Hey Hayseedman: Overwintering When? Precisely?

jackz411October 1, 2006

Hiya Hay,

Well, it is feeling like that time...soon. Up here in VT it will soon be getting colder and I expect a nightfrost within the next 2 weeks. All the ES and Nikkos did real well...even in direct sun all day. Lost a some leaves and some flowers faded too fast in July (my hot month). They are all still in flower now and I find the Nikkos to have a larger and better quality flower in this cooler weather. I dunno? When it was hotter the ES were more prolific.

Gettin' close to time to overwinter my 2, 10 year old Nikkos, and they have some nice big fat buds on their 4 1/2 foot canes.

Exactly when do I begin to protect them??? How cold? What temp and wind will toast the buds? Wait until frost and all the leaves turn black and fall off?

Not sure when to begin the overwintering with them? I am not too concerned about the ES---they will get minimal protection. Your advice always appreciated, Cheers, jack

Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
hayseedman(z5/6 Ct.)

I've noticed that, for the past couple of years, I get my hydrangea all put to bed on about November 15. Light frosts are no problem for them from now on. They're toughening up and will do just fine so long as things don't go crazy overnight really soon. So, as long as this winter is pretty typical, you'll start getting a few frosts, then a hard frost where the temperatures will drop down to 25 degrees on a few nights, then things will warm up a bit and soon you'll start to see forcasts of 25 degrees, but you feel it could be 21 degrees. And along about then I get a little antsy.

I will have been working already to get ready for this night and will have built a cage around the plants in the ground and even have stacked a few bags inside it, but not completely yet. The ones I've got to go inside my mound will have been dug up and maybe even bound up and laying on their sides, ready for the top cover.

Maybe for this night I will just cover things with a couple sheets of plastic. Leaves will still be on the plants.

But, around November 15, things start looking like 20 degrees and I button it all up for the winter.

Good luck.


And if anyone's new to this, you can go to this thread which will tell you too much.

    Bookmark   October 2, 2006 at 1:19PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Hey Hay, Timing eh? Ok. I'll await the low 20's and start getting antsy in a couple weeks. I have a feeling it will be a warmish winter up here. Who knows? Last winter was the warmest on record and the previous winter was the coldest on record, go figure?

Its sort of like the problem with mulching up here. Usually we got 2 feet of snow before the temps are right to do a heavy mulch. Cheerio, Jack

    Bookmark   October 3, 2006 at 7:58PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

This has been especially helpful to me. I'm in a coastal location and years of trial and effort and observation FINALLY convinced me that fall lingers long for me, but spring comes late.

I think we bundled our hydrangeas up sometime in December last year, but I don't really remember. I was unsure as to the timing since fall temperatures are frequently quite warm here. I didn't unwrap them until late May and by that time the leaves were emerging and were pathetically "white". But they rebounded heartily!

I'll be gathering leaves throughout November and will watch the night lows on the weather. The temperature "clue" is especially helpful for me.

Thanks Hay.! your devotion to this genus has really inspried me. I can't thank you enough for all your helpful advice and observations.

    Bookmark   October 4, 2006 at 8:12PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I have taken careful notes of your "Overwintering" method from this forum ... also Maria's (z4 Ont.) method, hopefully my 16y/o Nikko might finally give me a few more blooms in 2007 & reliably thereafter, then I can work on turning her to her original BLUE of years ago.

Our temps are still vacillating between mid20s to 50s these past 2 weeks (which are lower by 10 degs. than our normals for Oct.) My question is how I would protect my newly acquired/planted (4days ago) Purple Teirs, H serrata (Carolina Nurseries, Inc) & Pink Elf, French H (Monrovia) both claim to be z5 hardy. I was just informed from another thread that they will "need serious" protection to expect blooms next season. Do you suppose I should treat them as I would my Nikko over Winter? I also have 3 Big Smile, Lacecap H (planted last May & established) they are now just turning foliage color, as promised. I am armed with burlap wraps, encaging wire mesh, and have collected leaves with more coming down.

I second Chelone's and others' praises of your devotion and expertise and thank you for your generousity!

    Bookmark   October 23, 2006 at 1:28AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
hayseedman(z5/6 Ct.)

Hi, Ditas.

I don't recognize all these varieties, but I'm pretty sure you'd want to overwinter them the same as you would your Nikkos.

Thanks Chelone and Ditas for your thanks. I've had a lot of fun overwintering my hydrangeas and when you can find some others to share in your madness, it's always even more fun. I'm a big believer in that: if you want to learn something, then try to teach it. I've learned so much from all of you in the process.

It's been pretty warm for me so far. We had just a hint of frost a couple of times and the prediction for the next week is more of the same. I've had some of the leaves zapped on a few plants, but hardly any real signs of a hard frost yet.

Another clue about the timing is that I find that I end up covering the plants just about the same time as I happen to be finishing up the fall cleanup of leaves. I'm always needing just a couple more bags of leaves and those last couple of bags will be the last leaves I need to clean up around the house. It all comes together nicely.


    Bookmark   October 23, 2006 at 5:37AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Hi Hay - Many thanks for your suggestions and tips.

All I know about these 2 new H acquisition are what is given on their tags - cold hardiness of "Purple Tiers" Lacecap claims to be -10 to 0 deg F and "Little Elf" French H (Pia) is -20 to -10 deg F. From reading Dirr, Church and reading through some of the threads, I understand that H serrata is a bit touchy about the cold winds and should be protected accordingly. "Little Elf" (Pia) is a dwarf H but not much said about Winter protection so I'd err on the side on caution, at least for this first Winter, which is predicted to be a bit colder than last.

It rained Gingko leaves today in my back yard - the nearly 30 y/o tree shed to bare bones before she could turned to her beautiful luminescent gold (my heart broke!) a sure sign of Winter around the corner - so there I was all day cleaning up and collected bags and bags of BEAUTIFUL and very heavy, fanlike leaves ... would Gingko leaves be too heavy for Nikko's Winter coat, do you suppose?


    Bookmark   October 23, 2006 at 11:54PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
hayseedman(z5/6 Ct.)

As far as I know, there are only a handful of possibly hardy hydrangeas on the market that would work for you. Endless Summer, of course. I've had luck with Blue Billow and I've heard pretty good reports about Woodlander. I think there may be a couple of new ones from Dirr, but I just don't know much about them. I haven't had such great luck with Endless Summer yet, so for me, it's just Blue Billow that I can count on to bloom without winter protection. I think I may be pretty close to the edge of where even Blue Billow is reliable. If you go just about 50 miles south of me you get Nikkos blooming sometime, Preziosa will bloom sometimes.

What I'm suggesting is that there seem to be just a few that you can expect to have a chance at blooming for you without overwintering help. Keep raking those leaves.

Dry leaves work best. That's the whole principle behind a lot of our insulation. Dry, still air is an excellent insulator and that's what I want from my bags of leaves. But, it's not at all that critical, and the walls of my mounds are usually heavy, water soaked, year(s)-old left over bags of leaves. About as far from dry as you can imagine. These work because it really doesn't take much to do the job. I'm really trying to moderate the temperature as much as anything.

Any leaves will work. Just might need to use more of them.

I've noticed that phenomenon about Ginko leaves before, and I think I can even remember someone pointing out to me their habit of shedding all of their leaves in one glorious day. One day they're there, the next day they're completely gone.

I've seen something similar with hickory nuts. I remember being outside one day and it just seemed to be raining hickory nuts that day. I don't remember if all of the nuts on the tree dropped, but no doubt that on this day they decided to drop a lot.

Good luck.


    Bookmark   October 24, 2006 at 9:02AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Hay - Many thanks for your continued encouragement to work a bit more on overwintering for the love of blooms - by golly ... I'm certainly joining in on the fun! I've done my share of 'efforts to save' in this OASIS I call my garden.

e.g. -My Nikko has lost the summer dappled shade she enjoyed for years when the 26 y/o Locust tree had to go last year. She collapses pathetically under the 7-hr summer sun here in mid-IA. So an arbor was erected, with big bamboo sticks to extend the width; planted Sweet Autumn, Clem on both legs of the arbor and temporarily roofed with protective landscaping fabric 'til SA Clem climbs to provide the needed shade by 2007 ( to think that I was tickled with 2 or 3, be they huge blooms, 3 times in 16 years & not even blue!) That is because I was afraid to dig up and move a 16 y/o Mom's Day present from my kids (must have cost just a few bucks then) so a pagoda looking contraption that collapse after a tornado wheezed by in Jul & rebuilt back up ... so if that isn't garden lunacy ... ??? My Hubby laughed & offered to get me another, to sink in a more appropriate spot ... but I'm determined ... and with the tutorial on "Overwintering", you so generously posted, I think she'll appreciate the efforts & oblige!

I'll be looking foreward to 2007 season and see if all the newly planted ES, F& E, mopheads, 'Big Smile' Lacecaps, 'Purple Tiers' Serrata as well as the old Nikko can put on a show with my newly acquire knowledge gathered from this valuable forum.
Many thanks again Hay, and to all of you who've helped & inspired me for love of this genus!


    Bookmark   October 24, 2006 at 7:47PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Hi Hay - It's me again, sorry to be pestering you but I was searching for 'Purple Tiers'in this forum and found Ego45's post in 2005 - there I read that you just acquired H serrata, 'Miyama-yae-Murasaki' (also called 'Purple Tiers') that summer. I think Ego45 did too and you were planning on exchanging notes. I am quite curious for as you know from this thread, I was inquiring on how to protect the 'P T' that I recently put in the ground last week.

I realize that you both (Ego45) are 1 notch above my zone - how are your My-M, serrata doing after 1 year, did you dress her up with a heavy Winter coat as you did your macs? Will appreciate your response! I'm also curious about 'Woodlander', we just took down a non-productive overgrown 'Lincoln Lilac' from the back border & am thinking of Wl or Lilacina in the spot for 2007.
Thanks again!

    Bookmark   October 24, 2006 at 11:25PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
hayseedman(z5/6 Ct.)

Somewhere along in here, I was looking up Purple Tiers and was reminded that indeed I have one and knew it primarily by its other name, 'Miyama-yae-Murasaki'. I forget sometimes exactly what I've got.

I acquired this Purple Tiers as a small cutting and it's still a wee plant even now. These days, I do all my overwintering by digging up or keeping the plants in pots and then overwinter them all together in my mounds. I still will overwinter the one that got me started with this madness by putting a wire fence around it and placing bags of leaves around, but, mostly for the sentimental attachment to it. I think you have to assume that all the hydrangeas are not hardy unless proven otherwise.

It might work best for you to think about overwintering in a mound than to try to individually wrap each plant. I think it's easier and more likely to work. For your established NIkko, it might not be so easy to go that route, but not impossible. When you dig up a hydrangea each and every year, the rootball stays compact, but if it's in the ground for a long time then it's not at all compact. Next year dig up a rooted piece of your Nikko and you can keep the sentimental value and start over at the same time. And you can start putting things away in a mound.

I'm always recommending Blue Billow. It is the only one that has consistently, without fail, bloomed for me every single year without a bit of proection. I don't think a single terminal bud was lost last winter. And I think it is very interesting that a well known researcher found that in North Carolina, in his trials, Blue Billow didn't make it through the winter.

