Now that it's midsummer, it's pretty clear what is and isn't going to deliver this growing season. Are some reliable blooms missing in action? Specifically, Endless Summers, the hardy hydrangeas?
Apparently there are enough no-shows this year that Bailey Nurseries issued a press release last week. Chalk up another one to the Polar Vortex. The unusually harsh winter of 2013/14 resulted in many healthy-looking plants that have chosen not to bloom this year. They need a year of growing "in a vegetative state" to recover from the damage they suffered, according to Bailey.
You might think that Endless Summers planted near your house would have a more sheltered microclimate than those planted farther away. But actually the opposite is true, according to Bailey's release. Plants closer to houses were subjected to a more damaging freeze-thaw cycle.
That's apparently the case at my house. I have five Endless Summers, all of which have bloomed reliably since I planted them several years ago. This year, the one closest to the house is big and green but with nary a hint of a flower bud. The other four are blooming, although sporting fewer blooms than usual.
Is there anything we can do to coax flowers at this point? Probably not, according to Bailey. Resist the urge to fertilize, which just risks burning and damaging the roots. Just wait. And pray for a milder winter next year.
If you have Endless Summer plants, are you seeing fewer blooms than usual this year?