Plant a Hydrangea on your Tree

There are few plants that create as much excitement as does Climbing Hydrangea (Hydrangea anomala subsp. petiolaris) especially when seen in full bloom, lighting up the trunk of a tall oak tree. This is an outstanding plant that deserves greater use. Climbing Hydrangea is native to the woodlands of Japan and coastal China. The lacy, creamy-white blooms are 6 to 10" in diameter and appear in late June or early July. The blooms are actually comprised of numerous small flowers, some fertile and some sterile. The sterile flowers are larger and showier and encircle the smaller fertile flowers in the center of the bloom. The effect is unforgettable! Climbing Hydrangea is an attractive plant even when not in bloom. It has glossy heart-shaped leaves and cinnamon colored stems with exfoliating bark that make this plant interesting all year long.
Climbing hydrangea can reach heights of 50 to 80 feet if it has the support of a large tree to do so. It looks great on tall trees, on stone pillars, on brick walls or cascading over a rock pile. It is not overly aggressive like some vines can be. Dr. Michael Dirr, author of the Manual of Woody Landscape Plants calls it "The Best Vine!"

Climbing Hydrangea is most often sold as a container grown plant. Planting can take place from spring until fall. Plant it next to a brick wall or aside tall tree with an eastern or westward exposure. The planting depth should be the same depth as it was grown in the nursery. On poorly drained soils, planting depth may be raised several inches and soil should be sloped up to the original soil level of the container. The addition of organic matter such as compost, aged manure or peat moss will improve plant growth. Once situated at the proper depth in the planting hole firm the soil around the root ball and water thoroughly to remove any air spaces. The addition of a surface mulch of 3-4” will help retain soil moisture. Climbing Hydrangea is not the fastest plant to establish and growth will be slow for several years after planting. Once established the growth will improve with each passing year.

Climbing Hydrangea is a great plant that has tremendous potential. Few people have ever seen this plant. Once they have they will never forget it and will most certainly want one of their own!

There are several new cultivars of climbing hydrangea that are worth looking for. 'Skyland's Giant' (see above image) is a new variety selected for especially large flowers. 'Fire Fly' is a new variegated selection of climbing hydrangea that is simply spectacular in in the spring when the plant flushes. It has the same great flowers as the species. As the season progressed the variegation becomes less pronounced.

Budapest - Our next plant Hunting Trip

Budapest is truly one of the world’s most beautful cities

My next plant hunting trip takes us to the beautiful city of Budapest and the surrounding countryside. I have met some wonderful Hungarian nursery people and plant breeders during our travels and finally I get to visit them and this beautiful city.
Do I have a rough job or what?
I am truly amazed by the number of people that subscribe to my blog, and I am equally amazed that we have subscribers from across the globe, so today I am seeking your advice.

With our upcoming trip to Hungary, I was hoping that some of my subscribers might offer me some advice. If you are from Hungary, or have travelled to Hungary - tell me about your experiences there and offer me some tips on things to see or foods to try. While we do not normally have a lot of free time for your typical tourist activities, we do on occasion see a few things besides plant nurseries.

And if you have followed my blog for any length of time you know that food is high my priority list when travelling. Can any of you recommend a must have dish or a gem of a restaurant?

I've never been to Hungary so I'm counting some good tips and advice.

Hunting for New Plants in the Netherlands

I just got back from a week in the Netherlands and now that I've recovered from jet lag, I thought I would share a few new discoveries.

What do you think? Commet on your favorites.

Skimma japonica 'Magic Merlot'

Pieris japonica 'Passion'

Cornus x 'Venus'

Lavendula 'Garden Beauty'

Sedum 'Elsie'