I don't mind being pestered about hydrangeas.


    Bookmark   October 25, 2006 at 9:08AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Hey Hay, Still not cold enuf up here to start overwintering. Low 30's at night and mid-40's day with some sprinkles of snow here and there. My hydras have had a few light frosts with some blackened leaves. Buds on the 2 ten year old Nikkos looking big. Those 2, I plan to wrap the canes perpendiculiar, straight-up and wrap with burlap and corral with bags of leaves.

Have 4 smaller Nikkos which I'll use the flat box method on and cover with pine needles and leaves.

The 10, ES kinda small, so I'll flat box some and the rest I'll just mulch with pine needles and wood mulch and leaves.

Playing the temps and it is a waiting game, Cheers, Jack

    Bookmark   October 25, 2006 at 11:22AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Dita, my zone (z6b is almost z7) is substantially warmer than yours, not a 1 notch, so my experience with MyM or any other macrophyllas/serratas most likely will be not applicable to you.
It was planted in September'05, no artificial protection.
We had a warm winter, as you know, and here it is at the end of June. Jury on [buds] hardiness issue is still out, but in your place I would definitely protect this beauty:

    Bookmark   October 25, 2006 at 2:34PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

What a beauty ego45 and in such a lovely setting! It just makes me more determined to take up the challenge ... hopefully she'll make it through the predicted colder Winter coming and bloom with Hay's overwintering suggestions. Thanks for sharing your pics! Mine is starting at 11.7qt size pot, I'd be crushed if I fail.

Oh Hay - I'm not sure that I'm up to digging up at this point - I've measured and cut up the garden wire mesh for each of the Hydrangeas with ???able bloom hardiness, ready to be installed and packed with leaves altho the thought of cosying them together and making a larger cage would indeed be simpler ... hmm?

I went and checked how difficult it would be to deal with old Nikko ...I think I'll be too scared to bend her limbs down to the ground even with reassurance that she'll be pliable enough - I'll be more comfy following Jackz411's lead and bundle her upright etc. Nikko is about 4ftx4ft+ 'wonder if I could split rather than just digging a small rooted piece then she'd fit nicely under the arbor... hmmm?

Many thanks again Hay and good luck on your 'wee MyM' 'would love to hear how she does come Spring.

I'm so glad you hopped on this thread Ego45 MyM is such a beauty! You and Hay are in the same area, have you met personally and seen each other's collection ... wouldn't that be FUN!!!

Cheers you 2!


    Bookmark   October 26, 2006 at 2:38AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Ego45 -In your 'Mym's photo above, do I see an Astilbe to her left? I bet they are great as neighbors - I have several Astilbes and come Spring, am wondering about moving one, that would complement! I dont recognize the lush & shiny little bush to her right, could she be a Rhodie?

'Appreciate your comments!

    Bookmark   November 3, 2006 at 9:52AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Hi Jackz411 - Have you finally fully protected your 2 Nikkos? Yesterday, I tried bending my old Nikko's limbs down to see if I could use the cardboard method of overwintering ... nope, 'didn't have the strength of heart to force her down ... so I decided to follow your lead and tied her up with 2 pairs of nylon hose as snug as I could manage, wrapped with 2 layers of burlap, dropped pine needle mulch inside the cocoon just to her waist and installed her cage. We are going through a few days of Indian Summer ... I'll finish up the more serious protection in a week or two.

If you have done yours, how snug were you able to wrap them? I remember from Hay's overwintering photos that he binds them snugly.

Appreciate your response!

    Bookmark   November 4, 2006 at 8:47PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Hi ditas, It is Nov 11 and my weather has been erratically warm and I have not yet done a thing. My first short hard frost came very late this year, like late October. Very unusual. My day temps have recently been mid 40's and mid-50's and nights at 30's and 40's. Todays mid 50's is the high...so I am waiting. I feel I would like them to experience some colder temps before protecting them. Get 'em a little tough. Long range forecast is only a bit colder, not much. But, soon winter will be upon me. Gonna bag some leaves today, Cheers, jk

    Bookmark   November 11, 2006 at 10:38AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Jack - Many thanks for your response. After I've done my partial (early) overwintering efforts, our Indian summer (& quite dry) lasted a bit longer than expected we even hit 70 deg one day - I got a bit concerned and called our local nursery - I was told not to unwrap but to make sure I watered just at the bases. I took the initial steps sooner, as I had a few to corral and mini roses to mound up. Yesterday (10th) we got right in the path of the cold front, our temps zoomed down to lower 20s and got about an inch+ of SNOW- by tomorrow we're jumping back up to 40s and melt all the white stuff only to drop back down and more snow expected - a roller coaster ride that confuses the poor bloom-tender ones. It's just as well I got Nikko bounded, Purple Teirs & Little Elf caged ... its messy out there ... all I have to do in a short while is drop the bags of leaves in the cage with them. I'm just wondering if I need to tighten Nikko's burlap bind a bit more?

    Bookmark   November 11, 2006 at 8:42PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Ditas, i overlook your question from 11/3.
On a left of hydrangea is late blooming cimicifuga atropurpurea, not an astilbe. Although astilbes work very well with hydrangeas you have to chose them properly cause they vary very wide in height, time and color of bloom and could be somewhat distractive, not complimentary to some hydrangeas.
For example, I don't see this combo of astilbe 'Granat' and hydrangea 'Tokyo Delight' to be particularly attractive.
Both Granat and TD are of the same height-4' tall, peak of the bloom falls on the same time and pink boldness of astilbe kills subtle white/blue beauty of hydrangea.

    Bookmark   November 12, 2006 at 12:16AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
hayseedman(z5/6 Ct.)

We almost hit record high temperatures in this region yesterday.

I've had a couple of days when it got down to about 25 degrees and the forecast for the next 10 days is more of the same. For the past couple of years I've buttoned things up by about the 15th of November, but I can see already that I'm not going to need to do anything until, at least, one week later this year. Global warming on the local level, I guess.

But, I've got myself involved in some other gardening projects and so I put all of mine to bed for the winter just a couple of days ago. Much earlier than I need, but I didn't want to be running around at the last minute. I don't recommend that you do yours now, but I needed to for other reasons.

I think that, because we have had such a mild fall, the hydrangeas might be much more susceptible to a cold snap than they would have been if they had been given a good chance to acclimate to the cold. I can imagine that we could get really mild weather like we have had and then, all of a sudden, in one night have temps plunge to 15 degrees.

Here's a couple of pics for you.

I had too many for my regular mound this year and at the last minute. It's a bit different and led me to some other possible ways to overwinter. The top picture is just before I lowered down the piece of old fence panel I had lying around. In the second picture I've added some old lattice on top of that, laid down a couple of boards, and put some scraps of plastic over the top. Not enough to completely seal off the air. You can't see, but on the right side,underneath what you see in the second picture, I had some big thick plastic that I had from something that was used to wrap some large item shipped to me. Rather than take it to the dump this fall, I've wadded it up and scrunched it up against the right side to help insulate the little mound. I think the layers of wood on top, and especially the air that the lattice and wood and plastic will trap will help to insulate the plants. On the right side I've put three old planters which are about half full of potting soil. Just happened to be there and I figured they could help insulate. I've still got some leaves to gather up, and without even putting them in a plastic bag, I'll probably throw them over the whole mound. Should be just fine.

Something like that. But it all illustrates that if you're a pack rat and never throw things away , it's easy enough to throw something together really quickly. And it illustrates that the bags of leaves is not the crucial element in this process.

As I was doing it, I thought that many of us have an old piece of 4'X8' plywood laying around. It wouldn't be so difficult to lay some hydrangeas down and then place the plywood over the top. Blow all your leaves up and around this if you've got leaves, but otherwise just keep piling anything on top and around the sides and you should get them through the winter. In a typical greenhouse, there are two layers of clear plastic, trapping a small air space between them to help keep the house warm. Without cutting off all the air circulation you could just put down some lattice, more plastic, more lattice,...

(I used to be a big-time winter backpacker in this part of the country. I've slept outside when it was 26 degrees below zero. If you want to learn to overwinter hydrangeas, it's a good way to learn.)


    Bookmark   November 12, 2006 at 12:14PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
hayseedman(z5/6 Ct.)

Camping in the cold of winter, the simplest tent provides an enormous amount of protection from the cold. In the old days people would cut lots and lots of pine limbs and lay them down on the ground, creating a platform of maybe a foot or two in depth. Then they'd put a tent on top of this. Insulation from the cold ground, just by trapping air in the pine and a tent to keep the heat that you create from being blown away.

Here's my last overwintering task: My 20 year old hydrangea that got me started on the overwintering. My first attempts were pretty pathetic. I didn't use any wire and tried to just hold the bags in place with a wrapping of rope around the piled up bags. Nothing like failure to teach you a good lesson.

And I failed with it last year. I still don't know why. Last summer I had tried to prune it back late in August, I think, and for whatever reason, I didn't see any blooms this year. My pruning? My poor job of overwintering? I don't know, but it gave me a chance to really try pruning it again. So around the fourth of July I pruned this one to about four feet tall. My idea was to get very stout and short canes to hold up my flowers next year. We'll see.


    Bookmark   November 13, 2006 at 8:10AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Hi Hay - Many, many thanks for the recent photo of your 20y/o H (is she a Nikko/) bundled, corralled and partially bagged 'round!!! My 16y/o Nikko does not have as many canes - I should be able to tighten her noose a bit more and rewrap her burlap jacket (she has a good # of fat buds that I want to try and save for 2007 blooms). How far up, her canes, are you planning to surround her with you famous bags of leaves? Until taking notes on your 'Overwintering ....' thread, all I did was corral Nikko and dumped locust leaves inside the cage - as I mentioned before I got tickled when she decided to bloom (3 or 4 x all those yrs), little did I know she is capable of better shows. I owe Tardiva the renewed interest that led me to take up the Nikko challenge (with inspiration from you) & the small collection I have started.

The local nursery I deal with, suggested pine needles dropped inside the cocoon I created, if I can't bunddle her with the nylon hose tight enough. I'm still figuring out what to do about the top - perhaps close up the burlap and pile with leaves over?

Again, recent photos of your solutions to overwintering challenges are worth a million words!!! Thanx again!

    Bookmark   November 13, 2006 at 12:51PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Hi Ego45 - Many thanks for the tips on trying to compliment my H MyM (Purple Teirs) with Astilbe. Not having seen the actual blooms on my Oct. planted MyM (early frost burned them) I wonder which of myAstilbes would be good (Rheinland(coral), Peach Blossom, Bella(pink cinnamon), Bridal Veil or Fanal(red) as a neighbor. MyM will be purple, surely, and your photos in this thread beautifully displays, perhaps Bridal Veil might be best or a yellow if I had one.

About your TD and Granat A, I see what you mean - all points & I guess the raspberryness of the Astilbe does pale TD but I won't mind if I could have such healthy beauties in my patch!!!

Thanks again and sorry for side-tracking this overwintering thread.

