Anyone have Pinky Winky?? How is it doing??
This was in my inbox in a gardening newsletter today. Just when I think I have everyone I wanted!!
Hydrangea paniculata 'Pinky Winky'
Wonderful for Drying
I believe the best hydrangeas for drying are a class of hydrangeas known as tree hydrangeas (H. paniculata) and its varieties. Some varieties are commonly called P.G. or Pee Gee hydrangeas. I remember from my childhood every fall we had a huge vase full of cone-shaped blooms of dried Pee Gee Hydrangeas. We cut them at the end of August when the blooms were just turning reddish and we often mixed them with other dried flowers such as ornamental grasses and cat tails. The blooms went directly from the garden into the vase without any water at all. The vase went away for Christmas and came back in January and lasted all winter long.
Through the years paniculata hydrangeas have gone in and out of popularity. The several new and improved varieties (with flower colors beyond the standard white) that have been introduced from Holland and Belgium have increased the popularity of this group of hydrangeas. Especially popular is the variety Limelight with its lime green flowers. This week we are featuring another new variety with a particularly unusual flower color, Hydrangea paniculata 'Pinky Winky'.
Unique Two-toned Flowers
The flowers of 'Pinky Winky' are truly unique two-toned pink and white. As the flower heads continue to grow through the summer, the older flowers turn dark pink and the new flowers unfurl white. At maturity the blooms have grown an incredible 16 inches long - the largest of any Pee Gee type hydrangea. The flowers start a bit earlier than most other Hydrangea paniculata varieties and they are prolifically borne; they literally cover the plant. As an added bonus, the flower heads are held upright on strong RED stems that don't droop like the older Hydrangea paniculata varieties.
Paniculata hydrangeas require thoughtful care as to placement. They look great on a hill in a distance planted in masses of 3-7 plants. They work well as tall hedges. They are also excellent planted singly as an accent, often at the corner of a building. They bloom from July all the way through autumn. They are reported to prefer moist soil; my experience has been that they do best in very well-drained conditions once established. They can be pruned into either a single stemmed 8 foot tree, a multi-stemmed 6-18 foot shrub or cut low to the ground every spring and grown as a dense 4 foot bush. Because Hydrangea paniculata blooms on the current season's growth, pruning can be accomplished in fall or spring.
Planting and Care
This hardy and reliable plant will be rewarding to even the most negligent gardener.
Plant spring to fall.
Prefers full sun to part shade. Partial shade is best in the south. More shade tolerant than generally believed.
Plant 10' apart in moist, well-drained soil.
Established plants are very drought tolerant. Water regularly until established.
Hardy in Zones 3-8. The most winter hardy of the hydrangeas.
Fertilize with Cotton Seed Meal and Kelp Meal in early spring and late fall
When necessary, prune in late fall or early spring.