but limelight looks a delight...I have Ryan Ganey (H arborecens) and really he looks just a bit like Limelight! He is a smaller shrub then arborecens likes to get!

    It was a delight to see you and say hello to Geri...Let's plan a get together for the three of us and plan plenty of time to gab!


  11. I have a big pg and I love it! It is so reliable and gives me large blooms every late summer. The laced angel you gave me is doing well. I was hoping it would show some growth before fall and it has, can't wait til it flowers.
    ps. the 3 little shoots from the pg are taking off like a jets, would like my hedge like....yesterday.

  12. Thanks Tina, it was very touching and made me cry but because I feel the love from both you and my precious Alice, so a good cry and that is unlike some of the ones I have had lately.

    Tina I also put a question mark after fireball when I read it. LOL
    Then I thought Frances meant with your overall energy with gardening and talking. Now if that word was used for your second sister I would have really laughed and yelled "FOR SURE"!!!

    Frances, thanks so much for your kind words. I do remember the gorgeous picture of Bird Daniels (think that was his name) with your vacation. They are great birds and I now have 2 of them and 2 parakeets but there will never be another Alice. They have such great personalities and Alice had that plus. She truly was a gem.

    Anonymous thanks for the wishes and I miss you not being on here as much.

    Perennial garden lover and roses and lilacs, thanks so much, it is always nice to be wished well.

    kanak hagjer, thanks for the happy birthday for me and my sweet 16 year old birthday present and for visiting my garden. We have reaped a lot from it so far and will do better next year as this is my first garden in over 10 years and was very late going in.

    Gail, as always you are so sweet and I love your blog so enjoy going to it. We actually had a birthday supper for Heather and I last night with company. Today a friend wants to take me out for lunch but I am not sure I wanna go but will. I am not much on celebrating my birthday anymore.

  13. I forgot to say but my hydrangea has been stunning this year and I have always loved it anyway.

    I hope you are munching on Lobster today and enjoying fresh veggies from your garden as side dishes! I hope you are surrounded by family and holding onto the precious memories of your sweet Alice with smiles! I guess I just hope a wonderfully great beautiful day to you but not just today, always....

    Beautiful Hydrangeas Tina! I dont have any in my yard but if I did, I would have to pick one of each as I like them all! Beautiful in deed! Perfect post for moms birthday!

  15. Ops forgot to wish niece a big Happy Birthday as well!
    Happy Birthday niece....

  16. Happy birthday Jean! Beautiful hydrangeas. We lost one of our cockatiel last year, and that was very sad for me. We've raised her since she was a baby. So I can feel your pain. That garden harvest looks wonderful!

  17. Lola,
    How are things going in Florida today? I hope you and your family are doing okay!!! Prayers are going your way....

  18. A SUPER HAPPY BIRTHDAY JEAN also your niece. I do hope you have a wonderful fun filled day. Go for the lunch. Your harvest looks yummy.
    The pics are gorgeous Tina. I love these plants but they don't do very well here. I do have one on the NE corner of my house & it's pink. It had a small bloom on it last yr. This yr. still small but a couple more blooms. I'm beginning to wonder if it's not getting enough sun. I don't know the name as it was a potted plant when I received it.

  19. a very happy birthday to tina's mom. i love hydrangea too! you have so many wonderful varieties! thanks for sharing them.

  20. a very happy birthday to tina's mom. i love hydrangea too! you have so many wonderful varieties! thanks for sharing them.

  21. Happy Birthday Jean! My heart goes out to you on the loss of your pet, pets truly are part of the family.
    In the picture of your veggie garden goods what is the squash/zucchini looking thing ? Is it a zucchini? I had one like it this year, but it was a volunteer so I wasn't sure what it was.

    Tina ~ Your hydrangeas are gorgeous. I love looking at the pictures.

  22. Your Hydrangeas are beautiful. I did not know they could become that big. I see some small mop head hydrangeas
    everywhere these days, and I will look into getting some more, for some spots that has too little sun for roses to bloom well.

  23. Skeeter, thanks again!!!! LOL I don't plan on lobster today but just might change my mind now that I have read it twice today. However, I will not have veggies if I have lobster....only thing I eat with lobster is lobster. LOL
    Unless I have some fresh steamed clams but I do like a COLD beer with lobster. Only time I drink anything. But they go so well together. Thanks from Heather also as I doubt she will come on here. But she did just buy herself a new laptop yesterday so maybe I can convince her that she should do her own thank-yous.

    Thanks dp. Sorry for the loss of your cockatiel also but I bet it brought a lot of happiness while you had it. Are'nt they just the best?

    Thanks Lola and also thanks from Heather.

    I hope you folks stay safe and don't get a pounding. Am thinking about you. Be safe. Also sorry about your family member.

