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    Chris Olsen: When to plant hydrangeas

    5:50 AM, Jun 5, 2013   |    comments
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    LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KTHV) -- Our lifestyle expert Chris Olsen with Botanica Gardens has some great tips on when to plant hydrangeas and designing with food in mind.

    Best Time to Plant Hydrangeas

    Hydrangeas purchased from a garden center have been growing outdoors in a pot. They can be planted at any time of the year. However, to get good results, keep these considerations in mind:

    • Although it is not always possible, purchase a hydrangea while it is in bloom. This allows one to see how the plant will bloom. Hydrangeas are often mislabeled, and even good nurseries have difficulties keeping varieties separated when they are not in bloom. Twice I have planted mopheads when I thought I had lacecaps. Additionally, 'Annabelle' doesn't always bloom properly. You may get stuck with a plant that is labeled "Annabelle" but the blooms turn out to be small and fuzzy. Annebelle, by the way, is one of my favorite varieties.

    • Whenever possible, plant in early summer or fall. Don't plant in early spring when frosts are still possible. I've lost two leafed-out plants that were killed when a late frost hit them.

    Don't plant a hydrangea during the hottest part of the summer unless it can't be helped.

    • After planting a hydrangea, DO NOT LEAVE IT ALONE. Too often we rush to get our shrubs planted before we leave on vacation. Be on hand to give it some TLC and to watch it and make sure it gets all the attention it needs.

    Here is a list of my favorite varieties:

    Annebelle
    Endless Summer
    Pee Gee
    Oakleaf Hydrangea
    Bombshell
    Tardiva 

    Feast for the Eyes

    Go ahead and layer serving pieces to create a delicious still life of hor d'oeuvres. Plates and platters made of natural materials such as wood and even a soapstone 12 inch tile will work great. I like to use different round and oval bowls that help show off food beautifully.

    Now for the food. Display different cheeses, crackers, breads, figs, sliced plums, rolled meats, and even small bowls of spicy mustards will make for one attractive and tasty snack.

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