    Bookmark   November 13, 2006 at 1:39PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Color wise Bridal Veil should work, but might be too tall for MyM in a first couple of years while she'll be gaining height.
I like Fanal with pink mopheads, Preziosa in particular, but hate it with anything blue or purple or with any lacecaps.
The most effective use of Fanal with hydrangeas I've ever seen was an Annabelle+Fanal combo.
I have several a. Montgomery (dark red) to move next year and will try them next to my Annabelles. Will see how it works.
Midoriboshi Temari

Fanal with Midoriboshi Temari. Not too close, but still distracting, IMO.

    Bookmark   November 13, 2006 at 6:04PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Thanks so much again, Ego45 - it is such a treat to stroll around your garden through your posted pics - so neat, orderly & calm ... condusive to meditation! Mine tends to be a bit crowded as the babes matured - my butterfly patch in particular!

I agree - a. Fanal is quite distracting in the above scene. Midoriboshi T looks so lovely with your creamy edged hosta beside. I should rethink since MyM is planted amongst Hostas right now - may just have to thin the strip and relocate low growing 'Patriot' or 'Masquerade' Hosta beside MyM.

MyM came in an 11.7qt pot almost 2 ft tall and as wide when I brought her home from NC. I bounded her after she dropped her foliage before putting her to bed, encaged, for Winter. Our temps are still vacillating quite a bit, 'will protect her completely in another week or so.

Many thanks again!

    Bookmark   November 14, 2006 at 12:10AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Ditas, I am using strips cut from old bedsheets, since I don't own any nylon hose. Also, the hose may stretch and need re-tightening. Pine needles are great and they will naturally add acid to your hydrangea soil.

Hey Hay, Great looking corral. Lottsa canes. Roundem up! Ever try bubblewrap? Ciao,JK

    Bookmark   November 14, 2006 at 5:49PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
hayseedman(z5/6 Ct.)

Those are very pretty pictures, Ego45. As always.

Ditmas, I plan on putting bags of leaves all the way to the top and then especially over the top of all those wonderful terminal buds that you see all bundled up in the last bottom picture. I'll probably get a big enough plastic bucket to set over the tips, high off the tips, so that the buds are protected and then make sure that every bit of this is enclosed in bags of leaves. I'll end up lashing it all down by criscrossing rope over it and through the fence. Keep in mind that there will be some settling.

I'm not so sure I'd be putting leaves in the interior of your bundle. Maybe I'm wrong, but my thinking is that you want the buds up at the top to be kept as warm as you can. Which means that you want to let them always have access to the heat of the earth at their own base. Not put insulation between the buds and your heat source. But this is a very small thing in the grand scheme.

I don't wrap with burlap, but, if you do, then you could probably just fold it over in a way that protects the buds and then lay bags of leaves up against this in some way. Maybe put a plastic pot over the tips, (again with enough space so that the pot won't settle down and break the buds somehow. ) You might use a piece of rope to lash it all together.

Good luck.


    Bookmark   November 14, 2006 at 6:18PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Hi Jackz411 - Gosh you're right, the nylon hose didn't hold their tautness and I had to uncage, unwrap and tightened the hose binding - added a few bedsheet strip bindings to stabilize - redid the rest and will go ahead and finish up the rest. We are still getting upper 40s and near 50s but the wind-chill factor justifies the serious protection now. Many thanks for the tip on the hose, stretching!

Hay, thanks for continued coaching on protecting Nikko I dropped some of the pine needles to her feet as I was tightening up her binding. I still don't have the strength of heart to squeeze her limbs as tight as you have done your 20y/o H. I just wrapped her burlap a bit tighter and lashed around. My cage is shorter than some of her taller canes, I'll have to figure out some thing as you suggested. I'm wondering about the new 'rose collar', now available - otherwise I might just sacrifice the top buds ... they may not survive anyway as our roller coaster temps these past weeks & the sun she gets are confusing the poor girl - some buds look like they want to burst open. It's just as well I tuck her in & let her go to bed!

    Bookmark   November 16, 2006 at 3:51PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Ok. Looks like early this week the temps will finally go down and I'll finally get to work on the hydrangeas. 18 is the forecast for Monday night ...so Monday is the day for the Nikko's and ES. My 2 large Nikko's are my prime focus. Planted them back in meybe '95 or '96 and they were 3-4 years old then...so they are big and burly and never seen a bloom. Meybe this '07 will be the first time. I'll tie them up perpendiculiar, burlap 'em with a faint touch of bubblewrap, fence 'em in and add scads of leaves...mostly maple leaves. And fret and fuss and wonder as winter descends upon them. Bought a digi-camera months and months ago and maybe I will open the box and put the darn thing to work and post a few pic's...like my buddy Hay does.

I have 4 smaller Nikko's which will get the box and leaf treatment. It will pain me to splay them with the box--but they will live...I think?

I'll use the box & leaf method on a few ES and the rest will be au' natural and I'll compare the results next summer.

Ditas: Roses? I am purposefully tough of hybrid teas. Always lose a couple, but the ones that survive are strong and robust. They get a good prune and 6 inches of wood mulch and if they make it...these are very tough hombres, Viascondios, Jk

    Bookmark   November 18, 2006 at 6:47PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Hi Jk - 'have been wondering when you'll finally hop back in to report on your 'Save Nikkos' Buds' efforts! Do get that dig-cam out and post for us, who are as determined and can learn from ideas that work!

I know that ES and Forever&E should not need serious protection ... perhaps it wont hurt to mulch huh? I'm curious about the 'box, brick & leaf' method, do post a pic would you?

Oh no, I've given up on those very needy hybrid teas ... I've lost a great deal of the sun when the trees grew shaggier over the years - lost them 1 by 1. I did give in to miniroses & carpets for the little Angels' remembered in my piece of soil - a bit easier to mound up & mulch & a bit more resistant to disease. The China Doll & Carefree rambler have not needed any attention except for the prunning in Spring ... nope I'm getting too old & tired babying those needy beauties!

Thanks for the update on your overwintering adventure - let us know how bubblewrap works, OK?

    Bookmark   November 20, 2006 at 1:31PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Cold day yesterday, high of 26 and the 2 old big Nikko's got their winter coats put on.

Hey Hay, I just bet there is a trick or method to use on tying up the big ones. Let me know since I probably did it the hard way. I have less canes than Hay's 20 year older, maybe half the amount. Anyway I had a helper and we got to work on them. The canes were a bit uncooperative and maybe in warmer weather they would be more supple?

I just keep tightening the noose and my helper keeps pushing the canes inward. I tie them up as tight as I can using old srips of bedsheet so as to not injure the buds or canes. I still have a 3-4 inch air cavity because my canes are not as tight as Hay's. I'll probably tighten them up in a few days. For now the cavity is stuffed with dry leaves.

Next we wrapped the perpendiculiar hydrangea with a few layers of burlap and gave the top a burlap cap.

Got some 4 foot plastic fence at HD and 5 ft stakes and built a corral, round about 3 1/2 ft in diameter around the plant. Stuffed the bottom with 6" of dry leaves and then placed bags of leaves all the way around until I ran out of bags. Right now the 2 big Nikko's each have about 7 bags wrapped around them. I'll rake and bag some more this week and fill in and top it. Looks pretty snug for now. Probably will use 5 more bags each and I'll add a few more layers of burlap later and tighten it up. Maybe some bubblewrap too.

Ditas, The flat box method is easy especially for younger and smaller plants. Just take a flattened cardboard box and push down gently but firmly on the small canes so that they splay outwards and are touching the ground. Then top that with a bag or 2 of leaves and use bricks or rocks to keep it flush to the ground. Very easy.

Thats it for now, gotta go, JK

    Bookmark   November 21, 2006 at 10:10AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Ok, a little more time. Overall, it was a 2 hour job with 2 people to wrap and corral two 13 year old Nikko's and rake and bag 12 leaf bags and flat box 3 smaller ones. It was also my first time so I am sure once one has the method down it moves faster.

I was going to get metal fence 4' X 50' for $40, but I only needed 20' and could only find 50' rolls in my area. The extra 30' is just more junk for me to store in the shed. At HD I found this green plastic net fence 4' x 24' with 1 1/2" square grid which worked fine, even better than the metal because of the nice small holes and was just $11. I got some 5' wooden stakes for the frame and it was an easy go.

Of course today is warmer and all the coming week the temps are to be in the mid-40's. Usually my real cold weather comes in very late December through early March. 20 and 30 below nights are very possible and I have seen a few which have hit minus 45 with wind chill factored in. So it is those nights I am keeping in mind as I will continue to make adjustments.

At HD you can find paint bucket inserts, different sizes for under a $1 and they should make a nice cold winter cap for the top. I'll tape some bubble wrap and burlap or something (fleece) on the inside. I plan on adding layers as it gets colder and in the spring to slowly remove layers as it warms. Finally in mid-May I expect I will reove the final layer of burlap.

Of course this is all experimental for me and I won't know anything until very late spring. How much cold and wind can the canes and buds handle? I don't know. How cold will it get? Don't know. Is my protection plan too much or too little for where they are located. I think I'll keep a small thermometer inside the burlap and I'll roughly know the temps the canes & buds are receiving. Like right now, 35 and very sunny and those black bags are really warming up.

Hay thanks for all your info and maybe I'll have live buds and canes in May..........Cheerio, Jack

    Bookmark   November 21, 2006 at 12:12PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
hayseedman(z5/6 Ct.)

Hi, everyone.
I dropped my camera into my latest project... I'm helping someone build a pond.

I've been throwing leaves on top of the latest little overflow mound that I had shown you. Now it looks like a big pile of leaves for the winter. Wish I could show you a picture.

Don't go so far with bubble wrap and burlap that you suffocate the plant. In the very coldest part of the winter, you could cover the whole structure with a sheet of plastic. Or maybe just the top part.

Don't forget that it's those terminal buds are the ones you want to get through the winter.

The fence I use is from a piece that is very stout and has four or five inch gaps. It's about five feet tall I think. The large gaps allow me to put my hand though and pull the plastic leaf bags down into place.

I don't use stakes at all. I can see that the fence you bought would be very un-stout, but I still think that the outward pressure of the bags of leaves would hold the fence upright. Just snug up your fence like a corset.

Especially with burlap protecting the tops of yours, you could maybe just lay some bags up against them, extending above the buds and then lash it all together.

In the spring I wouldn't attempt to slowly open up the hydrangeas so much like you're saying. Try to keep them dormant as long as you can and they're easier to deal with. Don't be impatient in the Spring.

It doesn't really matter so much how tightly you bind up the canes. It's economical up to a point, but it's just so you have a smaller area to insulate.

To tie up my canes, on very small ones I would use a 30 gallon plastic garbage bag, tying two diagonal cornmers together. The plastic is easy, available, and it doesn't cut into the canes like twine might. I use the same bags to "ball and burlap (plastic)" the ones I dig up so I have it around this time of year. (And the same bags again for gathering the dry leaves I use for insulation.)

For my large Nikko, I think you can see the clothes line thick rope that I use. I tie it to a stout cane close to the ground and start walking around, pulling it tight and winding it in a spiral up the shrub, always pulling tightly as I go. You can get a lot of leverage on the shurb this way and so as you go up it will get more and more compact. You can go back and tighten the first turns again if you want. Then tie it off to another stout cane at the top.

Don't be so afraid of pulling it in tight.

