Category Archives: Ornamental

Tiny Wine® Ninebark

GROW IT: Tiny Wine® Ninebark by Proven Winners has LOVELY dark bronze-maroon foliage with pretty WHITE flowers in late spring. Its small size makes it ideal in the GARDEN!

Height: 36″ – 48″; Full SUN; Hardiness zone: 3a-8b ✿✿✿

tiny wine ninebark

May all your gardens grow,

Jan ✿✿✿

Limelight Hydrangea

Light Up Your Gardens!

The ‘Amen!’ of Nature is always a flower.

~Oliver Wendell Holmes

I simply adore this time of year when hydrangeas make their stunning debut and steal the show in the garden!  This is exactly what I wait for all season long!  The beauty of all hydrangeas take my breath away…but the exciting and unique ‘Limelight’ Hydrangea paniculata brings out the giddy gardener in me!

‘Limelight’ hydrangea’s soft lime green blooms held above the dark green foliage resemble a triple scoop of soft-serve ice cream. To me, the luscious tapered blooms just scream “Summer time!” The impressive flower heads can get up to 12 inches long and stand upright on the shrub for an extraordinary and lovely display with no drooping! It’s a strong shrub with flower power! Another thriller with this beauty… as autumn approaches, the blooms gracefully change to a rich deep pink that lasts through late fall and offers wonderful winter interest.

Of all the hydrangeas, the ‘Limelight’ is the most adaptable to different soil types and prefers full sun to light shade. In fact, they are extremely hardy and very tricky to kill…oh yes, my kind of ornamental shrub! The beautiful ‘Limelight’ can be easily maintained as a small shrub or trained into a small tree. I prefer pruning my ‘Limelight’ hydrangeas in early spring by simply cutting off the spent flowers to make way for new ones! Bonus: the spent flowers add great winter interest and are a constant reminder of what’s to come. A hard pruning in spring will produce larger flowers…just cut the shrub back by 1/3 to 1/2. I will prune my ‘Limelights’ back very hard this spring and as a result the foliage will be much denser.

Interested in attracting attention to your landscape and gardens with an outrageously gorgeous effect? I recommend planting the ‘Limelight’ in groupings or masses. Hands down you’ll not be sorry and you, too, will wait for their coming out party each season like I do!


Botanical name: Hydrangea paniculata ‘Limelight’
Common name: ‘Limelight’ hydrangea
Hardiness: USDA Zone 3 -8
Bloom Time: Begins in late July – early August. Blooms last through late fall.
Height: 6′-8′
May all  your gardens grow!



Incrediball Hydrangea Bloom

We’re Still Standing!

There are many ways of going forward, but only one way of standing still.

~Franklin D Roosevelt

As we all know, life sometimes has a way of bringing us down. Some say those situations make us stronger; others say they make us weak. It is my belief what matters most is that in the end, we’re still standing!

Perhaps that was my huge attraction to the Incrediball™ hydrangea (Hydrangea arborescens ‘Abetwo’ ppaf). Any offspring of ‘Annabelle’ that doesn’t flop is on the top on my list! This exhilarating hardy hydrangea bestows colossal 12-inch blooms that open lime green, turn snowy white, and then gradually fade to different shades of pale green. Bravo Proven Winners®!

Big attraction: Unlike its parent, ‘Annabelle’, sturdy thick stems thwart flopping in blustery weather! This Midwest gardener can attest to it because I planted three Incrediball™ hydrangeas last year. Admittedly, I am hooked – line and sinker! I would never hesitate and would happily recommend this hydrangea to any of my clients.

The Incrediball™ is very adaptable and thrives best in rich, well-drained, moist soil. Plant this beauty in groupings/masses, create a stunning hedge, or add to a garden or perennial border – the options are endless!

Bonus: butterflies cannot resist them either!

Double bonus:
The blooms make lovely fresh or dried flower arrangements. For a stunning display, I will adorn my holiday tree and trimmings with spent Incrediball™ blooms this season. (That’s another article!)

Maybe you will consider planting an Incrediball™ (or two, or three). The next time you feel down, gaze up at your Incrediball™ hydrangeas. If they can weather any storm, then so can we!  Happy planting!


Botanical name: Hydrangea arborescens ‘Abetwo’

Common name: Incrediball™ Hydrangea

Hardiness: USDA Zone 4 to 9

Bloom Time: Summer

Height: 4’ – 5’

Spread: 4’

May all your gardens grow!

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!

The Cutting Edge on Pruning

Better to be pruned to grow than cut up to burn.

~John Trapp

Learning how to prune woody ornamentals may be difficult at first. For many gardeners, it can be daunting trying to decide what to cut and what to leave! Pruning is necessary and should not be avoided or intimidating. In fact, it is beneficial for the overall health of a plant. Remember: practice makes perfect and, in no time, pruning will become second nature!

I have discovered through the years that most pruning principles are common sense. I am excited to share my six favorite pruning tips! It’s time to break out your pruning tools and leave your fears behind!Let’s get started:

    1. Consider the shape and design you wish to create before you start pruning. It’s important to have a clear vision and plan in mind! Your decision on the shape and design will dictate the amount of pruning necessary.
    2. Always remove dead, broken, diseased or insect-infested branches.
    3. Branches that criss-cross, grow toward the interior, or ruin the shape and appearance of a plant should be removed.
    4. To avoid excessive and unattractive clumping of branches at the top, thin out rather than cut back.
    5. Always prune suckers and water shoots.
    6. Cut off any old stubs. is good for our plants and good for us, too!

After all, we all need a bit of trimming, reshaping, controlling, and snipping from time to time! Happy pruning!

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!