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A Classic Southern Beauty Now Blooms In The North

Flowering plants are one of the most popular ways to brighten the landscape of your home. Even in colder or dryer climates, something in the human soul calls for flowers to give a home beauty, grace and color. Hydrangeas are regaining their popularity with gardeners, home landscapers and breeders alike. Many people remember hydrangeas from their childhood, growing alongside the front porch of their grandmother's house. In those days, white was the predominant color available for success in Northern landscapes or gardens. Now, with the introduction of new Northern-hardy varieties in many colors, hydrangeas can be enjoyed in almost any location around the country.

In recent years, breeders have expanded the color range of hydrangeas greatly. However, many of the selections do not bloom well or at all in Northern climates. Winter injury and improper late-season pruning are the major reasons for this problem. Most hydrangeas set their flower buds in the fall, leaving the buds susceptible to winter kill. Now new introductions produce their flower buds on the new growth of the plant in the spring, ensuring blooms every year even for those gardeners who live in harsh Northern climates.

Pruning late in the fall or in early spring will remove the developed flower buds of most hydrangeas. This new breed of hydrangea, like Forever and EverŪ Hydrangea, features blooms that develop on the new growth, and will perform and bloom each and every year even if they are pruned at the wrong time. These new growth bloomers have a longer season of bloom and are great for mass landscape, border plantings or container plants. The large flowers can also be enjoyed as cut or dried flowers. Hydrangeas provide a tremendously colorful display in partially shaded areas. Hydrangea breeders have begun breeding new varieties that incorporate these great new features. Forever and Ever hydrangeas, first introduced in 2005, feature three different colors. These mophead beauties, in pink, double pink and red, will be available at garden centers this spring. Depending on the pH composition of the soil in which they are grown, pinks may be replaced with shades of blue. However, whether blooming as blue or pink, the result is the same-a vigorous, beautiful addition to any landscape or garden.


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