SO WHAT HAPPENED?
I held my breath as I always do. The winter brought several episodes of severe cold temps. One came early in November 2018 when the plants had not had a chance to fully harden off. Then came 2019 with some significantly icy temps. The chart below shows multiple scattered January and February temps taken from my closest official weather station:
The winter weather was compounded by a significantly cool and wet spring. Everything was late breaking dormancy, not just hydrangeas. By May 31, all my oak leaf and climbing hydrangeas finally showed their buds. My ‘Alice’ oak leafs had significant winterkill of entire branches. It makes sense as they are much more exposed to the weather by virtue of their sheer size and where I have them sited, especially in view of the cold winter. I completely lost one 10 year-old oak leaf hydrangea. I believe it was much too wet both last fall and this past spring. Oak leafs are the one variety that can not take wet conditions. I have replanted that “hole” with offshoots from a colony of woodland hydrangea ‘Annabelle’ which is already flowering.
2019 WINTER IMPACT ON BIG LEAF HYDRANGEAS
2019 WINTER IMPACT ON ENDLESS SUMMER® HYDRANGEAS
On to inspect my collection of Endless Summer®, The Original. Some had complete dieback, as shown in this photo (it’s regenerating from the base).
Some had partial tip dieback; some had partial stem dieback or full stem death. Below is a photo of one that had a little of everything. The fence helped somewhat to protect it. The same happened to most of the other rebloomers I have* (see list at the end).
BloomStruck® came through the best of all my Endless Summer® hydrangeas. I have three of them planted (in various locations for testing purposes). All three lost all their terminal flower buds that were produced last year. One had tons of buds coming off the side shoots (lateral buds). This is the magic of rebloomers! If the stem makes it through the winter, it can give you flowers despite losing the one at its tip. One BloomStruck® had complete dieback of all its stems and is regenerating from the base. The third had a little of both: some total stem dieback and some lateral buds. The flowers are just starting (late June in CT) to color up.
2019 WINTER IMPACT AND BEST PERFORMING BIG LEAF HYDRANGEAS
The other winners that are absolutely superb are all the newly planted Tuff Stuff™ reblooming mountain hydrangeas. I followed my own advice last year and donated some of my underperforming plants and replaced them with hydrangea Serrata Tuff Stuff™. Although all my mountain hydrangeas have buds on them, this variety broke dormancy the earliest of all. Regardless of where they are sited, they are now a kaleidoscope of color.
CONCLUSIONS RE 2019 WINTER IMPACT
THE VALUE OF REBLOOMING HYDRANGEAS
- Endless Summer® Blushing Bride, and Twist–n–Shout®
- ‘David Ramsey‘
- Double Delights™ Wedding Gown, Perfection, and Star Gazer
- Everlasting™ Revolution
- Forever & Ever® Peppermint
- Let’s Dance® Blue Jangles®
- Midnight Duchess®
- Mini Penny™
- Nantucket Blue™
- ‘Penny Mac’
- Pink Shira™
- Queen Of Pearls®
UPCOMING HYDRANGEA TALK
On another note, I will be signing books and presenting a talk (Foolproof Hydrangeas) on hydrangeas tomorrow, June 29 at 10 a.m. at White Flower Farm. There is a fee for this program and registration is required. One FREE 1 qt perennial will be given to each attendee. Light refreshments will be served. I was just there last week for the annual tent sale and roamed the display gardens and hydrangeas for sale. The gardens look great and the retail store has a wide selection of hydrangeas. If you’re in the area, do stop in. You won’t be disappointed. If you can’t make this one, check the calendar tab of my website to see where else I will be. over the next few weeks.
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