January 29, 2004
Wow! Endless Summer Hydrangea® is one of the best new plants to be introduced to the gardening world. You may have already heard about it or read about it in some of your gardening magazines.
This is a bigleaf, mop-head hydrangea that will thrive in our cold zone 4 and 5 climates. The large (up to 8" diameter) ball-shaped flower clusters are pink in alkaline soils but will be blue in acidic soils. Which means that in our gardens the flowers will usually show pink, but by adding aluminum sulfate to the soil we can alter the pH and have big bright blue flower clusters all summer long.
The really outstanding feature of Endless Summer is that it blooms on new growth. All other mop-head type hydrangeas only bloom on wood that is two years old or older. This means that even if we have a very harsh winter and the plant dies to the ground, it will bloom on the new growth that comes in the spring and continue to produce flowers on all new growth throughout the summer until frost. Peck’s received some very small test plants in the spring of 2002 that we planted in one of our display gardens. They bloomed that summer and last summer the blooms began the second week in July continuing until October. This is a terrific plant for sun or shade. Like other hydrangeas, it will probably perform best with filtered sun or a little shade protection when the sun is hottest during the afternoon.
The story is that this hydrangea was found at an old farmhouse near St. Paul, MN. It may have even been given as a Mother’s Day gift long ago and planted just outside the kitchen door. It drew attention because these big hydrangea flowers are never seen blooming in Minnesota so early! The plantsmen at Minnesota’s Bailey Nurseries took cuttings from the plant and spent several years watching and testing the hardiness, bloom and habit of the plant before releasing it nationwide this spring.
Watch for upcoming nationwide advertising, read what garden writers have to say and you will see that everyone is drooling over this plant! After actually growing and testing it ourselves, we are amazed at the plant’s vigor and bloom power. Remember if it survives in the Minnesota “tundra” around St Paul, it will thrive in "balmy" Iowa!
Peck's first shipment of Endless Summer® should arrive in early April. Call Peck's Garden Center at (319) 393-5946 if you want to pre-order or receive a reminder call when the plants arrive.