My new corner garden of hydrangeas is blooming! But before I get to lots of photos of pretty flowers, I need to tell you a family story.
When I was a kid, my Dad would plant lots of varieties of flowers. But because he was also a penny pincher (and a little more talented at growing flowers than I), he preferred to grow gardens from seed. There was just one little catch…
He wouldn’t mark, label, or pay any attention to what flowers were growing where. Dad would buy packets of seeds whenever they went on sale and just sort of scatter them in various places around the house. No real color scheme, or height planning, or knowing what grows best with what. It would always be a sort of surprise each spring and summer (much to the chagrin of my mom) to see what would suddenly pop up or completely take over. But many times, the results would also turn out beautifully:
Gorgeous, right? But then again… why am I bringing this up?
Even though Dad was clearly pretty good at this little gamble, I have spent years struggling to figure out how best to grow things in my own gardens. I like to think that I’ve gotten far more confident about knowing what will thrive these days, but if I’m spending cold hard cash on a flower or shrub, I tend to be more of a planner (however, I’m still my father’s daughter at being a “Frugal Fogle” as I’ve proven with some of my plant hacks before).
So you can imagine my surprise when I spent some time and effort planting my new hydrangea garden in the corner of the back yard… mulching… putting down fertilizer… and watching things suddenly start to bloom… to realize that some of my plants were blooming… a little different than how I expected.
When I originally looked at the tag and bought my new BloomStruck® hydrangeas, I expected to see them coming in like the way I’ve known my other Endless Summer hydrangeas to come in: big, “mophead” clusters of little flowers varying in color from pink to deep blue. And since these were specifically supposed to be the BloomStruck® variety and I’ve seen lots of pictures on the Endless Summer® website gallery, I knew that the color would probably be even more vibrant. But as I inspected some of the shrubs closer, I realized that some of my plants were showing more delicate centers that looked like they weren’t blooming all the way. Hmm…
As you guys have seen from the disclosure I’m required to post (FTC rules being what they are and such), my new corner garden is unique in that it is sponsored this year directly by the Endless Summer® folks. I have planted their Original variety in my yard over the years and fell in love with how easy and pretty their hydrangeas are to care for, especially since they bloom and re-bloom from spring to fall. So, it was a no-brainer when they reached out to partner for my new corner garden idea. Just as the flowers started to bloom and I published the first blog post about my plans, one of their reps contacted me and solved my curious little flower puzzle: some of these flowers were not, in fact, the BloomStruck® variety!
I went back to looking at all of the signature blue pots that Endless Summer hydrangeas come in and all of their labels. Was I nuts? Had I picked up the wrong plant? I had only just started cleaning up the garden so I still had all the labels the pots came with. What the heck???
A little back and forth with the ES folks and we got down to the bottom of it: when the local nursery put out the plants, they’re also the ones who put the pricing labels on the tags (I had Photoshopped the price out of this original image I took at the nursery, but pictured is the label I’m talking about). Somehow, when they did that, they must have taken off the tags and then stuck them back in each pot, mixing up the pots and labels and sold a different variety — called Twist n Shout, which is a “lacecap” bloom style — as BloomStruck! ????
As you can imagine, I was kind of embarrassed over the whole thing — when you promote something for a brand, you not only want to be accurate for the sake of professionalism, but I also don’t want to accidentally tell you guys something wrong either. Not to mention pretty irritated at the nursery for the mixup, since it meant I’d have to dig up the ones that were wrong and replant (I could have kept them, but it’s merely a preference thing that I specifically wanted all the plants to match). Luckily the nursery (like most these days) have a refund policy so it was easy to return… and then I went and picked up BloomStruck pots at a competitor location.
But just to double check (since now I was super concerned about how little I knew of identifying these plants beyond what the blooms look like, ha!), I also learned that the BloomStruck variety can be identified by their reddish stems (the Original has a similar bloom look but green stems):
Anyway, the point of this story is just that unbeknownst to me, I wound up carrying on my dad’s tradition after all. So instead of making me fuming angry at the nitwits at the local nursery for almost making my garden look like it was having an identity crisis (well, ONLY angry at them, that is), I can look back and once again have a crazy story about this house to tell my friends, and a nice little funny family memory thrown in every time I go back out there to see how my “new” new hydrangeas are doing (as if I need more funny stories, right? This house, I swear!).
Where were we? Oh right: Hydrangea Care and Maintenance!
Color and fertilizing: Like I mentioned, one of the reasons why I agreed to work with the Endless Summer folks in the first place was that I already knew how easy their plants were to care for; so even though I had to sort of “catch up” the new plants to the ones I planted back in the spring, they all started growing in nicely once I added some slow-release fertilizer (I prefer Osmocote as a good catch-all fertilizer, but if you specifically want to change the color of the blooms, you can also use a pink or blue fertilizer that changes the pH balance in the soil for the color you want).
Watering: To keep things coming in nice and healthy, I took the swapping out of the wrong plants as an opportunity to add a soaker hose, but wound up turning it off about halfway through the summer since we’ve had a little extra rain over the last couple of months and this garden area is close to the roof downspout (too much water can lead to producing less flowers, and the hard Georgia clay already holds more water than sandy soil).
Sun and wind: My number 1 tip about hydrangeas is to pick a place where it is protected by the wind, which is why I plant them near fences and under the shade of larger trees; I’ve found that when they’re protected enough from the sun and wind, they can grow like crazy and pop up blooms before I know it. The southern heat can lead the leaves to wilt in midday, but they perk up in the evening again once the temps cool down a little (usually by the time Charlie is due for her evening walks).
Hydrangeas in Full Bloom
Once things were corrected, they started blooming and showing off their beautiful range of summer colors. I’m going to let them get better established before I do cuttings, but I’m looking forward to seeing how they look in the fall too. I just love how deeply purple they have been coming in with all of the recent rain we’ve had in Georgia:
The lighter hues aren’t half bad, either ????:
So, enough of that crazy tale… how about another awesome outdoor giveaway?? Here are all the details!
Endless Summer® Bloomstruck Giveaway – Experience Life in Full Bloom™
- Number of winners: one
- Giveaway ends: Friday, August 11th at 11:59pm
- Geographical restrictions: U.S. only
- To enter: Leave a comment on this post answering the giveaway question below. Yes, you have to leave a comment. Or don’t, but if you don’t, you probably won’t win. I check them because I’d much rather reward a regular reader (usually giveaway jumpers don’t stop to leave a comment, so that seems to help your chances!).
- Please update the Rafflecopter widget to confirm you’ve left a comment. Winner will be chosen at random via the widget auto-generator.
- Giveaway question to answer (many of you know how this goes): Have you ever found something cool or unexpected growing in your garden?
Ready, and… GO! Good luck! (And if you want to share your own hydrangea photos on IG, be sure to tag me and use the hashtag #LifeinFullBloom so I can see them!)
This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Endless Summer® Hydrangeas. The opinions and text are all mine.