August 28, 2013
Pink Hydrangea 'Big Easy'
This spring I planted six of the reblooming 'Big Easy' hydrangeas from Proven Winner's Let's Dance series. Despite getting a little crunchy around the edges during one heat wave when I forgot to water, they've all started flowering profusely. Once they get their roots established they'll be less prone to wilting, though hydrangeas do love plenty of water.
The flowers start out as creamy buds that become more vibrant as they open. In acidic soil, they'll bloom blue. I guess my soil isn't as alkaline as I thought it was, because the flowers on my shrubs are a cooler pink than the Proven Winners website shows. This shrub is hardy in zones 5-9.
PW says Big Easy grows 3' tall and 3-4' wide, though Monrovia puts it at 2-3' tall and wide. Since they bloom on old and new wood, they should bloom every year even here in zone 5. My Endless Summer (renamed Startless Summer by this gardener) hydrangeas also promised that and haven't followed through. So I'll be interested to see how well these do next year. I have them planted where they get part sun and part filtered shade. In cold climates with short growing seasons like mine, hydrangeas don't bloom well in heavy shade because all the old buds freeze during winter, then they take too long to start growing in the spring and don't have time to form flower buds before the first fall frosts.
I've been told that I really need to fertilize each spring with a low-nitrogen fertilizer to encourage more blooms on my hydrangeas. That's added to my spring To Do List. Here you see that the half-opened mophead is pretty . . .
. . . and so is the fully opened, very large cluster. Eventually the clusters fade and supposedly they can turn back to green. Mine haven't gotten to that point yet. I have these hydrangeas planted near some 'Sutherland Gold' elderberry shrubs. The elderberries are still small so it was hard to get a good photo of the two, but you can kind of see above how the chartreuse elderberry leaves make a nice foil for the bubblegum pink hydrangea flowers.
I'll have to wait to see how they bloom next year before giving them two thumbs up, but so far this season I'm very impressed. Lots of color on a low maintenance shrub = happy gardener.