I have some temporary bags thrown over the top of my big Nikko. I happened to have an old bale of hay that's been sitting in a dry place for a year, so I'm going to undo the bale, fluff it up a bit and put some hay into plastic bags. Should work.

Good luck everyone. Gotta run.


    Bookmark   November 22, 2006 at 5:27AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Aaaahhhh, your method for tying the big canes shows much wisdom. I will try it that way next year. Yes I did it the harder way and I was not afraid to tighten...its just that those stiff canes kept fighting me. More leverage with you "walk-around-method.

Ok. I'll forget the bubblewrap. I added a few more bags to each corral and over the next few days I'll bag some more and make it really snug for winter. I have no shortage of leaves

The plastic fence and stakes seems to be quite sturdy, although they are in a high wind area I expect it will handle the winter Ok.

Hay, Thanks for your guidance, Happy Thanksgiving to you and to all, Jack

    Bookmark   November 22, 2006 at 5:46PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Warmest weather I've ever seen for very late November, finally this AM the temps are colder, down to about 35 day and 18 tonight with all cold weather to follow. Last couple days were nearly 60 and thats when I finished-up. Bagged up more bags of leaves and added them to the corrals and gave the top an extra 2 bags and lashed everything down tight and snug. Probably have 12-15 bags per corral.
Had 40mph winds today and all looks solid to handle the winter. It will be interesting for me to see how these old Nikko's do late in the spring.

Hay I'm wondering: All these bagged leaves I think I can use them again next year? Or should I use new leaves next year?


    Bookmark   December 2, 2006 at 9:28AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
hayseedman(z5/6 Ct.)

In my mounds, I continue using the bags for several years. If you don't cover up the bags over the winter and summer, then very quickly the sun will cause the plastic to disintegrate and you won't have anything left after one year. So, I keep them covered all summer under a sheet of black plastic. Even then, they disintegrate pretty quickly. The oldest ones will become leaf mold in just a couple of years. I'll still put those at the bottom of the walls.

You can really only expect to get a couple year's worth out of these bags before they're nothing more than a a bag of wet leaf mold. On a small scale, I'd use the old ones for mulching your garden next year and start over each year.

Good luck.


    Bookmark   December 4, 2006 at 5:21AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
hayseedman(z5/6 Ct.)

I'd suggest that this winter you keep your eye open for a few stretches of country lanes lined with White Pines.

In the fall they will drop thier needles and the passing cars will gently blow them over to the side of the road. There will come a moment when other leaves haven't gotten in them yet, when they're dry, and there is a band of them alongside the road that is six inches or more deep.

They insulate the hydrangeas for the winter and they make the absolutely best mulch for a garden next Spring.


    Bookmark   December 4, 2006 at 8:39AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Yup. I was originally going to use them. The long 3-4 inch needles? Friends in MA have about 70 pine trees in a grove with most over 100 ft......lottsa pine needles. But I never made it down there this fall. Next year.

Bags: I have a 12 X 20 Cover-All tent which I keep 6 cords of firewood and some yard tools. I'll store the leaf-filled bags in there after I remove them. Cheerio, JK

    Bookmark   December 6, 2006 at 9:51AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Hey Hay, It's early May and I have so far resisted the temptation to unwrap the bundled nikko's. The past week has been high in the low 50's and 30 at night, so it is warming up and next weeks should be warmer. When is the best temp time to start unbundling the nikko's??? Thanks JK

    Bookmark   May 5, 2007 at 3:01PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
hayseedman(z5/6 Ct.)


The best time to uncover them is the day after the last frost of the season. Lot of help, huh?

At this time of year, just for a very short while, I'd like to discourage the hydrangea from growing.If I could keep it completely dormant until I was sure there wouldn't be any more frosts, then that would be ideal. So, I try to resist the temptation to uncover the plants.

They're already sending out new growth under all that wrapping and so you'll have to bring them out somewhat slowly in any case.

For me, there's probably at least a 50 percent chnance that I won't have another frost, but the traditional safe day around here is Memorial Day. Within just the past couple of years we've had a mild frost the day before Memorial Day, but we've also had no frost one year from the last week of April.

Until a friend was anxious to check out her hydrangeas, I hadn't even bothered to check them out this year. But this weekend we took a peek and they're doing just fine under there, sending out new growth as I would have expected. I expect that I'll start my process in about a week. I'll check the long term forecast and hopefully it'll be nice and wet and cold, but not near freezing. I wouldn't want hot and dry.

Even with that, there will be at least a couple nights when a freeze is threatened. So, even though we may not get another freeze, I've got to act as if we will for several nights after I get started. Which means that right up til the end, I've got to be ready to protect the plants. I keep bags of leaves still handy for that.

Soon, very soon.

Good luck to all of us.


    Bookmark   May 7, 2007 at 11:17PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Thanks Hay, Yes, our zones are similiar with Memorial Day. I checked the forecast and it will be cooling down in a few days too...so I wil wait, although I am sorely tempted. I expect they will be very tender when fully uncovered so I might do it in stages by removine some bags at a time as opposed to all at once, Thanks, Jack

    Bookmark   May 8, 2007 at 7:30AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
hayseedman(z5/6 Ct.)

Hi, again.

It looks to me like next Sunday night or Monday could be good days for both of us to start. The forecast now is for rainy, overcast days starting then with temperatures in the 40-60 range. I think that is just about ideal.

Be careful. This is all a very critical time. I've got big strips of burlap and a big sheet of tight nylon netting that is for gathering leaves that I can use to keep my plants shaded as they get used to the sunlight. When I first started, I lost a lot of nice buds by not bringing the new white growth into the sun slowly. And you are aware of the dangers of frost.

For the ones in my corral, I'll just take off the top bags and cover them with burlap or my sheet of nylon for a few days. Then maybe just cover them when it's the sunniest part of the day....Let them lay there for a few days. Then stand them up....Be prepared to lay them all back down if the weather looks like it could freeze....

For the ones in the ground with wire and bags of leaves, I usually take off the topmost bags from the north side, exposing the plants to the north but still shaded somehow. Keep a piece of burlap handy to protect them from the direct sun for a while. Be ready to put the bags back if it freezes.

With the ones you've got pressed to the ground, I don't see an easy way to protect them once you've taken everything off. It's not my favorite way to overwinter. Maybe you could, as an experiment, not take the covering off until we're farther along. Or else take the covering off now and realize that you might be out there on a frosty night or two putting blankets and sheets of plastic over the upright plants.

One other thing. Try to resist poking around with the plants. I find that the new sprouts of growth break really easily right now. They need to toughen up a bit.

Good luck.


    Bookmark   May 9, 2007 at 6:39AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I finally felt safe to uncover my Nikkos yesterday afternoon. I keep reading about global warming but I see no evidence of it up here in VT...yet. In April I got 4 feet of snow with the last snowfall around the 15th with 16". And May has been cool with only a couple days in the 70's and the rest below that. My last frost warning was a few days ago and I finally feel safe from frost, although a few recent nights have gone done to 33 the forecast is for milder weather coming. I waited until about 3:30 in the afternoon so they did not get an all day dose of sun. Here are my initial results:

For my two Nikkos which are about 12 years old I used the corral method with a diameter of about 38 inches and 4 feet high. I tied them up for compactness and each got 2 wraps of burlap and then about 15 black 30 gallon bags filled with leaves and air. I did that in mid-November and they have been protected over the last 6 months that way. BTW, it is a windy location and I do get winter lows of 30 below in a usual winter. I had read up on overwintering methods and until yesterday I did not know how the canes would survive.

After gently removing the corral and bags and burlap I found the canes to be in pretty good initial shape. There are about 100 canes about 38 inches in lenght and about half had new leafy growth up and down the old wood. The growth is all a white/yellow/very pale green in color and very, very tender. The canes have a definite black color to them which I think is from some of the old dead leaves which turned to black. Most of the brown buds are soft and fleshy and tender to the touch. But tender, I touched one very gently and it fell off. Up and down the canes there are more buds just opening up with the yellow/pale green color. I gave them both a gentle shower and I won't touch them for days as they adjust to the weather.

Previously these 2 have always died back to the ground and the buds were freeze dried. So this is something new for me. I'll try and post some pic's when I have time. To be cont'd........JK

    Bookmark   May 24, 2007 at 8:34AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

In this experiment I also used the flat box method on 2 young Nikkos and 1 young ES. They were 2 year olds when I planted them late last May. The canes were much smaller and lenght was probably about 16 inches. About 3 weeks ago after the snow in the garden melted I very soon noticed that the tips of the plants were growing out from under the box and bag of leaves. At first 2 inches and then 5 inches and looking green and healthy. So I had a feeling that the flat box method was working just fine for me.

After removing the bag of leaves and boxes I saw the same yellow/white/pale green foliage and buds. These were all curvy and had a helter-skelter look to them, but the old small canes and buds seemed to be fine...just very, very tender. I expected them to be growing waywardly and initially I thought I would stake them to be more upright, but they are too tender for that right now. I'll let them get used to the sun and the weather first. Or maybe they will just straighten out by themselves?

I'll watch how they do. I initially think this is a very good method and moreso because it is so fast and easy to do...maybe 5 minutes per plant, whereas the corraled big Nikkos took me about 2 hours each per plant.

I think they braved the winter so well because they were down in the ground and well insulated by the flat box and bag of leaves and the snow on top of that. I'll keeep checking them but I won't touch them for a week.

I also have 8 ES which I planted last May (2 year olds then) and they received just a few inches of mulch at the base. I was surprised to see that a few of them had leafed out from the old canes. So far only the bottom 6 inches have new growth on the old canes. Of course they also have new growth at the base too.

I won't know for sure how they did for a month or so.

To be cont'd....JK

    Bookmark   May 24, 2007 at 9:14AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
hayseedman(z5/6 Ct.)

I've had mine open for a couple of weeks now. It's been pretty ideal conditions for me.

Be careful not to have direct sun on them for a while. Mine spent most of the first week under the shade of a tight mesh sheet of nylon material and some old lattice pieces I have around. And the mounds are in an area that is in pretty deep shade much of the day.

And I've been making a point of spritzing the tender new growth with water a couple times a day so that the shoots wouldn't be drying out.

It's working.

I got the last of them stood up yesterday and they're more green than white now.

I had a big disappointment with my oldest one in the ground that I do the bags of leaves in a wire corral method. The buds were all dead and there wasn't any new growth at all from them, so they must have gotten killed over the winter. My best guess right now is that I was so busy last fall with a big project that I had put the bags over them way sooner than I wanted. And I remember that last fall was pretty hot. I suspect that I just baked them to death last fall. This is the second year in a row that I've failed to get this one through the winter. I really don't know precisely why.

But my mounds, as they have for umpteen years now, didn't fail me at all. I think that's turning out to be the best method for me.

Good luck,


    Bookmark   May 25, 2007 at 7:21AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Hey Hay, These have had direct full sun for 2 days now and I did not use any screening. The white/yellow/pale green growth is slowly greening up. I've decided I am not going to go near them for a week as I might be tempted to do something I shouldn't to them...like touch them.

