Flowers are the number one reason this gardener gardens. Of course, the number one flower for any mom is her daughter. In this photo, Bridget is shown modeling our new scarf Caroline, named after a great lady, Caroline Ferriday. We’ve created a tradition where I finish a couple new scarves and snag Bridget to pose for them in exchange for coffee on me. It’s been no small feat convincing my dear photophobic daughter to help out but it’s been fun! 

Caroline 1-Plain Border
Caroline 2- Overprinted Border

This year’s garden efforts will include enriching existing beds and improving all blooms. We began last fall with a general pruning back of the many shade trees encircling the gardens. Too much shade will inhibit some plants from flowering. The hydrangea bushes were top of mind in the bloom department as the mophead variety (of which there are several on the property) have been wildly lacking. Read more..

New green at the ground- no buds to show on the stems- looks like one of mine!

 As the mophead variety blooms on old wood so green leaves only on the ground level might indicate winter damage or a pruning problem. It probably won’t bloom this year. I’m waiting to see what my bushes look like in early spring. I didn’t prune them last year so I’ve ruled that out for cause. For lots of info on hydrangea care.

A healthy mophead bloom.

In Spring, apply a good organic compost around the bushes – a couple inches deep, for nutrition, moisture retention and weed prevention. Hydrangeas are acid loving plants. Too much nitrogen or a lack of phosphorus in the soil could be culprit in the lack of blooms. One might add a single dose of fertilizer in June. ( I will this year! Always place any additives a few inches away from the trunk out to the drip line. Holly Tone is an all -time favorite. You can get some good info on reading fertilizer labels here

Lacecap Hydrangea

Happily, blooms on the Lacecap hydrangeas have been unstoppable, but each year the flowers have been getting smaller and closer together. I was thrilled to discover that cutting off as much as a third of the stems in late winter (now) might help with that. You selectively eliminate the oldest stems, cutting them to ground. This will hopefully encourage larger blooms. I’m ready- next week if the snow holds off.

The lovely willow-looking bush on the left just doesn’t yet have those lovely pink leaves. I can fix that…

Soon this year’s pruning for our Hakuro Nishiki Dappled Japanese Willow will be underway. After a couple years growing well in the enclosed garden, it hasn’t delivered on great color. Last summer I read that a selective prune in early spring should bump up the color. I’ll calendar that for mid- March.

black and white
Dan wears Golden Hosta

The wonderful thing about Paola scarves is that they bloom year round. Choose your flowers…

Bruce Springsteen is a force of nature. We just finished watching his Broadway show – currently on Netflix. What a testament to a zest for life. “Can’t start a fire without a spark.” That would be Bruce. Great live performance. Let’s do it!

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