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Thursday, June 20, 2019
Posted By: Rebecca van der Zalm in Shrubs

Hydrangeas are a lovely and diverse genus, many of which have become essential parts of our garden vocabulary.
Hydrangea Group

Most of us are familiar with the "old fashioned hydrangea": hydrangea macrophylla, and mostly with it in its round headed (mob-cap) form. In England, this variety is called "mob-cap" after the rounded cap worn indoors by married women in the late 18th/early 19th century. Here in North America, they are more usually called mop heads. Having grown up in an English tradition, I found this very odd at first!!
Hydrangea Mophead

This shrub has a lot going for it: it flowers for a very long time starting in the summer when few shrubs but roses are in bloom. Unlike the rose it is equally happy in sun and in shade, though it requires more water in full sun. And, also unlike the rose, it needs no deadheading or summer pruning; the round flowers of macrophylla are lovely from the time they first appear, often in strange shades of ivory & green, slowly deepening to their ultimate colours of blue or pink, and then, as fall approaches, evolving into yet stranger colours of violet, burgundy, wine and tan. These flowers dry well, and, if you like, can be sprayed with gold for Christmas decoration!
Lacecap Hydrangea

As well as mobcaps, hydrangea macrophylla has a lacecap form. Like the dogwood, what appears to be a flower is actually a bract surrounding the true flower, which is comparatively insignificant. In the mobcap above, the bulk of the flower is made of infertile bracts. In the lacecap, the centre of the flower is made up of tiny fertile flowers with a surrounding circle of bracts, looking much like a lace doily, or old fashioned lace cap, hence the name. These plants are generally more open and graceful in appearance than the mobcaps, but have many of the same attributes.

Both kinds of hydrangeas serve a good purpose in garden design. They fit very well with rhododendrons, liking the same conditions of soil and sun, and adding garden colour at a time when rhododendrons are long over. The lacecap is particularly nice here, its grace contrasting with the bulkier shape of rhododendrons. They fit equally well with the long blooming summer & fall perennials, adding some restful substance to the border.

Pannicle Hydrangea

In addition to these two forms of H. macrophylla, hydrangea paniculata (Peegee) is a treasured garden plant. Instead of a dome, the flowers form a cone, initially white (or green) deepening to rosy red and ultimately burgundy in a way reminiscent of macrophylla, but more striking because of the size of the flower. The plant too is larger with quite a different garden effect, with strong wands growing upwards. Often grown as a standard (("tree form") it makes a terrific central feature in a frontal bed.

Macrophylla in both its forms and paniculata are those most often encountered in gardens; but there are many others: hydrangea arborescens Annabelle (a very hardy form, blooming on new wood), hydrangea quercifolia (oakleaf hydrangea - very handsome in woodland), hydrangea aspera (extraordinarily shade tolerant) and of course, the climbing hydrangea: hydrangea petiolaris). These are all excellent plants but more suited to a wilder sort of garden than macrophylla and paniculata.

Some well established favourites:
 

Macrophylla : first the mobcaps

Sister Theresa pure white, each flower with a pale blue eye
Nikko Blue very large turquoise, a bit floppy, but gorgeous in acid soil
Glowing Embers reliably red in any soil

Lovely Lacecaps

Blaumeise (Teller Blue) blue turning brilliant pink in basic (alkaline) soil
Kardinal (Teller Red) rich deep pink turning purple in acid soil
Libelle (Teller White) white with deep blue centre which centre turns pink in basic soil

Paniculatas

Paniculata Grandiflora (the original PeeGee) pure white flowers aging rosy pink
Limelight soft green aging to pink
Brussels Lace a rare form with flowers like a lacecap white with no colour change
Quickfire white flowers turning pinkish red
 

For more information about growing Hydrangeas, read the Learn to Grow Hydrangeas Blog Post
If you're interested in any of these beautiful Hydrangeas, drop by the nursery and check out our collection. As always the selection and availability is always changing so call ahead if you're making a special trip


Thursday, June 20, 2019
Posted By: Rebecca van der Zalm in Shrubs

Hydrangeas are a very easy care shrub, especially for us here on the west coast, but good cultivation will bring out their best.

First of all, like most shrubs, they should be planted in fertile (organically rich), well drained soil, but with the additional caution that you must be able to water them easily! Hydrangeas need hydrating!! This is particularly true in sunny sites and in the first while after planting. Never forget that it takes a while for roots to get out into the surrounding soil, so as far as the new plant is concerned, it is still in a pot, and so should be watered thoroughly AT LEAST once a week.