Yeah, I have also been giving them a gentle early AM shower and they appear to be coming along well. With the older Nikkos I guess I will lose some canes, but not too many and since the 2 older Nikkos each have over 100 canes I am not too concerned. Later, JK

    Bookmark   May 25, 2007 at 11:57AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Lets see, its been about 4.5 days since I removed the corrals and bags and burlap from my 2 older Nikkos. #1 Nikko has green growth on about 60% of the old canes with the eastern oriented canes being slow to green. The north and west sides green faster with the south just behind and the eastern side nearly naked. I dunno? About the same with Nikko #2 but only 40% of the old canes are sprouting new green growth. I'm just giving it time and my guess is that soon the naked canes will catch up to the rest of the plant.

When I removed the first bags the other day I should note that it was like opening-up the oven door. HOT! Air temp was only about 75 but when those bags came off alot of hot air hits you. I must guess that the black bags can really heat up a plant, must have been over 100 degrees under those bags. And dry, very dry too. I wonder if it got too hot this late Nov. Dec and May???

Some critter, I think a vole made his winter home there too. Did not seem to damage the hydrangea. He is big and fast and bigger than any mole I've ever seen. About 8 inches long and 3 inches in diameter and gray and very fast with good eyesight. Hope he goes away or I'll have to catch 'em.

The much younger Nikkos which got the flat box keep greening and getting back their normal color. They are growing sideways and waywardly but next week I'll gently train them upright. Still a bit too delicate for me to try.

My 8 ES which got zero winter protection are growing and looking very robust and healthy. I also flat boxed an ES just to see how it performs and compare to the others. Otherwise it is just a waiting game to see how they all do, Cheers, JK

    Bookmark   May 28, 2007 at 8:06AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
hayseedman(z5/6 Ct.)

When I've wrapped ones in the ground, I will have seen new growth when I open them up. If you're not seeing some growth on the tips of the canes then they might not have made it. I just told you about having not made it for two years now with my oldest one. I really miss seeing it bloom.

I think it's very interesting that you haven't been slowly bringing this new growth into the sun and that it seems to be working. I've always been very cautious about that, and I've never been bold enough to really give it a test.

I'm also curious about your high temperatures when you uncovered them. I've never really had that happen and I wonder what our differences are. Mine are in somewhat shaded spots. One thing I do is try to get thick-enough bags of dry leaves. Not meaning to pack the leaves in, but to have a big volume of dry leaves between the plant and the outside. I think this is what helps the most to keep the inside environment neither too hot nor cold.

I'm always seeing lots of signs of little critters overwintering inside my overwintered hydrangeas. Makes sense, right? One of the very interesting things to me is that the critters don't seem to harm the plants at all. Not one bit. You'd think they'd just love to have a juicy plant bud or some nice tender bark to eat on, but they don't touch it. I always figured it must taste just awful, the buds and the bark, and I think the plant itself has some poisonous elements. But, for whatever reason, they are never eaten.

Up above I had mentioned last year that I did a little mound of plants with a little bit of difference. I don't really like the black plastic bag look that I get when I cover my mounds. In this mound I didn't use bags of leaves, just used leaves themselves.

Here is . This is in the fall. (I won't repeat myself, but I give you the details of the procedure above on Sun, Nov 12, 06 at 12:14 if you're interested.)

I'm just experimenting and trying something new, but I think this illustrates how you can do this and have it just appear to be a pile of leaves left out over the winter as opposed to a pile of black plastic bags. A little nicer.

I ended up covering this with dry leaves last fall to about the height of the white planter. That plant did just fine.

And here is . (Still not being bold, I kept them covered with the lattice til they got a little greener)


    Bookmark   May 29, 2007 at 12:43AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I will chime in here regarding my experience in central CT.

Two years, I experimented with the leaf deal completely coverieng all of my hydrengeas (approx. 20). Had great success, but come the spring, I felt it was too much work removing all the leaves.

This past year, I experimented with burlap. I secured all the canes with burlap, sometimes 2 and 3 layers. Once again, sweet success. Its a bit less work. But all in all, no matter what avenue you take, its time consuming.

But, all worth it in the end.

    Bookmark   May 29, 2007 at 1:37PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Hay, I do have new growth on many of the canes running from the bottom up to the tip. However the eastern sides of the 2 old Nikkos are slow to green. Every couple days I notice a few more buds will sprout from the old canes. On some canes the first green buds will pop on the middle of the cane, sometimes lower and sometimes near the tip. The very top 2-3 inches of the canes appear to be dead, but I'll give it a little time to be sure.

The eastern canes just seem to be slower to pop green as the rest of the plant. I dunno? Maybe they fried, maybe got colder or maybe??? Maybe dead? The western and northern side were well leafed when I removed the burlap and bags and are doing just fine...eastern side greens slower. Like in a different growth zone. I'll post some photos tomorrow night.

Shading them? I was tempted to since it was 75 and very sunny and they looked so tender. And the next day was 85 and sunny. But, I relented and felt they would make it and indeed they are. Also my sun up here is not as hot or direct as yours. I don't want to baby them too much. You might not really need to shade yours either. Next time, try it on one and see what happens.

My HOT temps released upon opening the corrals is proably because mine were not shaded at all..full sun on black plastic. Cozy.

Critters, yeah mine was a Meadow Vole and I guess the 2 corrals were his/her turf. With that safe corral gone I have not seen the vole, hopefully it moved out to the woods. I thought it might go after the new tender sprouts but didn't.

Thanks for the pic's Hay, you really have quite the systematic approach.

My results with ES have been quite good so far and I suspect in a short time I'll give my Nikkos away and stay with remonetents here in VT. Just too cold and summer too short. A year ago I wondered why I never saw any mature blooming Maccrophyllas up here and now I know just why. Plenty of Annabelles and Panis.

More later, JK

Thanks for chiming in jimrac, I would think that in a warmer zone like 6 or 7 that a few burlap wraps could do the trick.

    Bookmark   May 29, 2007 at 7:07PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
hayseedman(z5/6 Ct.)

Thanks to both of you.

I'm always interested in other people's experiences. Jimrac, that's very interesting. If you go just an hour or so south of me in Ct., then some of the Nikkos will sometimes flower. But here, they just about never would flower without some sort of protection. I've had people south of me overwinter with just a few Christmas tree boughs propped up against the plant. I need to experiment with just wrapping the plants with something like burlap. I just don't think a few layers of wrap would work for me, and that I need some genuine insulating ability. But at the same time, if I were to wrap it with enough layers of burlap, it would surely work. I wonder how many layers it would take? And how many it would take up in Vt?



    Bookmark   May 29, 2007 at 9:36PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I thought of just burlap also, but with my lower winter temps and windy location and snow, freezing rain and rain I think just burlap would not be enough. I am thinking that with enough layers of burlap (or something similiar) and then a wrap of plastic maybe with some holes for venting (or something similiar). In early spring as temps begin to warm one could remove the plastic very easily. Then as temps continued to warm one could gradually remove the burlap one layer at a time. Until you are down to the final layer of burlap which would filter the sun on the tender new growth. Or there is thermal blanket material? I am sure there is something which would work out nicely.

Hay I have friends well north of you who live 10 minutes west of Boston (zone 6) and they don't do any winter protection to their Nikkos and most years they usually will flower on the previous years wood. I think the key is that their gardens are well protected by the house, garage, fence and a very large pine grove which surrounds their house.

Thats it, later today I have some gardening to do and I'll take a close look at the old Nikkos.

    Bookmark   May 30, 2007 at 7:54AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

A couple more thoughts: What has bothered me is the unequal greening on the old wood with Nikko's #1 and #2. On uncovering, my first instant thought was that the naked canes or the buds were dead on the SouthEast side. Why would only the North and West sides be well leafed out? It is not normal. Plants don't usually work that way. So I think the SE side suffered some kind of trauma. And probably not from the cold which I was trying to protect them from.

If I look at other perennial shrubs they all leaf out uniformly from the bottom of the canes and then to the tip. One side is not slower than any other side. It is an equal process.

Here is what I am thinking. I don't think the SE side is slow because of the cold and wind...I think it is from the HEAT generated by the black plastic bags in full sun. This occured either in our warm early winter or in May. So the SE sides saw some big temperature differences. In retrospect I probably should have pulled the bags 2-3 weeks sooner and the burlap would have proctected them from and errant late spring frost. The North and West sides received like zero direct sun and are doing fine.

Plants can do some pretty funny things to protect themselves in order to survive and I think the SE side went into a stasis or a slow-down mode when confronted with the heat. After a full week I can now see more of the previously naked canes slowly sprouting green from their buds. But very slowly. Nikko # 1 now has green growth on 75% of its canes while Nikko # 2 is still at 45%.

I'll know more later but I won't know much until they flower. Cheers, JK

    Bookmark   May 30, 2007 at 8:38AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo


I am in Glastonbury, centrally located. We usually get the mixed bag of precipiattion and weather, and at times consistent, prolonged below freezing runs. Most of my plants, I wrapped in two to 3 layers, and was pleasantly surprised. I have 6 black stemmed hydrangeas, the first year I bought them, I had no flowers. Since that time, with the leaf method and now burlap, it had made a world of difference.

    Bookmark   May 30, 2007 at 10:13AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Ok got some photos. Go to http://s189.photobucket.com/albums/z49/jk4000z/?uploadtab=video

Spent a few hours in the garden yesterday and took my first very close look at the Nikkos.

All the Hydrangeas have been uncovered for 8 full days now.

Old Nikkos #1 and #2 got the corral and bags and have uneven greening from the old canes. Some canes look dead and some have very few buds. Some buds keep popping open and I'll know more in a couple weeks, but I am sure I will lose at least 20% or more of the canes and buds. I think they fried in the heat???

The 2 year olds got the flat box method and are doing fine though waywardly growing.

    Bookmark   May 31, 2007 at 8:28AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I used photobucket because you can easily enlarge the photos by clicking on "full size" on upper left for a good look at the old Nikkos canes and buds.

I'd appreciate any input since this was my first attempt at overwintering Nikko Hydrangeas.

Again, I did find the flat box method to be a better method when applicable for me in VT.

With the corral & leaf bags I have some problems. I am not quite sure if the SE side got too much COLD or HEAT or a combination of BOTH. Temp extremes.

I think I was so concerned about the cold and winds that I did not fully recognize that the heat could significantly build-up in full sun and create high temps for the plant. I would guess the hot blast the old Nikkos gave off when removing the bags had to be 50 degrees hotter than the 75 degree air temps. It was like opening an oven door. Also the canes were very dry and I'm sure the plants were under stress. My best guess.

I suspect that more buds will pop green over the next couple weeks but that some canes are dead or near to it. If I get a 20% loss that would be fine and jolly for me, but it could be more.

I think a 2 stage method might be better. First a good wrap of burlap or something similiar or better for the initial frosts. And then when the real cold temps set in cover that with bagged leaves or a good insulator to protect the canes and buds from the very cold and winds. For a month or so the 4 ft corrals were completely covered under snow.

Then in spring when your average spring begins to have regular mid-40's to 50's highs and mid 20's at night begin to remove the bags since the burlap should save the canes from the moderate cold and frosts. Then as it warms just move the burlap a layer at a time.

I think I should have removed the bags 2-3 weeks earlier. I keep learning. Cheerio, JK

    Bookmark   May 31, 2007 at 10:34AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
hayseedman(z5/6 Ct.)

