It’s a BIG Year for Hydrangeas!

by John Steven Mickman, CEO/Founder
Mickman Brothers, Inc.

You may have noticed that Annabelle hydrangeas are enjoying one of the most perfect growing seasons in years. These hardy plants are the ones that our grandmothers planted in their gardens when we all were growing up in Minnesota. They flower beginning in the summer after the spring blooms of other plants have faded.

This year the huge ‘heads’ of glowing white blossoms are bigger and more glorious than ever. This variety does best in dappled shade which makes them popular with many of our garden center customers. Most blooming plants need full sun to really thrive, but not Annabelles. Whenever a customer asks me what flowering shrub to plant in a slightly shaded area of their homes, I trot over to our selection of Annabelle hydrangeas and suggest that they plant these. Being a selection of North American native hydrangeas, they are extremely hardy in Minnesota and rarely fail. Each early spring, I advise our customers that they treat them as perennials and cut them back to just a couple inches high because they only bloom on ‘new wood.’

I’ve always loved Hydrangea’s, but until the early 2000s, there were no ‘colored’ blooming hydrangeas that were hardy in Minnesota. Then Bailey Nursery, right here in the Twin Cities, introduced a family of hydrangeas they named ‘Endless Summer.’ For the first time in history those of us that live in Zone 4 could plant hydrangea’s that had colored blooms. And better yet, all hydrangeas are in bloom all summer long! Some of the newer varieties include Little Hottie, Limelight Prime, and my personal favorite, Summer Crush. Unlike Annabelle hydrangeas, these newer varieties bloom on ‘old wood’ so they just need a good trimming in the early spring to keep their form in check.

The three popular families of hydrangeas that thrive in our area include the arborescence, macrophylla, and paniculata families. This week begins our annual Hydrangea Festival and I encourage all of our customers to visit the garden center to learn firsthand about all the wonderful varieties that are available. From 3’ tall, all the way up to 8’ or so, there are hydrangeas that are perfect for your landscape garden! Believe me, these wonderful plants are true ‘showstoppers’ and glorious additions to your outdoor living space.

I invite you to set aside some time to see us at Mickman Brothers this week and weekend and transform the curb appeal of your home with a selection of magnificent hydrangeas! See you then!

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