Blue Billow Peak Pic

lsimms(6a-6bMA)July 4, 2009

These plants might be 10 years old by now. A lot of the flowers are at least 8 inches wide. And the blue, wow.

Here is a link that might be useful: Blue Blue Blue Billow

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luis_pr(7b/8a Hurst, TX)

Awesome, 1simms! Enjoy them.

    Bookmark   July 5, 2009 at 11:42AM
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That is stunning. Mine is loaded this year but it looks like its going to bloom out pink instead of blue. How big is yours ?

    Bookmark   July 5, 2009 at 12:21PM
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ostrich(3a AB)

WOW! lsimms, thank you for the eye candy - this is absolutely spectacular!!! How I wish I were in zone 6, so that I could grow these beauties.... sigh!

    Bookmark   July 5, 2009 at 12:57PM
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sue36(Z5 Maine)

Wow, mine look said compared to that. I think mine are in too much shade. How much sun are yours in? (anyone who has them grow successfully like this) Thanks.

Someone mentioned growing these in zone 6, I'm borderline 5/6 and we had a 4 winter this past year and mine made it and have blooms (not like the link, but they do have blooms).

    Bookmark   July 5, 2009 at 7:19PM
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roseberri, z6(6)

how many years did you all have your blue billows before they would flower at all? I've had mine for three and in my zone they(the buds) just never make it. I'm going to try some of the tips for winterizing that I read here this fall/winter. But am I not being patient enough, do they need to be older?

    Bookmark   July 6, 2009 at 2:03PM
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Absolutely gorgeous 1simms and a beautiful back garden pics too!!! Thanks for sharing! Â;)

I have been reading lately on Blue Billow, Woodlander, Twist & Shout, Blue Wave & Blue Deckle these past weeks, as I have just opened an ideal site (away from cement foundations) vacated by an old Undulata (diagnosed with HVX).

I'm more & more impressed with H serratas in my z4a/5 piece of soil ... don't mind the winterizing required & not at all temperamental unlike the other divas I have! Except for LOD, all my serratas are in bloom & more floriferous than last season ... Big Smile/Sweet Chris have not failed in the 4 seasons & even put up with relocations, Blue Frost ... his 2nd season, is the most loaded with 3-7 sepalled pink, lavender & blue blossoms (responded to the coffee drinks & 2 doses of A.S. barely 20" tall x 3.5' wide) even Mariesii Variegata produced & more than I ever expected ... Midnight Duchess - a true royalty!!! Â;)

Ostrich - there is no reason you couldn't ... if you won't mind creating cages & looking at those igloos, all Winter - LOL! Perhaps in time pilling up with mulch will be enough. As you have experienced there too, the rough Winter '08-9 left almost all of my old canes desicated ... all the bloom-bearing-canes this season, came from the base of old canes & even many from ground, under the woodchip mulch. 1simms Blue B are 10 y/o ... roots may be thicker & hardier ... perhaps??? I have 3 Big Smiles I'll brave, testing 1 w/o burlap-wrap/cage & see.


    Bookmark   July 6, 2009 at 3:00PM
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Thanks for all the nice compliments. I must truly be blessed because these bloomed the first year, every year. Totally reliable. I lost a tree so they're getting a lot more sunlight than when originally planted. Originally, morning morning and afternoon sun, but shielded from noon sun by a house and overhanging evergreen hedge of my neighbor's...and they're in the crook of my fence. If you faced them head on, you'd be pointed due south.

I've never made any accomodation for cold weather. They're sticks in winter and I don't much prune them in spring at all...these days. I used to prune the deadwood and the spent blossoms in spring. No more, lazy...and it all just gets grown over anyway. They've been widening rather than heightening (lol, if that's a word). I have a friend who's single blue billow is about 6 feet tall...these are more like 6-7 feet wide and 4.5 feet tall.

Within two weeks the bees will slap that bright blue right off their faces, lol. The bees are so industrious they don't mind close inspection. They're part and parcel of my hedge and I love 'em.

To each it's time...peak lasts a coupla weeks and I hate to see the brilliance fade, but the fading is now a beautiful process as well. By September they'll become a beautiful faded pink. Now that there are so many blooms, it's a pinkfest.

I'm not sure but maybe the other blue serrata have a longer brilliance and better cold tolerance. They're a good pick, no matter what.

Thanks again. Lisa

    Bookmark   July 6, 2009 at 5:04PM
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ostrich(3a AB)

Lisa, do you think that you have a microclimate going on in that spot, so it's more like zone 7 than 6b that you're supposed to be in? Is ia pretty protected spot?

I am having some SERIOUS zone 6 envy.... LOL

    Bookmark   July 6, 2009 at 5:48PM
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Gosh ostrich, I grew up in Pittsburgh and this New England weather feels so familiar. Ya, maybe I do have a microclimate there with all that protection from the sun, but I really think serrata shouldn't need to be babied so much. These are my cast iron plants.