I don't think it's looking like you got most of the flowering tips of the corraled ones through the winter. It's those buds at the tips that you want to get through the Winter and they should be looking like the tips of the ones you flattened by now. I think I see some tips on your first picture, though.

And the ones you flattened seem to have done just fine. I'm so glad to see that you exposed them to the sun right away and they look just fine. That helps me a lot.

I don't have consistently good luck with my corrals and I don't always know why. I have much better success with my mounds. One of the reasons for my better luck with the mounds, I think, is that I have a much larger volume of space that I'm trying to keep the temperature moderated and teh bigger space, close to the earth, too, is easier to moderate than a very small space like your corraled one.

Good luck. Thanks so much for sharing your experience. We'll keep working at it til we get it.


    Bookmark   June 1, 2007 at 2:49AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I did not realize it was the very end tips of the canes I was really trying to save. Missed that somehow? I had thought it could flower from the lower buds on the old canes too??? Yeah, the end tips did take a beating.

Full sun after uncovering was not a problem and for the first 2 days they had some hot sun. With the 2 yr Nikkos it only took about 6-7 days for them to get to a good green and the canes to start getting woody. The initial white/yellow greened quickly.

All in all I find the close to the ground methods work the best as the covered ground will help to moderate their winter temps and keep them out of the cold and wind. The closer to the ground the better which your mound method addresses well.

I think inconsistency with the corral and leafy bags has too many variables and that is why you and I find it inconsistent. Also, despite the insulating bags the plant does take the full brunt of winter standing upright and my winters are I think just too cold for a consistent success with corrals. Keep 'em down close to the ground and insulated on top. The 2 yr Nikkos only had a layer of cardboard and a bag of leaves as insulation and snow on top. In contrast the Old Nikkos had 15 bags each and burlap that did not fully spare them. Being upright and fully in the winter elements was their doom. Of cuurse the 2 Old Nikkos have never looked better here. They were not protected at all and all the canes and buds were completely dead come spring. The buds were always shrunken and freeze dried and new growth only came from the base of the plant.

In a warmer zone or a well protected area the corrals might have better results than I had. It was a nice experiment and my first year thinking about Hydrangeas and I've learned alot, considering 1 year ago I knew nothing. Thanks alot Hay for your great info.

I would not bother doing corrals again for up here in VT unless it was a very well protected micro climate and even then I would not prefer the corral. Keep 'em close to the ground. I was really quite surprised on how well the flat-box Nikkos fared and in time... it is 5 minutes per plant.

Hope all this might be of help for anyone growing Nikkos in a colder zone, Cheers, JK

ps: Hay, Do you think digging-up Old Nikko #1 this fall is doable? I expect its roots must be very large? Got a special techinque?

    Bookmark   June 1, 2007 at 9:14AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
hayseedman(z5/6 Ct.)

It's not always just the tips of the canes that will give you flowers in a season, but I think that it's generally true that the larger terminal buds will almost always flower, and that many of the other buds close to the tip of the cane will flower. On my old Nikkos, I might get a cluster of 5 or so flowers on the ends of the canes.

But it's not always just that simple. If I remember correctly, I think I read something from Dirr about how someone would cover just the bottom of the shrub with a pile of leaves and get a large flowering from the buds hidden below, even though the top growth would get killed off. I can't say that I really understand it all.

I know someone who overwinters one of the white Macs and would cut it back really hard before they put it away for the winter. And it flowered nicely for them.

And many of the Macs will flower some later in the season from buds that seem to be formed this year.

All of this is just to show that I've got a lot to learn about this flowering. (And don't forget about Endless Summer.)

Your older Nikkos might not be fun to dig up. At the same time, they're not worth as much to you if you don't get a flower. The older ones I've dug up were not so happy for a year afterwards. The older they are, the more roots you'll be leaving behind and the worse it is for the plant. I use a 30 gallon plastic garbage bag to tie up the canes and to use like burlap for wrapping the root ball. I poke some holes in the plastic around the root ball for drainage. Or a big black plastic pot if you've got them. I use one of those snow sleds that every kid seems to have to drag plants like this around. You don't have to lift them that way.

If you're going to be seriously overwintering, why not start building up a little collection of very nice Hydrangeas? You're not restricted anymore to Nikkos (which didn't really work for us anyhow.)That's what makes it really worthwhile. Start with Rotschwanz or Blaumeise or Todi or........Next Spring buy a nice Hydrangea at the supermarket. Enjoy it inside for the Spring and then add it to your collection. I found some Merrit Supreme for six dollars at Home Depot the other day.

If you routinely dig up the plants in the Fall then the roots and the root ball will stay more compact and it's easier to deal with.

Good luck.


    Bookmark   June 4, 2007 at 5:54AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Well Hay, it has now been 17 days since I uncovered the Nikkos and progress has been rather rapid with the flat-boxed Nikkos. They even seem to be striving to grow upright, although I did stake one to see how that would do. These Nikkos also all have flower buds and are catching up to the unprotected ES.

The big Nikko's #1 & #2 are not doing as well. I'm counting them down, but not out. Many more of the old canes have sprouted new green growth, but it is a very slow process. Some old canes I would have said were dead; are sprouting green..but a very slow process. And no flower buds on them...yet. I'll wait and see what happens. The canes from 2 weeks ago which were sprouted have only grown more lush with more growth.

I think I should have uncovered them all around May 10th or so and not the 23rd. That later date puts them behind in development, as compared to the unprotected ES, I think.

The 10 ES I planted last year are very robust and all have flower buds too.

I'm not yet sold on over-wintering up here yet. I'll see how this crop does this summer and take it from there. For now I think I'll stick to remonetents, maybe I'll try a Blushing Bride, Cheers, JK

    Bookmark   June 8, 2007 at 6:05PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Yes Hay, I agree that keeping them close to the ground and covered allows the thermal benefits of the ground to keep the plant significantly warmer and out of the cold winter winds.

With the corral, despite the insulation, the plant is sticking right out in the worst winter weather without any ground thermal benefits. Probably the colder of a zone one is in, the more die-off one will see.

With the 2 old Nikkos I corralled, I lost 20% of the canes which are dead. Thereby 80% of the canes have green growth and since I never previously had a single cane survive winter thats pretty good for me up here.

Now it is a wait-and-see game to see if they produce any flowers. Why I would be thrilled to see just one flower. Cheerio, JK

    Bookmark   July 5, 2007 at 10:56AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Hi Hay - It's about time I checked in and report as a disciple of your "Overwintering methods" - my hat off to you!

I started Monday after Mom's Day, I undressed my , now 17y/o Nikko, gradually and to my delight, most of her limbs survived and already leafing out - pale green!!! As you suggested I dropped the burlap just to her feet for a quick shawl in case Ma nature lashes out. By the end of May she was well on her way - the arbor I built over her last summer helped protect from sudden sun exposure.

I followed the same method for the marginally tender Lacecaps (3Big Smile & 1 Purple Tiers) I encaged Little Elf with leaf mulch but did not wrap in burlap - she got zapped by the April's return to Winter as she was just coming out - bounced back only to shrink back from the heat wave in late Jun. She has 2 live stems about 3" tall.

Nikko is the biggest success as I've never seen her so full of buds in all the years since the kids gave her to me in 1990 - by full I mean 15 clusters and still a couple forming. Some smaller than others a few have opened fully, 1 almost as large as a snack plate and the color is half lavender & half pink - the rest of the fully bloomed are just light pink (I'll deal with changing color in 2008) I'm just tickled with the verdict!!!

The surprise bonuses are the successful results on the Lacecaps all are putting on a great show, even the one I relocated in early May did not take time to catch up - full of blooms that opens up each day!

The Purple Tiers (MyM H) that I brought home from NC and planted in late Oct 2006 did very well and is blooming though blossoms are smaller than the Big Smile (about 2-21/2" diam) and a new clusters are opening up without the fertile centers ... some clusters of florets are quite beautiful. MyM must have blossomed early - when I returned from a month vacation to NC some of the fertile clusters have dried up (hot & dry last wk of Jun).

I'm a bit disappointed with the 2 ES and 2 F&E only 1 of each decided to bloom and 1cluster on 1 ES and 2 beautiful ones on 1 F&E. Also observed that the stems on F&E seem heftier than ES's. I may have to protect them a bit more this Fall, huh? I didn't think they needed heavy blankets.

So thank you for your patient guidance, Hay!!!

Thank you too to everyone in this H forum for all the help we newbies received as we venture into this delightful addiction!!!

    Bookmark   July 8, 2007 at 2:08AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
hayseedman(z5/6 Ct.)

Jack, your experience is reminding me of my beginning efforts maybe 20 years ago. I laugh now thinking of my trying to corral my largest one with just the bags of leaves and a rope. No fencing to keep it in. And my first effort at making a corral enclosure to lay down the plants. There I was trying to stack plastic bags of dry leaves, free-standing. Try it some time if you think it's easy.

Ditas, that's great. Maybe you've said, but just exactly what did you do? Did you just use leaves in a corral without bags? Maybe you've already said and I'll go back and find out. And did you try to protect all the plants that you've mentioned?

I've just about stopped overwintering plants in the ground. A lot of my more interesting plants are kept in pots and are a nice size for a patio. I have big old Nikko types that are in 15 gallon size pot and I can grow a plant in there that is just as large as any of the ones you would expect to see in a landscape. These are heavy and take a couple of men to pick up and place or anyone could drag them around in a kid's sled. I place the larger ones, in a black plastic pot that gets hidden with the other foliage around it, in the back of the border. All of these get laid down together for the winter and with this many plants, it's easier to keep them all together. Many of the plants I can dig up and replant each year. They overwinter in the same place. With these, by digging them up and replanting them, the root ball stays nice and tight and is easy to deal with.

If you overwinter your hydrangeas, a really, really nice benefit is that you can then not have to stick to the three or so varieties out that that are hardy. If you don't want to overwinter, then try Endless Summer for a mophead and Blue Billow for a lacecap.

Here's a picture of that's in a pot now. It's a sport of Madame Emile Mouillere and has frilly edge. I've been adding aluminum sulphate to it, but I don't know if it would have a pink tint if I didn't. With my overwintering, the Nikkos seem to flower first, and now other things are coming out, like this Frillibet. Having other possibilites to grow is the great bonus of overwintering.

Good luck.


    Bookmark   July 9, 2007 at 9:01AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Hi Hay - Many thanks for your continued interest in the results of our 'Overwintering' efforts.

I actually followed step by step guide from your 'Overwintering tutorial' thread. Armed with several nylon p'hoses, yards of burlap fab, plastic coated garden fencing wire mesh, huge bag of pine needles and of course, bags of the collected and dried Autumn leaves and finally a lg size rose cone for her top hat - single handedly, I started with the minuet dance around Nikko with the nylon hose (tied together into a long cord) several times (under her arbor, no less and with boom-box playing a favorite ... "Scarborough Fair" - LOL, even my neighbor got a good laugh!)around and around I went - had to wrap the hose once around some heftier stems to help keep the bundle tight (still not as tight as you did yours, I was too chicken to pull harder) as seen from your posted photos. So I dropped pine needles between her woods up to her knee and wrapped her with burlap - 2x around and as suggested by Jack411 tie with bedsheet strips as the nylon hose will give ... then wire caging followed with enough room for the bags of dried Autumn leaves (I used smaller opaque white bags) and since the cage was only about 2.5ft high I had to add another layer of burlap for the top fourth of the bundle and finally put on her rose cone top hat .... whew!