    Marmee, Thanks. Tina does have a lot of hydrangeas, does'nt? They are all lovely.

    Cindy, Thanks on both. Pets are great but it does hurt when we lose them. The zucchini looking thing is called Cocozelle Squash but the picture of it looks like what I call zucchini and that is why I bought the package of seeds as I love zucchini in many different ways and it tastes like zucchini to me so I guess it is. They really are growing funny as they are all getting fat without being real long. I thought it would take away from the flavor but it has'nt.

  24. Jean, since it is your day, I say go for the cold beer and lobster! lol....

  25. HAPPY BIRTHDAY JEAN. Time will ease the pain and leave only the wonderful memories although it may not seem like it now. Have a wonderful day. Happy birthday to your neice too.

    These have got to be the most romantic flower on earth. I love the green ones but you just can't beat the lovely blueish color, that our Grandmothers raised. I dind't know there was a climbing one. I have to look into that.

  26. Tina, lovely hydrangeas! Which ones are from the cuttings in your mother’s garden? The Grandiflora buds almost look like lilacs. I hadn’t realized they come in so many varieties.I blogged a bit about hydrangeas and my mother today too. We are once again on a similar wavelength.

    Jean, I’m so sorry to hear about Alice. It’s hard to lose a loved pet. I imagine it’s not such a happy birthday this year, but I send my birthday wishes and condolences.

  27. Thank-you Eve and I know losing my special Alice will get better but still pretty raw right now. Heather and I thank you for the good wishes. BTY, Heather (the other birthday girl), is my granddaughter and Tina's neice. I know it is hard to keep up with all these blogs and keep the people straight, but is'nt if tons of fun?

    Sarah, Thanks for birthday wishes and condolences. It is hard losing a pet but we do have great memories from them with all the special times with them. Maybe Fat Boy's will top my day off for a good meal!!!!! But I will have to go read your blog first. I checked yesterday morning and this morning and there was nothing new so thought you were still on vacation and not gonna post this week.

  28. OMG, lots of folks to talk to. Glad my mother has been taking up the slack as I have been out with garden club today. Just a few comments addressing hydrangeas.

    Marnie, Did you know Annabelles are EXTREMELY easy to layer and make a hedge? I understand the water thing though.

    Kanak, You'd have to stick with oakleafs over there. Do you ever see many hydrangeas?

    Gail, Would love a couple of cuttings of your hydrangea as it sounds great if you don't mind? I like variety. Let me know when is a good time to get together and you are always welcomed to come here! Same drive for you as me so anytime and I can have Geri come over here no problem. Just email me, my schedule is pretty flexible. Just need a date for you as I would love for another blogger to see the garden and let me know if you get the feel of it on the blog. Frances does a good job of this on her blog but it is never the same. It was a neat feeling seeing the whole garden after only seeing pics for so long. So email a date!


    Skeeter, Birthdays!

    Lola, I had no luck with mopheads in Alabama but I think oakleafs might work for you down there.

    Marmee, Thanks! You'll come our next get together?

    Cindy, Thanks!

    Niels, Hydrangeas and roses do go together well. Both old romantics.

    Eve, I too think hydrangeas are the most romantic flower! Way more than roses-sorry Niels, Marnie and all you other rose lovers:)

    Sarah, The last picture of the mophead is from my mother's hydrangea. It is doing wonderfully! I am headed your way to check your blog. Like my mother, we were used to first thing in the morning when you were in England, now I check later. Can't wait to read. Bloggers often have same sentiments. Hmmm, I see a post perhaps?

  29. Hi,
    I'm Jean's granddaughter and Tinas niece and i wanted to say thankyou for all the happy birthday wishes. Auntie; those hydrangeas are beautiful!

  30. Jean, I hope you made it to Fat Boy's. It's a good night for it. Time and comfort food heal pain.

    Tina and Jean, my blogging was messed up this week due to travel. I just got back home. Since I post only once a week, I try to publish Wednesday mornings so readers without RSS feeds know when to find it. Also it sets a rhythm to my week, but sometimes life gets too busy. I'm always impressed by bloggers like you who post almost every day. I'm glad to see your cutting thriving.

  31. Heather-How sweet to come on here and say hello! Happy Birthday to you. I must confess though-I forgot but Dawn reminded me with her post. How could I forget that you share your birthday with your Mimi? Silly me. I think if you saw my garden you might start gardening again-though not sure. Thanks!

    Sarah, That explains it! I have you blogrolled so it is no problem on the feed for when it comes up I come visit. The good thing about blogging is you can do it when you want to. One reason I like to do it so much.

    Dawn, I forgot to say I am glad your hydrangea is growing. Mine too that I bought. New growth is good. You have yours in a good spot. PGs grow pretty fast so before you know it you'll have a hedge. Try layering them in a chainlike manner to get a hedge faster.