Where are you in Ohio? My sister is in Kent and I went to school in Gambier. Swore I'd come back to Ohio to live a green life, but didn't happen. I've been GreenEarth since the seventies. Not a total hippie, but an Environmental/Evolutinary Biology major.

Gotta confess, my sister is in the same spot with a lot of the ES unhappies...but she lives in a swamp with no sun. I should just dig 'em up and plant 'em here.

I wish I could say these bushes were older because that would mean I saw the light a lot earlier than I did in my life.

I'm trying to create a low to no maintenance garden. Not really possible, but it's close. At the moment, everything grows and my best friends are all my pruning shears.


    Bookmark   July 6, 2009 at 7:02PM
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ostrich(3a AB)

Hi Lisa,

I am in the Cleveland area - so I am in NE Ohio. I love having all the wonderful nurseries around me, though I still wished that we were in zone 6!!! LOL!

I am OK with my ES - they are just not as consistently floriferous year after year. Last year was a wonderful year, this year is a different story... regardless, their foliage is absolutely beautiful! :-)

I am also trying to do a low maintenance garden. If it takes too much work, or if it gets to be too much of a deer magnet, I just yank them out LOL! So far, I removed a rather fussy and non-vigorous rose that I planted last year. No, I don't want to spray and yet it was full of black spots even early in the season, so off it went! LOL

I lived in MA for a few years - I was in Boston and I absolutely loved it! One of my favorite places on earth. Is it really zone 6? It felt just as cold as Cleveland LOLOL!!!

    Bookmark   July 6, 2009 at 8:50PM
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I'm with you girl, I yank. Life is too short. And being a gardener makes it even shorter. Drumming your fingers to see if what you planted works. I've been very lucky. I haven't been very adventurous lately because I know time marches on. I inherited a high maintenance yard. Ladders to prune bushes, yuck. Husband hoo couldn't care less. Yank. Total Yank. That was hard because I'd cared for them for 25 years. After the shock, it was such a freeing opportunity. Blank palette.

I bought this house at age 23. Took me a bazillion years to get even close to right in the garden. Each year I say, I'm done.

I actually think I might be done this year. I ordered some lamium plugs, just a few. And that's it.

And, of course, the house is surrounded by hydrangeas. No frills, but consistent and persistant bloomers, so far.

Find me a rocker, baby, coz my garden is done! wow.

    Bookmark   July 6, 2009 at 9:36PM
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ostrich(3a AB)


I just LOVE your house and your yard! I am a fool for shake siding and I absolutely adore yours! It's BEAUTIFUL!

Yes, gardening time is precious in zone 5 and so if I don't like it, I YANK IT OUT! LOL! No mercy. Otherwise, I would be waiting for some unrealistic miracle year after year. Oh yeah, gardening time is sadly measured in YEARS - if you mess up, you have to live with it for another year, HOPING, YEARNING, and ANTICIPATING for a miracle the following year... and then you may be set up for yet another disappointment! Hence the BIG YANK! LOL!

You must have put in so much effort and emotion into your gorgeous house and yard! I applaud you for that. You see, I don't see myself staying in my current home for very long at all. That's why it is even more important for me to YANK out whatever I don't like or whatever I do not want, so that I can enjoy my yard for the short time that I am here. Also, I want to make it a nice yard that will increase the resale value of my home... oops, that sounds a bit too calculating! Oh well, one needs all that help that one can get to sell a house in NE Ohio these days... sigh!

Oh! So are we still talking about the Blue Billow Hydrangea? :-)

BTW, Lisa, this is a male ostrich... LOL!

    Bookmark   July 6, 2009 at 10:07PM
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Here's the newest addition to my garden....

Here is a link that might be useful: Itsy Bitsy Bunny

    Bookmark   July 6, 2009 at 11:44PM
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Ha, I did say girl, didn't I? Sorry. Wonder how many people thot I was a man before I published my name? My garden's pretty girlie which is kinda opposite of me. I'm always covered in dirt taking care of it. Heyyy, where's that rocker?

Sorry again, hopefully that teeny weeny bunny pic will help ease the pain.

    Bookmark   July 7, 2009 at 12:09AM
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ostrich(3a AB)

Thanks, Lisa!!! Awww.... that is CUTE! As long as it does not munch on your lovelies... LOL!

    Bookmark   July 7, 2009 at 9:53AM
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That looks spectacular! Mature stands of Blue Billow or any beautiful blue lacecap make my heart sing.

    Bookmark   July 7, 2009 at 11:46AM
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sue36(Z5 Maine)

Hmmm...I think I will move my two to an area with more sun, and I'll throw some astilbe in where they are now. Now to find the spot, I am running out of morning sun/afternoon shade.

For those of you with zone 6 envy, I think you can definitely zone push Blue Billow. I am on the border of 5/6, and this past year everyone says we had a zone 4 winter and my Blue Billows came through fine. I purchased them last year as garden center sale rejects and they have a few blooms on them this year. I think they need more sun. They are on the west side of my property, but are at the foot of a stand on hemlock so they only get about 2 hours sun first thing in the morning.

    Bookmark   July 7, 2009 at 2:29PM
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