HELEN LANG: Caring for a strong and healthy hydrangea

A very satisfactory shrub with few enemies and lots of flowers held in big trusses

  • Aug. 14, 2013 3:00 p.m.

I’d like to talk to you a bit about hydrangeas. This is a very satisfactory shrub with few enemies and lots of flowers held in big trusses. I was introduced by Edna and her nice husband, to a whopper whose huge leaves and enormous blossom clusters had been fed only on compost. It was interesting to find flowers that were pink, red, pale blue and mauve, all on the same shrub.

I gather a grapefruit’s acidic peelings accounted for the various shades of blue and things such as banana peels produced the shades of pink. Years ago my mother used iron filings to get a sharp blue and lime to achieve the pink. Now garden centres have chemicals to provide the different colours.

Mother had a huge, lovely hydrangea on the east side of the house, under the living room window. This was in Qualicum Beach. In the spring following one severe winter, her big, beautiful hydrangea appeared to have been killed. My Mother, ever the optimist, said, “Lets leave it and see what happens.”

In late June, lo and behold, shoots appeared on the frozen branches and before long we had a smaller, but strong, healthy hydrangea.

In Sidney hydrangeas have been used to good effect, planted along some downtown streets. They grow in both sun and shade, receive little water aside from rain but I imagine are pruned in spring by municipal staff. Aside from removing dead blossoms and thinning out some branches to allow light to penetrate, these handsome shrubs need little care.

One year, Mother gave me a large bouquet of hydrangea blossoms, which I hoped to keep as dried flowers during winter. No such luck! By the time we reached Prince George the blossoms had shrivelled. Since living here I’ve had better luck.

If you want to try, pick blooms on stems about 18 inches long, about noon on a dry day. Put these stems in about an inch of water in a jar that holds them upright. Place this out of the sun, in a cool place, possibly in a garage, until the water has dried up.

If they still look presentable, hang them upsidedown from an overhead nail until thoroughly dry.

Sometimes it works beautifully.

I haven’t been able to come up with a more logical answer!

Good luck!

 

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Police are looking for the driver of this truck after it nearly hit a group of kids in Esquimalt on Thursday. (Photo courtesy of Victoria Police)
Victoria police looking for driver of truck that nearly missed kids before crashing in Esquimalt

The truck’s driver, a man, fled the scene after the truck crashed into a house’s fence

Rainbow trouts thrashing with life as they’re about to be transferred to the largest lake of their lives, even though it’s pretty small. These rainbows have a blue tinge because they matched the blue of their hatchery pen, but soon they’ll take on the green-browns of their new home at Lookout Lake. (Zoe Ducklow/News Staff)
VIDEO: Lookout Lake stocked with hatchery trout to delight of a seniors fishing club

The Cherish Trout Scouts made plans to come back fishing soon

A driver stopped by Saanich police following a road rage incident on April 15 was found to be impaired, in violation of a license restriction and in a damaged vehicle. They received a 90-day driving prohibition and a 30-day vehicle impound. (Saanich Police Traffic Safety Unit/Twitter)
Driver stopped on Pat Bay Highway after road rage reports fails breathalyzer test: police

Several witnesses reported driver to Saanich police, school officer intercepted

Police escorts for Victoria bylaw workers entering encampments in parks will continue for this month, after council approved a $25,000 budget request from VicPD. (Black Press Media file photo)
Victoria bylaw staff encampment work to include police escort through April

Taxpayers to see modest increase in property taxes for 2021

Victoria’s bylaw restricting businesses from providing most plastic checkout bags came into effect on April 15. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson)
Victoria’s bylaw banning plastic bags back in effect

The bylaw restricts businesses from providing most plastic checkout bags, charges for alternatives

A woman wears a protective face covering to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 as she walks past the emergency entrance of Vancouver General Hospital in Vancouver, B.C., Friday, April 9, 2021. COVID-19 cases have been on a steady increase in the province of British Columbia over the past week. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Top doctor warns B.C.’s daily cases could reach 3,000 as COVID hospitalizations surge

There are more than 400 people in hospital, with 125 of them in ICU

(Black Press Media file photo)
POLL: Do you have a plan in place in the event of a tsunami?

Tsunamis have claimed the lives of more than 250,000 people between 1998… Continue reading

Anyone with information on any of these individuals is asked to call 1-800-222-TIPS (8477) or visit the website victoriacrimestoppers.ca for more information.
Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers wanted list for the week of April 13

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

The District of Sooke will continue to flower with Communities in Bloom. (Pixabay)
Sooke will bud but not bloom in provincial competition

Council scales back participation in Communities in Bloom

An armed officer walks outside Cerwydden Care on Cowichan Lake Road near Skinner Road Wednesday, April 14 around 5:30 p.m. (Kevin Rothbauer/Citizen)
Police standoff at Duncan apartment ends peacefully

Officers surround building as homeowner held in apartment for nearly four hours by adult son

Latest modelling by public health shows cases generated by COVID-19 infections into places where it can spread quickly. (B.C. Centre for Disease Control)
Industrial sites, pubs, restaurants driving COVID-19 spread in B.C.

Infection risk higher in offices, retail, warehouses, farms

Hwy. 4 was shut down in both directions for 10 hours on March 23 as a rock bluff was blasted as part of Kennedy Hill’s ongoing construction. Commuters can expect five more 10 hour closures on five consecutive Wednesdays beginning April 28. (Photo courtesy of Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure)
Five 10-hour Pacific Rim highway closures planned in the next 6 weeks

Closures needed for rock blasting as part of the Kennedy Hill Safety Improvement project.

Bulldogs forward Stephen Castagna flips the puck into the Clippers zone during a game on Oct. 24. (ELENA RARDON / ALBERNI VALLEY NEWS)
Island BCHL game postponed due to ‘potential positive’ COVID-19 test

Nanaimo Clippers team suspends activities, players isolating pending further test results

Most Read