  32. Auntie Dawn:
    i cant figure out how to post a comment on your blog, but i wanted to thank you for wishing me a happy birthday too! hope all is well

  33. Ohh, I never thought of that, right now they are intermitted with forsythia.
    Starting on Sat. you'll be able to enlarge my pics. I know that will make mom happy.

  34. Heather, same way, user name and password.

  35. Mowed the yard again this evening then ran to town to pick up more corn for the deer. My goodness the Saint let the bucket go empty! Poor hoof babies did not have their corn so off we went... I cannot believe we had to mow the grass again after mowing on the weekend but that will happen when you get a bit of rain fall on the St. Augustine and Centipede grasses! I did a major edging with the weed eater also. That always gets to the back and shoulder but we are now good to go for awhile. Still looking for rain and hopefully tomorrow is the day! Glad you had some rain Tina….

    Jean, I hope you had a nice day today! You too Heather…

  36. You have a nice selection of hydrangea. The oakleaf hydrangea is also one of my favorites, the fall colour is great. I also grow a Pee Gee in a standard form and a pink flowered one that the I have lost the name of. I'm not sure if the west coast people are the flip side but I also want a blue flowered one but my soil type does not allow this. Those lucky acidic soil type people!

  37. mrbrownthumb, Thanks, you bloggers made it a great day!!

  38. Wow, Hello Heather! It was a surprise to see you get on here!

    I am terrible about getting on Auntie Dawn's site...bad niece!

  39. Skeeter, Grass cutting day for me too since we had a whole .4 inch of rain! Yahoo!

    Mr. Brownthumb, You are very sweet!

    Mom, Great job on the comments!

    Christy, Occasionally they get on here for special occasions-even Aunt Terri did when we wished her a Happy Birthday. Nice little tradition I think. Talk to you soon?

  40. Happy belated birthday Tina's mom Jean!

    So sorry to hear about the loss of your beloved Alice. Birds and people can enjoy such special relationships, and I'm sure you must miss her very much. My sincere condolences to you.

    Tina, those are some gorgeous hydrangeas. I miss them in my garden. You have such a wonderful variety of them, and several of my favorites, especially the oakleafs, Annabelle, and Limelight.

  41. Garden Girl, Thanks and thanks for the kind words to my mother. You don't have hydrangeas? They would do great up there I would think. I gladly share cuttings:)

  42. Hi again Tina, no hydrangeas here yet. My husband I got married almost four years ago. I sold my beloved home and garden and moved in with him. The large garden area here was bordered and mulched with pine bark nuggets (ugh!) and was a completely blank slate. Time and budget, along with the size of the blank slate, have been challenges. I've primarily concentrated on perennials so far, and am really missing some of my favorite shrubs. With so much shade here I'm sure hydrangeas would thrive, as they have in past gardens.

    We do have lots of shrubs here, mostly in hedges, and I have a few babies I'm nursing along - viburnums, a dwarf lilac, a couple of dappled willows, a dogwood and cuttings, and an elderberry and her cutting babies.

    This is the year I hope to add some hydrangeas, and have been holding out for the 2-1 sale at work, hoping my picks don't dissapear before they go on sale.

    I gladly share and love receiving cuttings too, although I'm not sure how they'd fare on their journey between our gardens.

  43. Linda, You got a blank slate for a garden and a new husband too? Me too-although a while ago. How lucky are you?! Your garden sounds like and looks like it is well on its way. I started with the shrubs and now am focusing on perennials. Shrubs are so much easier-no dividing! But I enjoy it all and know you will fill yours out soon enough. Now, I have known cuttings to make a postal trip before so you never know how they will do.

  44. Garden Girl, thank you very much for the birthday greeting and very kind words. I guess we all have our special relationship with our pets but life goes on and we form new ones but I will always remember my special Alice. I still have 2 more cockatiels and 2 parakeets and 2 dogs and a cat so I have my hands full. Again, thanks.

  45. Fabulous hydrangeas! Tina, here is a link for you to consider for your mom to see if you think she would enjoy it. It is one of the cutest things I have ever seen! Turn up the sound to hear the music and watch him dance to the Back Street Boys. It's almost unbelievable. If the link doesn't work copy and paste. Do not put an L on the end of it like I did. I thought it was supposed to be html. That doesn't work. It is just htm

    I hope you will enjoy this page as much as I did.

  46. Hi Barbee'....Cute video, thanks for the link. Cockatoos are a little bigger than the cockatiels and a different color but they are cute also and I had a friend that had 2 of them. They are like any bird but especially the bigger birds in that they can be pretty mean if not raised right. People do not realize what great pets a bigger bird can be. The video is so like a happy, social, bigger bird. Wonderful!

  47. I am glad you enjoyed the cute video. I never knew birds could be so talented. :)