by Connie Oswald Stofko
When it comes to hydrangeas, there’s something for everyone: large plants and small plants, early bloomers and late bloomers, tree shapes and shrub shapes. For those of you who got tired of watering this summer, there are drought-tolerant varieties.
In this article, we’ll talk about some of the many hydrangea cultivars that are available, and you can find out more at the Fall Festival to be held 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 10 at Lockwood’s Greenhouses, 4484 Clark St., Hamburg.
The list of speakers is below. The talks are $10 each or all three talks for $25. You can register online.
There will also be a workshop for making a hydrangea wreath for $45. Space is limited. You can register online.
The festival will be a little different this year. It’s one day only. Instead of craft vendors, there will be music and different food vendors. While you’re at Lockwood’s, you can check out specials on plants.
Workshops at Lockwood’s Fall Festival
Carol Haj, daylily grower and hybridizer at Lasting Dreams Daylilies, will show you pictures of incredible daylilies to add color to your garden from late spring through fall—and they’re drought tolerant and trouble-free. Her talk will include tips on landscape uses and maintenance.
11:30 a.m. Hydrangeas for Every Garden
Joan Mariea of Garden Escapes will provide inspiration and answer questions about the most popular flowering shrub, hydrangeas. She will explain how to plant, place, prune and protect hydrangeas and how to get them to re-bloom.
2 p.m. (Demonstration) Floral Artistry with a Fall Flair
Floral design specialist David Clark will share professional techniques and design secrets for making beautiful autumn arrangements. He will demonstrate a centerpiece, straw bale decoration and door wreath. You may even win one!
1:30 p.m. Hydrangea Wreath Hands-on Workshop
Mary Trifunovic of Lockwood’s will help you make an exquisite, classic wreath from hydrangea blossoms that will last for months. (Guests may audit this workshop.) This workshop is limited to 24 people. You must make a reservation ahead of time. An additional class will be held at 1:30 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 18.
Hydrangeas don’t have to be huge
“There’s a size of hydrangea for just about every space,” said Joan Mariea, CNLP, who will speak on “Hydrangeas for Every Garden” at 11:30 a.m. at Lockwood’s Fall Festival.
Mariea used to work at Lockwood’s and now owns a landscaping business called Garden Escapes. She also has a certification in ornamental horticulture from Niagara County Community College.
Back in the day, Mariea said, everybody had hydrangea macrophylla ‘Nikko Blue’, which got five feet high and five feet wide. Not everyone has room for a plant that large, and now there are smaller macrophylla varieties. Two of her favorites are those in the ‘Let’s Dance’ series, which get 24 to 36 inches high, and the ‘Forever & Ever’ series, which get 2 to 3 feet tall. They’re compact and bloom throughout the season, she said.
“I highly recommend hydrangea paniculata because they’re carefree,” Mariea said. “They’re pretty much no fuss. Once they get established, they’re quite drought tolerant.”
This is a good plant for your late summer garden because they are just opening now.
“When other things are going downhill, these are just coming out,” she said.
Sometimes they’re grafted on tree trunks to grow as a “standard,” which is a tree-like form rather than a bushy form.
In the past, hydrangea paniculata varieties were six or eight feet tall at the smallest, but now they range in size from 3 to 15 feet in height, she said.
The flowers are conical in shape and are great for drying.
Other low-maintenance hydrangeas are mountain hydrangeas called hydrangea serrata.
The plant is originally from Japan where it lived on mountains, so it’s drought tolerant, Mariea said. It’s hardy and reliable.
The plants have lacecap blooms and are excellent bloomers. Tiny varieties are about 18 inches to 2 feet tall and other varieties are 2 to 3 feet tall, she said.
There are some new and interesting cultivars of hydrangea arborescens.
‘Incrediball’ has huge round flowers, though the flowers are so heavy, the stems do flop over, she said.
Another new variety is ‘Invincibelle Spirit’, which is the first pink Annabelle variety of hydrangea arborescens. Since its introduction in 2009, $1 from every Invincibelle Spirit hydrangea sold has been donated to the Breast Cancer Research Foundation.
If you want more interest in your garden in autumn, you might choose hydrangea quercifolia, also known as oakleaf hydrangea. As you can guess from the name, the leaves are shaped like oak leaves.
Previously, only large varieties were available, but now there are dwarf varieties as well.
They get a conical flower in June, and as summer turns to fall, the green leaves turn burgundy or red, Mariea said.
Bonus: They will tolerate some shade, though they do better in sun, she said.
In her talk at Lockwood’s, Mariea will discuss sun and water needs of the different varieties as well as how to keep them blooming from year to year.