After the plant is established, it will still need watering in times of drought, and will be one of the first plants in your garden to droop by way of letting you know things are getting dry.

Hydrangea Group

Macrophylla hydrangeas (mobcap/mophead & lacecap) produce their blooms from buds formed the summer before (old wood). Therefore, pruning in autumn or too early in spring can inhibit, even prevent, flowers. When the last frosts are over, the old flower heads should be cut back to the first pair of healthy buds below them. Any dead, or spindly branches should be removed at the base, and where there are untidy crossover branches choose the healthiest of these and remove the other. It should be noted that some of the newer cultivars have been bred to bloom on both old & new wood: but the advice of pruning for strength still applies.

Paniculata, on the other hand, blooms on new wood formed in the growing season and is also hardier than macrophylla. It can therefore be pruned in late winter to early spring as needed. An extremely vigorous plant, the shrub form is going to produce much larger flowers if restricted to 7 to 11 vigorous primary shoots. If grown as a standard, the plant will need rigorous pruning to keep it in good shape, but the same general guide of fewer, stronger shoots applies.

For both types, a good mulch in the spring and fall will help keep weeds down and preserve soil moisture. Feeding once a year with a slow release all purpose fertilizer will promote vigorous growth which will in turn provide for more abundant flowers.
Change Hydrangea Flower Colour

How to Change The Colour of Your Hydrangea

 

Most blue or pink Hydrangea macrophylla varieties can change their flower colour based on soil acidity and the presence of aluminum in the soil. If the soil is acidic (a pH of less than 7), the plant is able to absorb aluminum from the soil and turn the flowers more blue. Common soil acidifiers include sulfur, peat moss and various fertilizer products like Rhodo and Azalea fertilizers. The colour transformation happens slowly of the course of 1-2 seasons. If you want your flowers to be more pink, sweeten your soil, that is - make it less acidic - more alkaline, with lime, bonemeal and other similar products. A pH higher than 7 reduces the plants ability to absorb aluminum and turns the flowers more pink. Again this change happens over several seasons.


Tuesday, March 5, 2019
Posted By: in Shrubs


Whichever path today’s gardener follows to this season’s trending garden sanctuary, you will find that including the camellia is spot on target.  The camellia can boast of exceptional colour, texture, form and versatility.  

Playing with the summer to winter transitional colour scheme is not only visually appealing, but can add significantly to our appreciation of changes in our natural environment.  Use Camellia sasanqua ‘Yuletide’ and Camelia japonica ‘Bob Hope’ or ‘Debutante’ to carry the vibrant colours of your summer garden into winter or allow the more muted tones of ‘Buttermint’ and ‘Silver Waves’ show off the textures and forms that define your winter garden.  Allow the richness of the blooms to contrast with the starkness of winter.

The relationships between varying textures of garden elements create an energy.  This goes beyond the visual.  We see and feel the smoothness of the camellia’s lush, evergreen foliage; we are excited by the contrasts of bold versus fine, rough, mossy, rusty…Combine this with the extraordinary variety of camellia forms in an airy woodland, a clipped and formal installation or a few pots on a patio oasis to achieve your design goal.

Winter camellias will grow in sun or shade.  They are large, relatively fast-growing and sturdy. Their evergreen foliage is a rich, dark, glossy green. Trained espaliered camellias may be used as sculptural specimens, screens or hedges.  Stronger pruned  geometric forms establish mood and direct the eye’s flow through the garden.  Taller columnar or conical forms act as focal points and accents.  Repeat rounded forms for continuity or count on a taller dome-shape to open up and facilitate transition.  Adapt this elegant shrub’s form to suit your purpose.

Yuletide Camellia
Camellia sasanqua 'Yuletide'

Friday, May 20, 2016
Posted By: Suvan Breen in Shrubs

 

Oh the fabulous hydrangea! Of all the flowering shrubs this one has always been a show stopper but in 2016 this is not just your grandmas pink or blue hydrangea anymore.

Blue Hydrangea Flowers

I am not sure what I am more excited about, the ever blooming varieties that just go all summer or the new multi coloured flowers that change colour over their bloom time, Hydrangeas are blowing me away right now.

There are so many new varieties and colours that will make you stop in your tracks, come on into the nursery to see what we have for you.

As you may have guessed from their name, Hydrangeas love water, plant in a moist but well drained space, spring is a great time for planting, water the roots deep down to help them to establish in the garden. Once again I highly recommend soaker hoses if you do not have irrigation, this is a great way to reduce your water bill and still deep water your plants.

 

Having said that there are certain things to know about the Hydrangeas we love. Here are the top Hydrangea questions I have had over the years.

