Friday, October 20, 2017

For the Love of Hydrangeas

Next to the boulder retaining wall coming out from my studio, I have planted a Hydrangea hedge.

It began with an invitation from Barbara G to dig up and take cuttings from her bushes last fall.

I planted the 2 root balls and stuck stick cuttings in the ground and left them for the winter.

Early in the spring they sprouted, grew enormous leaves and flowered profusly throughout the summer into early fall.

Barabara's plants are called 'lace' hydrangeas because the petals come out a few at a time rather than all at once.

They are blue and are likely to stay blue because our native soil is acidic. Pine needles and pine cones from nearby Douglas-fir trees continually fall on the soil keeping it acidic. 

Closer to the Green Shed I want the bushes to be pinker. I have been buying pink flowering plants and after enjoying them inside I have cut them back and planted them filling in the remaining space right up to the Shed. I pour my leftover tea into their soil and have added eggshells to help make the soil more alkaline (and the stalks fo these hybrids stronger) which supports pink flowers. However, most pink plants are now bred to stay pink so these ones are likely to stay the colour I bought.
I'll take a picture next spring to show off how the pink bushes pop against the dark green shed. As the bushes are further away they transistion into blues. This is the plan but I will have wait until next spring to see how things turn out. 

I love hydrangeas as do many of the women in my family. My sisters, mother, aunts and cousins grow magnificent hydrangeas in their gardens wherever they can. Karen, who lives in the mountains of Colorado, can't but I know she would if she could.
I made a series of hydrangea works from thrift store silk blouses.
Earlier posts about making these works here and here.

I gave one to each of my sisters and our mother.

We all remember how our grandmother (our mother's mother) grew magnificent hydrangea bushes that we spend many happy hours playing around.

I have a memory of watching her put some powder into the soil under the plants. She explained to me she was making their colours. It was my first introduction to aluminium ions and soil ph and I have been fascinated ever since.

I think of the hydrangea connecting our different generations. When I see them in my sisters' gardens I think of how our grandmother passed on her love of working with plants. I see I have passed this love on to my daughters.

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