Sunday, October 26, 2008

Drying Hydrangeas

Sunday, October 26, 2008

5:30 PM and the sun already slid over the mountain and the high 50's temperatures that made today so nice are down to 42 already. Two beautiful Sundays in a row have given us an opportunity to scratch off a couple more things from the fall clean up list. My problem was the "us" fell apart after lunch and left me to work on alone. Gail and Alex headed to Studio Place Arts
in Barre to hear a lecture. Stephen Bissette, an instructor and consultant for The Center for Cartoon Studies in White River Jct, Vt, was offering Ghosts, Graphic Novels, Manga and Comics: An Introduction to the Medium.

For those who don't know, Alex is our favorite home schooler and one of his pursuits is drawing. His comics always involve our current and past two dogs, Barney, Baker and Karl, and always are drawn in black and white. Humans are absent from Alex's cartoons as the dogs carry out human type conversations with a perspective of dog sense. Anyho-o-o-o-o, in their absense, I finished the afternoon off at the nursery repairing some fence and tightening a couple pieces that had moose stretches.

It's too late here in Vermont for this suggestion but the hydrangea up top here was supposed to be a reminder a couple months back that if you enjoy your hydrangeas in the garden, you can easily enjoy them in the house once they are dried. And the drying part is easy. Pick your hydrangeas early on when they are fresh and perky. Place them in a vase with a couple inches of water. When they have taken in all the water and the vase is dry, the hydrangeas will be dry themselves and they will keep as long as you want. This makes them attractive in dried arrangements or in an arrangement just by themselves. With all the different hydrangeas on the market how, you have a good selection. Currently I am studying them as I want to carry some at our nursery next year, regardless of what the economy is doing. Right now I am gathering info on hardiness so if any of you can recommend zone 4a and 3 hardy hydrangeas, let me know.

Writing from the mountain above Peacham Pond where the robins are in flocks going nowhere but to the crab apples. Sargent crab apple, Malus 'sargentii', gets my vote. White flowers in spring, dark foliage in summer and small dark red fruit in fall allowing seed-loving birds a place to dine. Right now the robins are using a menu with only one item but they are certainly chowing down!

George Africa
The Vermont Gardener
Vermont Gardens
Vermont Flower Farm


tina said...

I love hydrangeas. Not sure what is hardy in your zones but my mother grows an old fashioned one in Maine. They are pretty common there. Dried hydrangeas are beautiful too.

garden girl said...

Hi George, thanks for the tips on drying hydrangeas! I started some from cuttings this fall. (Every cutting rooted well - I've found hydrangeas to be the easiest shrubs to start from cuttings that I've ever tried.) Since they're so small I wasn't sure how they'd fare over the winter so I'll be keeping them in the basement until spring.

We are zone 5a here, but our nursery sells a few that are tagged hardy to zones 3&4: Limelight (z4,) Pee Gee (z3,) Pinky Winky (z4,) Annabelle (z3,) Endless Summer (z4,) White Dome (z3,) Little Lamb (z3,) and Tardiva (z3.)

Tor Hershman said...

Beautiful flowers, George.

James Golden said...

Hi, George
I noticed your Flikr badge lost its photos. Same thing happened to mine. Do you know the cause?

George Africa said...

Hello James and others with a Flickr picture badge problem.

This is at their senior IT management level right now. No answer yet but I would prefer not to have to do it all over. If this storm comes in that's building now, I may have some time as the temperature is dropping and I am hearing snow reports around.


George Africa said...

Thank you, garden girl, for the suggestions on hydrangeas. Pinky Winky was offered a lot this year and has appeared in many gardens here. I like the way it changes colors. Annabelle, Limelight and Pee Gee have been with us for some time.

George Africa