I did not follow as meticulously for the 4 Lacecaps - just created cages for each, dropped pine needles and loose dried Autumn leaves in the cage to the top and wrapped the cages with 2 layers of burlap.

I fought the urge to undress them during those weeks of Mar when we were zooming up to near 80s - I did fluff up their leaf covers and the patience paid off - all Lacecaps are delightfully full of blooms.

Nikko's problem now is the heatwave we all are going through. I put an arbor over her but only the Sweet Autumn Clem I planted on the E leg has taken off amazingly - don't know why the one on the W leg is taking her old sweet time. So I'm a slave to Nikko once more - climbing up a ladder daily, bet noon and 3PM, to throw the landescaping fabric over the W half of the arbor to protect the beautiful blossoms from burning.

I read a post you did about the difficulty of digging up to relocate an old Nikko. By next season I am hoping for the SA Clem to do a more aggressive climb and perhaps get a larger umbrella shaped pergola ... which means more $$$$ for a 12 or 15 $ florist Nikko 17 years ago ... if that is not insanity .... LOL!!!

    Bookmark   July 9, 2007 at 11:45PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Ditas, It sounds like you have done very well with your overwintering. Congrats!

Hay, Funny, I did think of going without a corral. But, I figured a corral would be better.

This year I am just taking it slow and seeing how the Nikkos and ES do up here. Thus far the flatboxed Nikkos and all my ES are doing splendidly. I just keep learning a little at a time.

Corrals? I've been thinking that for up here I might use something different than the bagged leaves. We'll see later, Thanks, Jack

    Bookmark   July 11, 2007 at 12:05PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Hi Jack - 'Been wondering how much sun does your Nikkos & ESs get? Do they collapse and burn if they are in the sun? Over here, her beautiful florets on her largest & earliest bloom are getting fried around the edges - the reason I have been covering with garden fab. during the hottest hrs of these, scorchingly, hot days.

The SA Clematis is trying her fastest to crawl over the top of the arbor and the slowpoke on the other leg finally figured out her purpose!!!


    Bookmark   July 11, 2007 at 9:38PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Hey, Ditas, They get full sun from 9-5 and they have lottsa flowers. This year I have not yet had a wilt problem at all. I did have a couple 90+ days when a couple had a very slight wilt, but by 7PM they had bounced back. This is their 2nd year in the ground here. I keep reading here about people having no or few flowers on their ES and I have a feeling that sun does have something to do with it, although I am not 100% sure.

Last year, their first year, was very different as I did have heavy-duty wilt on any hot days, like over 85. I think that this year their root system is more mature and I should add that I have had a fairly wet summer so far. I have not watered at all. Also, it has been somewhat cool too. I have only had a couple days that were 90+ and maybe only 7 or so which were around 85 with the rest being below that. My average July high temp is around 75. Like today the high will be 72. And the whole next week is forecast in the mid-70's.

I think you have had much hotter weather and sun than I have had so far and that would make a big difference. My previous 3 days were high in the 80's with very high humidity and I had no wilt at all. Cheerio, JK

    Bookmark   July 12, 2007 at 9:00AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Thanks for your prompt response - you know what, IMO ES loves your VT Summers - cooler even under the sun all day :) !!! I have mentioned in another link my disappointment with ES & F&E for being so stingy with blooms but 'just remembered last Sept before taking off for NC one of the ES surprised me ... threw a beautiful show of buds, when I returned a month after all the full, 5-6" blossoms w/stood the early chills, stood strong until first frost. So perhaps I'm being unfair... patience ... and hope for another late season surprise huh?

The 2 blooms on F&E are growing prettier by the day ... kind of redeems herself!!!

On another related observations in this thread - you wrote:

"A couple more thoughts: What has bothered me is the unequal greening on the old wood with Nikko's #1 and #2. On uncovering, my first instant thought was that the naked canes or the buds were dead on the SouthEast side. Why would only the North and West sides be well leafed out? It is not normal. Plants don't usually work that way. So I think the SE side suffered some kind of trauma. And probably not from the cold which I was trying to protect them from."

My Nikko has more blossoms on the N side than the S ... is it the sun she got in early Spring before the trees leafed out? She now measures 3.5'htx5'2e-w/wd several limbs squeek by the confines of the arbor width. The other smaller clusters I earlier reported are getting almost as large as the first few to open up in Jun!!! I'll definitely try alum sulf next season ... 'wonder why it won't work application in the Fall?

Hurray! Here in the MidW we got a bit of respite from heat even if good old sun still burns!

Great day!

    Bookmark   July 12, 2007 at 12:17PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Link to photo is below:

Now this is the 2 yr Nikko which I did not protect and I did expect it to have zero flowers. But here is is sporting this one flower for the past 3 weeks. The real color is blue but my cameras flash bleached it to white. I can only guess that some old growth survived although in early May it looked like it had died back to the ground.


    Bookmark   July 15, 2007 at 8:25AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Here is a photo of a 2 yr Nikko which I protected overwinter with a flatbox and a bag of leaves. Right now it has 7-8 flowers forming on it on last years growth.


This is what it looked like around May 23, about a week after uncovering it.


When I first uncovered it; it was all white and yellow but began greening up within a week. I did not filter the sunlight and it sparked right up. Possibly in warmer zones you might want to filter the sunlight for a couple days on the uncovered white growth???

Ciao, JK

    Bookmark   July 15, 2007 at 8:37AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Ok, here it is. Rare to have an unprotected Nikko have a flower up here, but here it is and I have a feeling I may get a few more flowers:

    Bookmark   July 15, 2007 at 10:16AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

It is now July 16th and a couple observations:

My 2 old 2 year plus Nikkos have yet to set a developing flower. They are big and bushy and with the added growth which did not die off are nearly 5 ft wide and 3 ft tall. But no flowering..yet. These were corraled overwinter and 80% of the canes survived to give green growth, but no flowers yet.

The 2 young Nikkos which were protected overwinter are getting nice and big and leafy and each has about 7-8 small developing flowers and I would expect there will be more to come soon. Compared to unprotected ES they are slow to grow and flower.

One unprotected Nikko has had 1 blooming flower now for 2 weeks and I don't quite fully understand that and it is near the top of the plant (above photo), not the bottom???

My 9 unprotected ES are all doing just GREAT! They have all been blooming away like crazy the last couple weeks and each sports 10-15 blooms at the moment with more small developing flowers which will start blooming in a couple weeks I guess. Some of the flowers are 8-10 inches in diameter. They are the main event and do very well in my VT climate.

These unprotected young ES are all weeks ahead of the protected young Nikkos in size and flower production although they are in the same garden and are the same age.
Side by side the difference is rather staggering.

The one ES which I did protect is the star with over 3 dozen flowers and it began it's flowers very early as compared to the unprotected ES.

I will wait out the Nikkos to see how they do but at this moment---unprotected ES is out way ahead of the Nikkos like there is absolutely no comparison between the two, up here. The ES put on quite the show up here and are prolific compared to the Nikkos.

I have read here from others having ES problems but I have just not experienced any. I expect that in the future I will be replacing my Nikkos with ES or Penny Mac's and I'll probably try other proven remontents, Cheers, Jack

    Bookmark   July 16, 2007 at 5:36PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Hi Jack - Amazing!!! to think that all I could to speak of my 2 ES, is 1 bloom and not even the size of a saucer at that. Your VT conditions must be ideal for ES!!! Our local nurseries all agreed, to give time for ES to establish ... perhaps next season - after all, I gave Nikko all these years to finally put on her show, why not ES.

I tend to favor the lacecaps anyway ... less challenging winter protection ... I find their blooms intriguing and quite charming and some, down right gorgeous ... hold themselves erect even after a storm. I certainly love my H Paniculatas, even my 2 Tardivas are opening up their buds - perhaps due to the hot days we have been getting these past weeks. They both budded early but I didn't expect such an early show too :-)) !

Do you have any of these hardy variety?

    Bookmark   July 18, 2007 at 11:56PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Hi ditas, No I don't have any hardy varieties yet. Hydrangeas are a new plant for me and I am taking my time and seeeing how they develop. I have read so many mixed results here with ES that I don't want to jump too quickly into other hydrangeas yet.

As my 10 young ES are beginning to take up more real estate I will have to move them early next spring.

Nice to read your protected old Nikko has some blooms, my 2, 12 year plus protected ones still have nary a bloom, but plenty of green leaves. Cheerio, JK

    Bookmark   July 19, 2007 at 9:03AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Oh Jack - you have to have at least 1, for their lacey, airy look ... Dirr described them as "as easy to culture as crab grass" - cold hardy to z3!!! We deserve a few that do not need all the challenges & coddling for our kind of Winters. If you like the mophead look there are a few to choose from ... Silvergold has quite a collection ... I'm kind of following her choices as I consider myself a new disciple in a similar Z - I even planted a climbing one in '06(patience needed for this one ... very slow) to eventually cover a 36ft long 3ft tall retaining wall, we just had redone last year.

I'm deminishing my mowing real estate and digging up some of my ever growing population of hostas to replace with lacecaps!

A great day for us ... respite from our on going heat wavvvve!!!

    Bookmark   July 19, 2007 at 11:11AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
ostrich(3a AB)

Jack, Ditas is so absolutely right! H. Paniculatas are absolutely beautiful and hardy! I am absolutely in love with them. Even my Limelight, which is planted in an open location that has harsh wintry winds, is doing very well, even just after one year! (it was planted last year from a 2-3 gallon pot). This year, I went crazy and bought myself a Little Lamb, Pink Diamond and a Snow Mountain tree to keep my Limelight accompanied!

Gosh, this is so addictive... :-)

    Bookmark   July 19, 2007 at 10:35PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Ditto Ostrich!!! And we are enabling each other to boot LOL <:->My 2007 damage (I call it food money ... I'm eating dirt!): Alice Querci (planned for her since last Fall), Quick Fire (I couldn't find Angel's Blush), Blushing Bride (tho not a hardy - saw and fell for her, when I was supposed to be checking out Glowing Embers) ... and still picking up nice little perennials that happen to tickle fancy ( to combo with H)! May Day was a good excuse, so was Mem. Day, then it's my sis Bday - a Rainbow Knock Out to think of her by ... it goes on!

To think that I'm supposed to be so deliriously happy ... all my hardy Hs and lacecaps are full of blossoms& buds (1 of the 3 Big Smile is turning to merlot!), and our little princess Kyushu is attracting so much attention ... oh and both my Tardivas are opening up! ... and still have enough energy to drool over your and George's Claudie ... Jogasaki too!

What is a "Snow Mountain tree", Ostrich?

