Favorable conditions for flowering

In recent years, several Oakleaf hydrangeas (Hydrangea quercifolia, below) flowered sporadically with an increasing canopy of shade beneath tall maples and tulip poplars along the forest’s edge. In late summer last year, a limb of one maple that arched far over this side yard garden fell on a breezy afternoon, fortunately inflicting only minor damage on a Japanese maple and barely missing a pergola. This large limb, and another that certainly would be the next to fall, were removed, and though the change is imperceptible to my eye, the hydrangeas will flower again in another week or two.

In nearly full sun beside the koi pond, Oakleaf hydrangeas have begun to flower, and in sun and shade leaves are extraordinarily large this spring with recent weeks alternating between summer heat and deluges. Some heat injury has been seen on the yellow leafed ‘Little Honey’ (below), but green leafed types have a sturdier constitution.

I notice that mophead hydrangeas (Hydrangea macrophylla, below) are budded, having recovered quickly following freezing temperatures in mid March that injured newly emerging leaves. Many stem tips were pruned once the extent of damage became evident, but the injury is not as severe as a year ago when an April freeze killed stems to the ground. Reblooming (remontant) hydrangeas will flower on a slightly delayed timetable, while older varieties will not flower for another year.

Curiously, lacecap hydrangeas escaped injury both years. This spring, lacecaps were slower to leaf in unusually warm late winter temperatures. A year ago, it seems that woodier stems and more leathery leaves were less vulnerable to damage.

While unremarkable after flowering, there are few shrubs that compare in beauty to deutzias, that are not rare, but are planted far too seldom to my thinking. White flowered ‘Nikko’ and ‘Chardonnay Pearls’ (above) are exceptional in bloom, but I favor the pink flowers edged with white of ‘Magicien’ (Deutzia × hybrida ‘Magicien’). A year ago, ‘Magicien’ suffered in the April freeze, but to my delight it rebounded vigorously.

 

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