Hydrangea Types

Are There Different Types of Hydrangeas?

Yes, there are several types of Hydrangeas with flower colours ranging from white to shades of pink to blue. The classic variety is called Hydrangea macrophylla and can have either the big Mophead type flower or a flattened lacecap-like bloom. Lace cap varieties are great for attracting butterflies, hummingbirds and bees. The Mountain Hydrangea, or Hydrangea serrata typically has a white lacecap-like flower. Pannicle Hydrangeas, or Hydrangea paniculata has large white to creamy white flowers in conical shapes. Hydrangea arborescens or Smooth Hydrangeas typically have large white blooms. Finally, the Oakleaf Hydrangea, Hydrangea quercifolia has attractive white flowers but also offers stunning fall foliage colour.

Endless Summer Hydrangeas

What Is An Endless Summer Hydrangea?

Most Hydrangeas bloom on old wood. In recent years, plant breeders have introduced new varieties that bloom on both new and old wood. They are often called “ReBloomers”. The end result is a plant the produces more flowers and blooms for longer through the season. It also makes them less vulnerable to late winter, flower bud damaging frosts. Endless Summer was the first of the group but new ones like Twist and Shout, Let's Dance Moonlight and Blushing Bride are also available. More information is available on the Endless Summer Hydrangea Website

Should I Fertilize My Hydrangea?

In most cases, yes. For established plants, feed your plant a fertilizer with a high middle number in early spring just as new growth begins. This will create larger and bigger flowers. For new plants, apply a Bonemeal into the planting hole or use a liquid transplant fertilizer when you water.

Changing Hydrangea Flower Colour

How Do I Change The Colour of My Hydrangea?

Hydrangeas react to the availability of aluminum in your soil. If you want pink flowers, add lime to your soil once a year, the lime blocks the plant from absorbing aluminum. Looking for blue flowers? Add Aluminum Sulphate in water and water the soil around your Hydrangea. Be patient, this process will take 2-3 seasons to achieve the colour switch. White flowering types do not change colour.

Where Can I Plant My Hydrangea?

Most Hydrangeas want morning sun and afternoon shade, with the exception of Peegees which benefit from full sun. Late afternoon sun is too strong for many Hydrangeas and can burn both the leaves and flowers. Full shade may result in a lack of blooms, make sure your hydrangea gets at least 4 hours of morning light to grow strong. A location with part sun to part shade is ideal.

Pink Hydrangea Blooms

Why Is My Hydrangea Not Blooming?

Back away from the pruners! The most common reason for no blooms is over pruning or pruning at the wrong time of year. Some Hydrangeas bloom on new growth and some bloom on old growth, if your Hydrangea is not blooming, you may have pruned the flower buds. Hydrangeas really do not require a great deal of pruning but if you are pruning there are guidelines depending on the variety you choose. Deadhead your Hydrangea to encourage repeat blooming.

Another common cause of poor blooms is an early spring cold snap. As many varieties bloom on old wood, a late frost can damage the flower buds.

Your Hydrangea will also produce more and better blooms with a yearly application of fertilizer with a higher middle number

Hydrangea Cityline Rio

How Do I Prune My Hydrangea?

The correct method to prune Hydrangeas depends on which type you have.

ReBlooming Varieties

The Hydrangeas require very little pruning and will keep you in blooms all season long. You should only prune to remove dead wood.

Hydrangeas That Bloom On Old Wood

These shrubs should only be pruned to remove dead wood or to manage size. As they bloom on old wood, a severe pruning can remove next years flower buds. If you must prune, do so after flowering. Hydrangeas that bloom on old wood include:

  • Big Leaf Hydrangea - Hydrangea macrophylla
  • Mountain Hydrangea - Hydrangea serrata
  • Oakleaf Hydrangea - Hydrangea quercifolia

Hydrangeas That Bloom On New Wood

For these varieties, prune in late winter or early spring. Varieties blooming on new wood include:

  • Pannicle Hydrangea- Hydrangea paniculata
  • Smooth Hydrangea - Hydrangea arboresens

If you have any other questions about hydrangeas, please feel free to drop by Arts Nursery and ask! We'd be happy to help!


Sunday, November 9, 2014
Posted By: Laurelle Olfdord-Down in Shrubs

“And as, when all the summer trees are seen So bright and green, The Holly leaves a sober hue display Less bright than they, But when the bare and wintry woods we see, What then so cheerful as the Holly-tree?” (Robert Southey, The Holly Tree).

