May 19, 2011

Signs of Summer

While the cool May weather may have us confused that it's still early spring, there are indeed a few distinct signs that those hot southern summers are just around the corner!  One of my favorite things is a big hydrangea bush in full bloom, bursting with bright pink, purple or blue blooms. 

In my first house, I gave my best domesticated college try to gardening by planting a hydrangea on the side of my house.  To my good fortune, it actually was very successful (shocking) and I went on to root cuttings from that bush several times to fill the entire gardening bed with bright blue blossoms.  When we moved, I was so sad to leave my hydrangea behind.  As a sweet housewarming gift in my new residence, bestie M gave me a small hydrangea bush and I was able to start all over.  After a few short years of rooting and pruning, that little bush has grown into a massive (and I mean massive) display of the south's finest hydrangea.

While pictures of the shrub itself is out of the question thanks to the garage sale looking mess of furniture, hammocks and planting pots currently decorating my backyard while the porch is completed; I was however able transport a few of the cuttings inside so that they may be enjoyed.

Rooting a hydrangea is so simple.  If you have one, you can easily expand the display next summer with this simple technique. If you don't have a plant, borrow a cutting from a friend ... you will be glad you did!

To take a cutting for rooting:
1. Using scissors or pruning sheers, cut a 6-8" stem of new growth (this year's growth)
2.  Remove lower leaves.
3.  Place in water and be sure any leaf nodules (where the leaves attach to stem) are under water.
4.  Change water weekly.  Roots should appear in a few weeks. 
5.  Plant in a planter and water frequently.  Transplant to the ground in fall.

Another option that has given me successful results as well is to use a growth hormone powder.  Follow instructions 1 and 2 above.  Then, dip the end of the cutting (where you cut with the scissors and where you removed leaves ) in the hormone powder as directed on the cannister.  You can then place directly in the soil at this point.  Rooting hormone is easily found at garden supply stores.

Then ... sit back and enjoy the signs of summer!

~charmed b