Article written for www.patch.com
When I was thinking about what to write for this month, Endless Summer Hydrangea just came to me. There has been a marketing craze, with this plant, that has been going on for several years now. Perhaps the hottest new plant to hit the horticultural market in the past decade, clearly this plant has grabbed the attention of gardeners and has hit the ground, not running, but sprinting.
The title of this article, “I’m Telling You for the Last Time”, is from “a 1998 stand up comedy special starring Jerry Seinfeld. The special aired live on HBO on August 9, 1998 from the Broadhurst Theatre in New York City (Wikipedia).” In it Jerry Seinfeld vowed never to use his old material again, using new material exclusively from that point on. The idea of telling someone something for the last time is how I feel about Endless Summer Hydrangea.
Endless Summer Hydrangea is NOT the only hydrangea that is a repeat bloomer! I say again, Endless Summer Hydrangea is NOT the only hydrangea that is a repeat bloomer! In fact, there are many out there that will continue to rebloom from spring until autumn. It is important to note that just because something is a repeat bloomer does not mean that every second of every day there will be a full head of flowers on the plant. The plant will be reliable and gorgeous, however it will cycle through the flowers and continue to grow and flourish. Endless Summer ‘The Original’ is a very good hydrangea, no doubt, that will continue to bloom, however many horticultural experts feel that there are better ones. Endless Summer ‘The Original’ was the first to bloom on the current season’s growth as well as the old growth (new wood and old wood). What made that remarkable and noteworthy is that you can prune this plant, or type of repeat bloomer as we KNOW there is more than one now, at any time and be assured you will not impede the bloom cycle.
Simply to wet your appetites and not cause confusion I am going to list types of repeat bloomers and offer some brief descriptions so you know that there are many to choose from. ‘Penny Mac’ Hydrangea, for me, is one of the best! Mrs. Penny McHenry of Atlanta, Georgia, founder of the American Hydrangea Society, first introduced Penny Mac. An abundant flowering hydrangea, this one is extremely cold hardy (-20 to -10F). ‘Twist-n-Shout’ is part of the Endless Summer collection and has abundant blooms of lacy, deep-pink centers surrounded by pink and periwinkle blue. The Endless Summer collection also has ‘Blushing Bride’ in its arsenal, which is similar to ‘The Original’ (Endless Summer). ‘Blushing Bride’ has large, white flower heads that mature to a blush pink or pale blue… depending on the acidity of your soil. And let’s not forget their first Pink Annabelle reblooming Hydrangea, ‘Bella Anna’!
Forever & Ever Hydrangea are another group of repeat flowering types that “explode with color from late spring to early frost and are almost foolproof selections for even the novice gardener” (www.foreverandeverplants.com). ‘Blue Heaven’, ‘White Out’, ‘Forever & Ever’, ‘Peppermint’, ‘Red’, ‘Summer Lace’, ‘Together’, ‘Fantasia’, ‘Peace’, ‘Double Delights Peace’ and ‘Next Generation Pistachio’ are all part of this collection. All are wonderful, some more wonderful than others though. Visiting their website is an education in itself describing their traits and colors.
Those of us in the industry are amazed at the marketing power Endless Summer brings to the table. Happy to sell ‘The Original’ and certainly not dismissing its efforts, gardeners should know that there is many other repeat flowering types to choose from. So, ‘I’m Telling You for the Last Time”, there are many repeat blooming hydrangea out there and only one Endless Summer ‘The Original’.