I hope this works. Hydrangeas planted in a leaf mix...

Northwest, OH(Zone 5b)

My mom gave us several hydrangeas (she was tired of them), and we didn't really have a place in mind to plant them. But we decided we would put them inside our gazebo, since we never use the inside for anything anyway, since the swing broke a few years ago. They'll get some morning and mid-day sun, but shade the rest of the time. Since we had grass growing inside the gazebo, we had to dig that up and prepare it for the hydrangeas. We have a heavy clay soil here, so my husband got the idea of mixing peat and oak leaves (that we'd just raked up) in with the soil already there. Oh myyyyyyyyyyyyy. I really felt like the leaf/soil ration was too high, but he's sure it will be just wonderful. So are my hydrangeas doomed now? I could not convince him not to do this!

Thumbnail by kbaumle
Northwest, OH(Zone 5b)

Closer view:

Thumbnail by kbaumle
Northwest, OH(Zone 5b)

I suppose you guys are in awe of what silly thing we did... LOL

Fayetteville, NC(Zone 8a)

Just found this thread. How did your plants do? It looks like a bit much shade, but the morning sun might be just enough.

Northwest, OH(Zone 5b)

They seem to be doing great. I see I previously said they get morning and mid-day sun. Well, they get some late afternoon sun, too. It's just that they each get sun at different times of the day. When I had one of them in full sun, it wilted every single day. Now I don't have that problem.

When we went to Garvan Gardens in Hot Springs, Arkansas, most of their gorgeous hydrangeas got filtered sun or shade, so I figured this would be okay. Time will tell, I guess!

Fayetteville, NC(Zone 8a)

I'm glad, 'cuz it sure is a nice set-up.

Northwest, OH(Zone 5b)

Thanks. My grandma gave us the gazebo when she moved into a condo.

In looking at the pictures I posted up there, I realized just how much the hydrangeas have grown since I took those! There isn't any space between them anymore!

Fayetteville, NC(Zone 8a)

You're doing everything right then. They do fill in their area nicely when they are happy. Are you flowers blue or pink?

Northwest, OH(Zone 5b)

Only one of them arrived here with blooms, and it's pink/ivory. It's the small one on the upper left. One of them I had in a different spot, and it didn't bloom this year, because dumb me, not knowing any better, cut it back at the end of the summer last year. Live and learn!

This message was edited Oct 10, 2005 2:11 AM

Fayetteville, NC(Zone 8a)

I cut mine 'way down to less than a foot tall about every two or three years and they are fine the next summer. It keeps the bushes bushier and I get just as many flowers. If it's a new plant, it will take an extra year. I'll bet next year it'll knock your socks off. Here's a picture of some of mine from this summer, but they are bluer in real life.

Thumbnail by 1gardengram
Northwest, OH(Zone 5b)

Those are GORGEOUS!!! I wonder if our zones make a difference. The one I had bloomed for me the first year (they were sort of a pinkish lavender), then this year, no. I hope you're right. If these do well here, that gazebo is going to be really pretty. Once they get as tall as the sides of the gazebo, they'll get sun all day, except for maybe an hour or two.

Winchester, KY(Zone 6a)

I think your soil ammendments should serve you well. All the peat and Oak leaves should make for some nice blue blooms. Very pretty.
Neal.

Northwest, OH(Zone 5b)

Thanks for the encouragement! :-)

Fayetteville, NC(Zone 8a)

I'm really interested in how they do. I am always encouraging people to plant hydrangeas. They fit so well in so many places, and sure can brighten up a corner someplace.

Northwest, OH(Zone 5b)

Here's a picture I took today of the one that's in bloom. It was actually transplanted while in bloom and has never fully colored out. But I love the look!!

