Hide-and-Seek Beauties

IMG_2978As I’m looking out on these lovely perennials in my garden, I think the best way to describe them is “my hide and seek” beauties. Why?

In my garden, spring is the really splashy, colorful, dramatic season. Everything seems to wake up from the winter’s sleep all at once! The roses are in full bloom, and so are the iris, tulips, daffodils, and spring annuals like poppies, larkspur and sweet peas. It’s a madhouse—in a good way! Everybody is saying, “Hey look at me!”

Quietly, in the background, the lilies and hydrangeas are waiting their turn. The lilies are maybe 6″ tall at this point and look like little asparagus shoots. The hydrangeas are putting on fresh leaves and just look like nice, ho-hum evergreen anchor plants.

As you can see from the pictures, those little “asparagus shoots” have turned into 4-5′ plants with big 5″ blossoms! And the hydrangeas are covered with their signature massive blooms!

IMG_2976The nice thing about these two is they have very long blooming periods. My lilies have been blooming for a couple of months and I still have a few buds out there. I’ve had flowers on my hydrangeas for a long time. They don’t just open up and then wilt in a few days like every other flower. Their pinks, lavenders and blues gradually turn a tawny shade before they are done.

Here’s how to grow them…

I wish I had some clever advice for you! And I hate to sound like a broken record, but it’s soil, a little fertilizer, and just enough sun. Always add plenty of compost to any of your new plantings. Bone meal at planting time is always good for bulbs or any perennial. And a once-a-year dose of fertilizer in the spring is great (I like “Dr. Earth”). If you want to turn your pink hydrangeas lavender or blue, a sprinkling of aluminum sulfate in the spring will lower the soil pH and give you just that! Lilies will grow in full sun, but hydrangeas like filtered sun or just full sun in the morning.

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