Ask the gardener is a column in which local readers send in questions about your garden, lawn, trees and more
Reader question: "Why did the hydrangeas bloom so beautifully this year? In the past, mine haven't bloomed and this year they look great. Was it the mild winter?"
Expert answer: Kim Reiss, President of St. Louis Hydrangea Society, is the expert this week. Reiss works at Sugar Creek Gardens in Kirkwood, MO, and part-time in the adult education department at the Missouri Botanical Garden.
"It was really just a gift from the winter," Reiss said. "It was such a mild winter that I’ve heard that from so many people. They’ve had hydrangeas for 20 years that had never bloomed, that were on their way to the dumpster and 'Oh my gosh, they are so beautiful.' So, yeah, it was just a fluke of the mild winter and the flower buds not getting frozen off like they so often do.
Here we are, it’s 103 degrees out and all those beautiful blooms are just toast. Easy come, easy go."
Are hydrangeas a tricky plant to grow in this climate?
"The macrophyllas are. Those are the pretty blue and pink balls that everybody loves so much. There are other varieties that are problem free. Everyone tends to like the 'Martha Stewart' hydrangeas. There are dozens of other varieties that are easy-peasy that I wish people would expand.
They’re low maintenance, don’t need a lot of water. Most of them need gentle morning sun and protection from the hot afternoon sun... There is a hydrangea for everyone.
Are hydrangeas growing in popularity?
"I think they are growing in popularity. They’re coming out with the reblooming varieties, which is extending the enjoyment of the flower. I think I hate to say it but I think Martha Stewart has helped promote the popularity of the flower."
For more information on the St. Louis Hydrangea Society, check out the website here.