Category Archives: Hydrangea

Thinking PINK in Royal Oak!

“…change comes like a little wind that ruffles the curtains at dawn,

and it comes like the stealthy perfume of wildflowers hidden in the grass.”

~John Steinbeck

Anyone that knows me will confirm that I am hydrangea crazy and my favorite color in the garden is pink. Well, my dreams have come true! Have you seen the first ever PINK-flowered ‘Annabelle’ hydrangea, the Invinicibelle® Spirit ( Hydrangea arborescens ‘NCHAI’ ppaf, cbraf) by Proven Winners?! This rugged beauty blooms every year on new wood, even after the harshest of winters, making it the most reliable pink hydrangea yet. At full maturity, it can produce over 100 large pink blooms from midsummer until frost! In my opinion, Proven Winners has definitely out-performed themselves!

Another sweet bonus: Proven Winners’ goal is to raise ONE MILLION DOLLARS for breast cancer research. $1.00 from every Invincibelle® Spirit sold will be donated to the Breast Cancer Research Foundation. You can visit to make a donation.

Be sure to plant these amazing hydrangeas where you can enjoy their blooms from inside as well. I have three planted in the garden in front of a very large window and they are FABULOUS! Each day a new bud appears and the pink continues to intensify. They thrive in full sun to part shade so the plant combinations are endless! I’m giddy with excitement over the Invincibelle® Spirit and I know you will be, too. Go ahead, treat yourself today, and plant this gorgeous ornamental in your garden… and help prevent and fight breast cancer!

Think PINK!


May all your gardens grow!

A Trip to the Garden Center

Visiting my favorite garden center and gushing over the vast selections of plants, the vibrate colors, and unique textures is better than riding the Blue Streak at Cedar Point!

Plant shopping is always a joyful experience for me, especially when I discover a new hydrangea (but that’s another story)! Once I stop spinning from excitement and settle down to business, I immediately shift into “proper plant choice” mode. It is critical!

Often people make similar mistakes while selecting plants because they did not do their homework. Like most of us, we get caught up in the beauty and forget about practicality and purpose. As we all know, plant purchases can be costly, so it’s extremely important to make good choices. My best suggestion is to design your gardens at home and take a shopping list to the nursery. Designing while shopping is not recommended and can be as dangerous as grocery shopping with hunger pangs – both should be avoided!

Below are things to ponder before your next shopping trip and plant purchase. Keep in mind that each item listed is as important as the next!

  • Growth habit
  • Height and width at maturity
  • Plant characteristics
  • Form
  • Texture
  • Seasonal interest and color
  • Light requirement
  • Sun, shade, partial sun, partial shade
  • Heat and wind tolerance
  • Soil preference
  • Moisture tolerance
  • Drought tolerance
  • Insect and disease resistance

Plant shopping and trips to the garden center can be so much fun and should never be overwhelming. If you do your homework first, the rewards are plentiful! Just don’t forget your shopping list!

I am obviously drawn to hydrangeas…big time! What plants are you most drawn to while shopping at your favorite garden center?

May all your gardens grow!

Oakleaf Hydrangea

The Oakleaf Hydrangea

There are only two ways of spreading light – to be the candle or the mirror that reflects it.

~Edith Wharton, American writer (1862-1937)

Well-known for its oak-shaped leaves, this hydrangea ranks high on my favorite plant list! Native to the United States, the oakleaf offers four seasons of beauty, interest and more! Oakleaf hydrangea (Hydrangea quercifolia) varieties ‘Alice’ and ‘Pee Wee’ are most popular in my 5b Zone.

The graceful ‘Alice’ grows to 4-5’ tall and will spread 5-6’ wide. If you have the space, this is an excellent selection as a single specimen or in mass! A hedge of the gorgeous ‘Alice’ is a guaranteed show stopper! The smaller, more petite ‘Pee Wee’ will grow 2-3’ tall and spreads 3-4’ wide. A perfect choice for any size garden, even smaller ones! ‘Alice’ and ‘Pee Wee’ share many similar characteristics. My favorite is watching the deep green foliage as it changes to a brilliant orange, red, burgundy, and yellow in autumn; the colors are amazing and quite unexpected for a hydrangea!

The abundant flowering display of the oakleaf is lovely in summertime and the beautiful blooms attract butterflies. The white cone-shaped blossoms on ‘Alice’ are large and magnificent! ‘Pee Wee’ is considerably smaller, but it is absolutely adorable! Everything about the ‘Pee Wee’ makes my heart sing. ‘Pee Wee’ is the mini-me version of ‘Alice’ and the foliage and blossoms blend perfectly in small settings!

During the winter months, I enjoy the spent flower blooms on all my hydrangea varieties until spring time. The dried flower heads are gorgeous along with another big winter interest bonus for the oakleaf hydrangea – its peeling bark! Admittedly, the cold winter weather rushes me indoors while my gardens are under snow, but the peeling bark of my ‘Pee Wee’ hydrangeas stop me dead in my tracks!

Once again, I’m reminded to take time to appreciate and enjoy the great gift of life and the bountiful earth that sustains us. Just like the oakleaf hydrangea, we have the privilege to make memories all year round!

May all your gardens grow!