    Bookmark   July 20, 2007 at 1:16AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
ostrich(3a AB)

Ditas, I need to find that Jogasaki! It is so absolutely gorgeous!!! :-)

Now, what else do I need... err... want, rather!? I don't NEED anything else, but I WANT:

1. Quick Fire
2. Pinky Winky
3. Big Smile
4. Blue Billow
5. Tokyo Delight
6. Pink Double Knockout (OK, not a hydrangea but I want her regardless! LOL)

Well, well, well.... so many hydrangeas, so little time (and space!) LOL

Ditas, the Snow Mountain is basically an allegedly "improved" version of the Kyushu tree. It is supposed to have larger and denser flowers than the Kyushu tree, and a bit more heat tolerant too.... ALLEGEDLY! LOL Anyway, I found it locally and it was so beautiful that I just had to have it, esp. after reading your story on Princess Kyushu! LOL!

Right after I bought my Snow Mountain, I found a Pink Diamond tree!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I almost died when I saw that. However, I truly do not have any space for another tree, so I actually did not buy it... I was so proud of myself for exerting self-control that evening... :-)

Good night!

    Bookmark   July 20, 2007 at 1:26AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Congratulations on 'reason over heart' ... wonder how I would have done if I found Angel's Blush after taking home Quick Fire??????!!!!!!

How does SM hold herself with her dense headwear? How tall is she?

Haven't heard from Silvergold lately ... I think she has PD but 'not sure if hers is a tree form.

On Big Smile, I'm observing that the amount of sun exposure may be driving the speed of color changes. All 3 are in the S fence shaded by trees but get AM sun and dappled around the noon and early PM then again get some setting sun. It's kind of fun to see 3 in graduated color changes!

I have 6 Knock Outs - 4 of original bright magenta (had to move 2 in May, to a less sunny sites and are still adjusting to new home), 1 bright pink (luminous too) and 1 rainbow (light pink with splash of pale yellow centers) all are profusely surging again after a short period of rest. I partnered the luminous pink with Tardiva - a birdbath between them ... simply wonderful together :-))) !!!!!

2 Bright magenta KO are about 6-7ft behind 'Li'l princess Kyu' and farther back is my other Tardiva w/ Luna Blush (hibiscus) beside (these 2 are competing I may have to find Luna another sunny site.

There, I'm giving you a reason to treat yourself or think of someone dear to remember in your piece of soil with ... pink KO is it! If only I knew how to post pics ....

    Bookmark   July 21, 2007 at 2:38AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
ostrich(3a AB)

Hi Ditas!

It is always so much fun to read your post - I love your very vivid descriptions of things!

The SM tree is already about 6'+ tall. She is holding up her dense headwear (wig!? LOL) very well. How big is your Princess Kyu? (what a rude question to ask about a princess!!! Ouch...)

Ditas, I have 2 Double Knockout roses and I absolutely adore them! Such non-stop bloomers and disease-resistant wonders. The new foliage is gorgeous too - I love the burgundy color. They even tolerate partial shade, unlike most roses. I have a pink KO in a big pot, because I just had to have it last year, but I still don't have a place for it! Now, though I am not a huge fan of the Rainbow KO, but I would love to have the other new KO - the Pink Double KO! I love the double form so much more than the original form. There is only one local nursery that carries it, and they are demanding a premium for it too! Oh dear... maybe I should really just wait until next year... LOL

    Bookmark   July 21, 2007 at 9:47AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Thank you Ostrich - perhaps to make up for being a computer idiot - still don't know how you post photos directly. A few others have links we can click on ... some of them I can't open such as those with little blue boxes with a ? in the box.

I like describing our Li'l Princess Kyu as '5ft2 and very cute too' - could be just a HAIR taller because of her fluffy veil. On the other side of our driveway, opposite our g-dau's, I created another island patch and planted a young, very handsome, plum colored 'Royal Raindrops' crab apple tree (blooms deliciously pink that forms to pea size fruits for the birds in Winter) my g-dau calls him Princess Kyu's royal prince.

I'll check out Bailey's KO site as I'm not sure if what I have are double or not (I got them because of the testimonials from an article I read ... the promises are hard to pass up and she delivers indeed!!!) The Rainbow I dedicated to my sis, is so much like a Carefree Delight shrub and Apple Blossom carpet, that I adore... I tend to like the single petal blossoms as they look like buttleflies. I have given up on hybrid teas ages ago when I got too busy with kids' activities ... roses require so much TLC and I got tired fighting those microscopic critters that like to taunt me!!!!! If only Bayer's 3-in-One was available then! The last 2 still standing from my R days (neither are Teas) are very dear to me - I planted 'Fashion' 1989 dedicated for last child to leave for college.

OOOOps this is supposed to be Hay's Hydrangea O/W threat right?

G'night!!!! <:->

    Bookmark   July 23, 2007 at 12:02AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
ostrich(3a AB)

Hi Ditas!

You're absolutely right - we did hijack Hay's thread!!! Ouch! So sorry, Hay!

Let's talk somewhere else on another thread...

And Hay, thanks for all the great discussion and information on overwintering! That was very helpful indeed.

    Bookmark   July 23, 2007 at 9:42PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Hi Hay - It's back to 'Overwintering' time once more - I just spent time harvesting my old Nikko's huge, matured blossoms for a wreath I plan to create with them.

I have started bagging fallen leaves - for old Nikko when I remembered that someone posted, yet, another method of protection, using PVC pipes and some kind of cloth. I neglected to bookmark the thread ... I wonder if he responded to your inquiry?

My Nikko has grown quite some - am looking for a wee bit easier method of winter protection. The Sweet Autumn Clematis crawled over Nikko's arbor beautifully thick and will be a nice blanket overhead for her this Winter ... not a substitute for the rose-cone she wore for a head gear last Winter ... SA will also act as a great wind breaker.

/Users/Ditas/Pictures/iPhoto Library/2007/09/06/IMG_1032.JPG

I wonder if you can open this attached photo.

TIA on info about PVC and ?? cloth method!

    Bookmark   November 1, 2007 at 10:23PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Ditas, I don't think the person ever went into more detail than PVC and felt. I am guessing he wrapped the plant upright in felt and used the PVC for a tripod type of tent? My best guess anyway.....jk

    Bookmark   November 2, 2007 at 11:58AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Thanks for the response Jack I'm wondering about the felt - it has got to be weather resistant or something to survive winter and also allow plant to breathe ... what might be your guess?

I might go to HD and inquire. Our overnite temps have started zooming down and have been closely watching the marginally bloom tenders - so far the days are still dealable and sunny until this coming week ... they are predicting a good drop so I have to hussle and get going on installing their cages!!!

BTW how did you figure how to post your photo ... I wish I could figure how as I have gzillion photos in my Iphoto file.

Good night!

    Bookmark   November 2, 2007 at 10:07PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Hi Jack - Tis me again, good AM! - I went to Menard's and inqired about a felt for tender plant protection and all they could suggest is the landescaping fabric - 'thought I will try as the material will allow breathing as well as strength I just wonder about insulating ability. I saved my burlap wraps from last season, some got tattered (will use for smaller plants) I'll not try PVC tubes - too much mechanical work for old me - plastic coated wire fencing is simpler so I picked up another roll ... now to work on them - just the cages for now!!!

    Bookmark   November 4, 2007 at 10:31AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Well Ditas, I am thinking about this a little more. Perhaps if one tied up the plant using Hays walk-around-method and then wrapped it with felt or any suitable material. Then if you had a piece of PVC with an 8" or so diameter and 3 ft or so in length; one could encapsulate the plant and felt with the PVC. That would be pretty sturdy and wind and wet proof. Now that seeems to make sense to me.

    Bookmark   November 4, 2007 at 5:49PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Hi Jack - Thanks for you thoughts! - I did do the 'walk around the bush with ties 'n burlap method' last fall, the only way I could have accomplished the feat singlehandedly! I did take your advice on wide strips of old bedsheets! The cage I created is of the sturdy gauged, coated wires - held the smaller bagged leaves quite well and topped with a large, corrugated-board type, rose cone - Nikko looked like an ugly snowlady under an arbor.

Nikko has grown every which way with tons of fat buds this year. I may use my extra long bamboo poles to create a teepee with the landescaping fab inside the cage, before putting on her 'cone hat'. the thick 'n fuzzy Swt Autumn Clematis over the arbor should help too, I think.

Did you ever pick up a hardy H this season - if you did, which did you decide on?

    Bookmark   November 4, 2007 at 7:03PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Good Am to everyone hard at work on 'overwintering' efforts! We got blasted all day yesterday by intermitent brrrrr winds!!! Overnite low 20s will prevail for a few more <:- brrrrrrrrr ... upside is dry n sunny for gathering leaves>I called around (HD, Lowes, etc & even all the plant nurseries) about this mysterious 'mill felt' that Phil used in protecting his bloom tender Hs (I supposed in place of burlap) no one had any idea ... Phil may have responded back to Hay's inquiry on his method of 'Overwintering' but I can't remember which thread it was. Would anyone know what mill felt is?

I picked up a roll of landescaping fab (thin-felt like & sturdier than burlap) to use as wind barrier around the wire cages of my marginally-bloom-tender Lacecaps.
TIA for any ideas on 'Mill felt' !

    Bookmark   November 6, 2007 at 7:51AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Hi Ditas, Not sure exactly what "mill felt" is but I bet if you stop by a large fabric store like a Joannes Fabric you will find some.

No, I didn't get any new Hydrangeas this year. I just have my 10 ES and 3 Nikkos and 2 huge Nikkos. Although I did the corral method with the 2 large Nikkos---it did not work and I got zero blooms. I'm thinking of flat-boxing them but that takes up alot of garden real estate, like a circuliar diamer of 10 feet. I might move 'em in a week or 2 or I might dig 'em up and junk 'em. Cheerio, JK

    Bookmark   November 7, 2007 at 10:13AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Hi Jack - Guess what? ... I found the thread where Phil posted about his PVC & mill felt method ... also had his email address in his post - so I send him my ??? directly and here is part of his reply:

..... "The felt I get is from the papermill I work at and isn't for sale to the public. I have 52 blue mop heads in a cold climate, and they have flowered for 4 summers. You must protect the nodes. I recommend the ES as the blue mop head of choice."

No wonder no one had an idea what I was inquiring about. I tried several other places including a paper supply co. etc,etc,etc! I'll stick with burlap.

I've encaged all my bloom tenders and just covered the top lightly with burlap for the overnite low 20s ... will seriously put them to bed as soon as they drop their foliage - be around T'giving time here.

My handsome & old Gingo tree barely, slipped on his golden cloak when Mother Nature said "Drop it!" ... he must have obediently done it overnite ... he was bare & his golden cloak piled neatly around his feet ... LOL!!! No stinky fruits to rake this year ... I was saved by the 2wk freeze last Apr.


    Bookmark   November 8, 2007 at 1:17AM
Sign Up to comment
More Discussions
Annabelle hydrangea
Well, it's approaching January & I'm thinking spring....
where to order hydrangea?
Hi, I want to get Zinfin Doll and Bloomstruck hydrangea...
Blue Billow Hardy in Chicago (Zone 5)
Looking to see if anyone has grown Blue Billow in the...
DEEP blue
When I was growing up my grandmother had big vigorous...
Propogating Hydrangea
Hi, My neighbors have just put up a 6 foot high fence...
Jon 6a SE MA
People viewed this after searching for:
© 2015 Houzz Inc. Houzz® The new way to design your home™