Whenever Hollywood makes a sequel to a movie, I cringe. By then I have watched the original movie about eleven times because I loved it. Maybe I watch the same movie over and over because I’m still waiting to see if the guy stayed on his horse or did he fall off again. As a general rule of thumb, movie sequels can be bad or just outright barftastic.

I stopped watching Pirates of the Caribbean sequels because they managed to simply repeat every memorable moment, wit or pun, so I’m pretty much over it. The Terminator sequels were no different. The Terminator series didn’t necessarily depend on its successor. You could pretty much watch any of them and have exactly the same experience as the first. The only difference is that sequels create less brain trauma and thought process.

But High Hand is going to have a sequel and I need to explain before you roll your eyes. Years ago, a store was going out of business. I went through a lot of effort to rush over there and to wade through the crowds to find my perfect pair of boots. But, in the coming months as I continued to drive by that store, they were still going out of business as a semi-truck was backed up by the dock loading more merchandise into the store. How irritating.

Our sequel? Name Your Own Price: The Twist. I recently traveled back East to a growers’ show. This is a place where growers from around the world show up to introduce new plant trends.

This hydrangea, Endless Summer, is not necessarily new, but it gives you a taste of my experience.
You could say that when I go to an event like this, it’s really difficult not to walk away inspired. It’s an opportunity to flush out the old ideas, old thoughts, and old patterns. It’s an opportunity to breath in new insight that exhales a new vision. So, in our sequel to Name Your Own Price, we are offering hydrangeas as well as other things we normally don’t get rid of. I’m doing it for a couple of reasons. Start new, be refreshed and energized. I’m also doing it to make room for many new hydrangea varieties we have not grown.

As I thought about my new fascination with hydrangeas I also thought about some of the troubles people have growing them and it comes down to tips and tricks. The number one comment I hear is “My hydrangea never blooms.” So, let’s solve this problem once and for all. Pruning a hydrangea really comes down to the variety. Most older hydrangeas set next year’s flower buds in late summer or fall, during the growing season. Newer varieties like Endless Summer (like the ones pouring out of the van, above) can set buds throughout the season. In a nutshell, prune during the summer just after the flower’s fade. This applies to the big leaf or florist hydrangea, Hydrangea macrophylla for all you Garden Rebels. If you have a grandiflora, or oak leaf, or paniculata hydrangea, these need to be pruned in late winter/early spring. And yes, there are climbing hydrangeas. Those should be pruned to control growth.

Have I lost you yet? The bottom line is once you have identified what you have, and most people have the macrophylla variety, you have to be willing, as painful as it may be, to prune just after the flowers fade.

Who made up the spelling rule “i” before “e”, except after “c”? To this day, I still repeat this rule in my head when I can’t figure out what is first in a particular word. Most of us have the “mophead’ hydrangeas. How do I make it change to blue? Well, I don’t have a catchy little phrase like “i” before “e”, but hydrangea color changes with different soil pH. Acidic soil is achieved by adding Aluminum Sulfate to the soil. Increased acidity causes the flowers to be blue. The Aluminum Sulfate sounds scarier than it really is.

Want to go pink? Go alkaline. Adding lime to the soil will help alkalinity. And FYI (for your information), hydrangeas do best with morning sun and afternoon shade.

However, having said all this mind bending stuff, white hydrangeas and lace cap hydrangeas simply don’t turn. And there are newer blue varieties that stay blue and pink varieties that stay pink. “What? Seriously, Scott. My brain hurts and you just threw all these rules out the window.”

In the plant world there are heirloom plants and original plants. Enter the mad scientist of modern day and you have hydrangeas that simply stay as advertised. I don’t know that I like this change in the plant world, personally I think it’s dumbing us all down. Yes, you can say it’s simplifying your life that blue is blue, pink is pink and white is white, but what’s the fun in that? Seriously? Who wants to be a dumb gardener?

That’s my hydrangea. I like it. This was what was pouring out of the back end of the truck, Endless Summer.

Here’s where the inspiration part comes in. Coming to Maple Rock next year, I’m building a hydrangea cut flower garden. Why? Why not? Would you like to come and cut hydrangea flowers next year?

To make all this happen, it’s out with the old and in with the new. I’m juiced about it.

This Saturday, 9-5, it’s the Name Your Own Price With a Twist. We are adding hydrangeas and a few other things we need to clear out to make space for my new venture. Hint: selected 15 gallon trees, $15 bucks. Boom!

COMING TO THE MAPLE ROCK TRACKS
I can feel them. Purchase your tickets by clicking here.

Have we solved the hydrangea mystery or have I made it worse? Bottom line, figure out what type you have.  Most likely it’s a common mophead, so prune in late summer.
See you this weekend at High Hand Nursery.
Scott

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