Holly, Ilex Shrub

We have a new crop of stunningly lovely Holly trees or should I say shrubs! All the beauty in a more compact plant. Holly’s are lovely lush anchors to your garden, content to patiently wait in the background until BAM…the last late fall blast of wind blows the leaves off the deciduous trees and voila…a serene, sparkling, winter classic emerges. Glossy deep green leaves artistically arranged clusters of rich Christmas red berries what is not to love? Holly has oft been viewed as a larger estate tree, something for the back of the large border of property.

Female Hollies produce berries and you will need a male plant in the vicinity. The spines of many of varieties of Holly are a definite hazard!! Anyone that has had to garden under one gloves or not or has run barefoot by one can vouch for the reason. Add to that a slow but inexorable outward and upward growth like the Pillsbury Dough Boy in Ghostbusters and if you live in a small yard you have yourself a plant monster on your hands. Granted a super slow growing and festive monster, but a monster all the same. Not so with these little beauties! I thought I would have to wait until I had more property to eventually get a majestic Holly and then I laid eyes on these!! I’ve fallen in love. Move on over deciduous shrubs…Holly’s coming to town. The are a number of beliefs about Holly, in that it fends off lightning, promotes long life and good dreams and of course one of my favorites, is that if you plant a prickly leaved Holly by your house, the men of the household will have good fortune and be in charge. If you plant a smooth and variegated Holly the women of the household will have good fortune and be in charge. Having both plants signifies a balanced household.

Holly trees and shrubs adore a moist but well draining, humic soil. Most Hollies prefer full sun to part shade, while some of the variegated ones will give the best show with more sun. They can even take some sheltered container planting so if you wanted a small one in a pot for year round interest…and have a place against the house out of the wind we’ve got your Holly! Here are some of our newest nursery arrivals:

Castle Spire Holly

Ilex x meserveae ‘Hachfee’ or ‘Castle Spire’ Holly

Glossy smaller fresh glossy spinach green toothed leaves. This is a great columnar form to add to the shrub border or even for a container. This Holly grows to about 8 to 12 feet high by about 3-4 feet in width. Because Hollies are very slow growing and because I use it every winter, I will put it in a ½ oak barrel sized pot Centered by my entrance. It is hardy to about Zone 6. It is a female variety so you can plant with a male nearby to make berries.

Honey maid Holly

Ilex x ‘Honey Maid’ or ‘Honey Maid’ Holly

Is a glossy, lightly toothed, blue green holly with creamy white edging. The new growth emerges a soft burgundy. Absolutely stunning in berry! This is also a female variety and is hardy to about zone 6-7. It grows to about 8 feet high and 5 feet wide.

Red Beauty Holly

Ilex x ‘Rutzan’ or ‘Red Beauty’ Holly

Is a glossy fresh green tooth leaved female variety with blood red berries. New growth is brushed with burgundy. It has a tightly pyramidal to columnar form. A great anchor for the back of the garden or as a more formal clipped form. It is hardy to zone 6 and grows 7-10 feet tall and 4-6 feet wide.

Santas Delight Holly

Ilex aquifolium ‘Sadezan’ or ‘Santa’s Delight’ English Holly

Is a lovely variegated form with dark green toothed, glossy leaves with a wide creamy white margin which takes on a pink hue with the colder weather. With the bright red berries it is definitely and eye catcher and a very useful one in arrangements. This variety will grow 10-12 tall and 6 feet wide and is hardy to zone 6. A male English holly in the vicinity is preferred for best berry set.

Blue Girl, Blue Boy Holly, Berri Magic Holly

Ilex x meserveae ‘Blue Girl and Blue Boy’ or Berri-Magic Kids Holly

This solves the challenge of pollinator by planting both male and female plant together. Blue Girl and Blue Boy holly are glossy blue green toothed hollies with blood red berries and purple black stems. They are hardy to zone 6 and grow to about 6-8 feet tall and 3-4 feet wide.

Scallywag Holly

Ilex x ‘MonNieves’ or ‘Scallywag’ Holly is a lovely little compact male form with small, closely toothed oval leaves ranging in colour to deep glossy green to purple bronze and burgungy tones in colder weather. It is hardy to zone 6 and grows only 4 feet tall by 3 feet wide. A great way to solve the pollinating issue for many Hollies.

Pop by Art's Nursery to take a look at these new intro’s in person as well as many of our other varieties. They are a great plant, not without challenges but pretty darn useful as both a design anchor and as a cut green. If you have any questions, feel free to call us at 604.882.1201


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Art's Nursery is a 10+ acre retail and wholesale garden centre located in Surrey, a suburb of Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. We've been in business at this same location since 1973 and we're proud to serve you today!

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