Thumbnail by kbaumle
Marietta, GA(Zone 7b)

We have clay soil, too, and one year ran out of soil conditioner and, acting on a suggestion by my husband (who must live on the same bandwidth as yours), we used leaves we had raked up and shredded a few weeks earler to amend the soil. I had bouts of serious nervousness through the winter, wondering if the leaves would take too much nitrogen out of the soil as they decomposed and rob the hydrangeas. Finally I asked a horticulturalist from the National Gardening Association (when they were still answering questions), and their advice was to give it some liquid fertilizer in March and watch the leaf color...if it's green, then everything will be fine. I did that, and these are healthiest plants I've ever seen. Hope this eases any worry you may have about the leaves.
Suzanne

Northwest, OH(Zone 5b)

Thanks, Suzanne! I doubt if I will put fertilizer on in March here in this zone, but I'll watch them!

Marietta, GA(Zone 7b)

Just wait till you see buds about to open (or thereabouts) and then use a liquid fertilizer. They aren't fussy and will appreciate the shot of fertilizer whenever it comes, so if the leaves are already out when you get to it, that still won't be too late. (Pampered as we are here in GA, it's become too easy to forget the climate conditions up where you live--I grew up in PA, then went to college and later lived in MI for a few years, so your comment brought back lots of memories of interminable winters and noncommittal springs).
If this works, I'll attach a couple pictures of the hydrangeas that got the shredded leaf "treatment" upon planting to give you hope.
Suzanne

intention is to show you:
a) healthy foliage of Hyd. serrata 'Miranda' the second spring after transplanting.
b) a long shot
c) hydrangea in bloom from closer in



Thumbnail by shimer
Northwest, OH(Zone 5b)

That one sure looks healthy!!

Marietta, GA(Zone 7b)

long shot of several Hydrangea serratas of different cultivars: this represents about one third of the hydrangeas in this area

Thumbnail by shimer
Marietta, GA(Zone 7b)

Wow, that's incredible that we're both "conversing" in the middle of the night! Here's one (at least) close in on one while flowering---here's one of the same plant as the foliage pic.

Thumbnail by shimer
Northwest, OH(Zone 5b)

Ooooooh, I just love the lace caps!

Yeah, you just never know when I'll be up. LOL. I'm a real night owl!

Lakewood, WA(Zone 8a)

That's a beautiful lacecap! Do you know the name?

Long Beach, CA(Zone 10a)

I think thats a GREAT idea for an otherwise unused gazebo!!!
Very creative!!!
Just one question: Did the plants eat St. Francis????? lol

Northwest, OH(Zone 5b)

Not quite yet, but he will stay nice and warm this winter, I think. LOL.

Lincoln Park, MI(Zone 5a)

Your husband did a smart thing there with the oak leaves..I used to buy the oak leaf compost at $18.00 a bag,not no more,I make my own with great success...I love how you planted them,very creative...

This message was edited Dec 23, 2007 1:15 AM

(Arlene) Southold, NY(Zone 7a)

How did the hydrangeas do? Are they happy?

Raleigh, NC

Just found this thread--my only comment is that I've done pretty much the exact same thing, except I did it as a raised bed mostly on top of the clay hardpan. The only problem I found, with a few of the larger hydrangeas, is that they needed more water because the leaf mixture, not being composted yet, and the peat, being adverse to absorbing water at first, dried out quickly. (Of course, we are in the drought of the century here.....). For this reason, they might need to be fertilized the first year or so, until the leaves compost, all the good bacteria get going etc. The smaller plants did just fine for me, and all are growing well. I put some leaf mulch on them this fall, FYI. I think yours will be ok, and its a great use of your gazebo. Very pretty!

San Antonio, TX

Just curious why they werent planted on the outside of the gazebo. Even with the swing broken, it could still be a nice place to sit in w/chairs or benches and enjoy the hydrangeas that way.

Northwest, OH(Zone 5b)

They've done great! They've grown a LOT. It's amazing when I see that first picture I posted. They're pretty much grown together and in the spring I may divide a couple of the larger ones.

We put them inside the gazebo because outside, they would have gotten hot southern sun most of the day and we just thought they'd look nice there. True, we could have kept it as a sitting area, but there is plenty of sitting area nearby.

El Dorado Hills, CA(Zone 8a)

I just came across this thread and I'm curious to find out if the hydrangeas made it.

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