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This popular flower is in sensational form in New England this summer

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Locals and visitors flocking to the Northeast for a New England summer travel experience may notice an exceptional bloom of hydrangea bushes. 

The bushy, luscious flowers in bright blues, pinks, purples and whites are in or reaching peak bloom.

Hydrangeas are native to the Western Hemisphere and eastern Asia. There are about 23 species that are known.

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Garden communicator C.L. Fornari told Fox News Digital that in the Northeast, the hydrangeas this year are amazing for several reasons.

She said that with a wet summer and fall last year, all kinds of good flower buds developed this year. “With these plants, you have to take the ‘hydra’ part of their name seriously,” she said. 

These flowers are common from New England to New York through Illinois and Missouri, south to Louisiana and Florida and in Kansas and Oklahoma, according to the U.S. Forest Service.

These flowers are common from New England to New York through Illinois and Missouri, south to Louisiana and Florida and in Kansas and Oklahoma, according to the U.S. Forest Service. (iStock)

“We followed that wet haul with a mild winter and all of those buds that they formed in the late summer last year made it through the winter. Now we’ve got spectacular blooms,” said Fornari, who is based in Massachusetts.

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Mark Richardson, director of horticulture at the New England Botanic Garden at Tower Hill in Boylston, Massachusetts, concurred with that.

He told Fox News Digital that temperature and cultural factors are important. 

hydrangea

New England Botanic Garden at Tower Hill is a 200-acre, four-season botanic garden located in Boylston, Massachusetts. (New England Botanic Garden at Tower Hill)

“I think for this year in particular, we had a lot of rain last year, and we had a very mild winter,” he said. “The combination of those two things really led to a great year for hydrangeas.”

Wild hydrangeas are usually found in a mesic forest, often along streams or in rocky areas, but also grow in drier areas.

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They are common from New England to New York through Illinois and Missouri, south to Louisiana and Florida, and in Kansas and Oklahoma, according to the U.S. Forest Service.

hydrangeas

Pink, purple and blue hydrangeas are photographed on Nantucket, Massachusetts. (iStock)

Fornari said peak bloom for hydrangea bushes is dependent on the type of plant.

Bigleaf or Hydrangea macrophylla are the most common type in North America. 

They have a classic mophead – or open lacecap – bloom reminiscent of Cape Cod’s signature plant, according to the National Garden Bureau.

Fornari said the big blue big-leaf flowers seem to be at peak bloom now.

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Richardson said that hydrangeas are a great attraction for visitors at the museum this time of year.

“Early summer tends to be a bit of a lull in the garden, just in terms of what’s in bloom, and the hydrangeas are really filling in that gap,” he added.

One garden communicator told Fox News Digital to make sure the estimated size of hydrangeas meets the location by sighting them appropriately.

One garden communicator told Fox News Digital to make sure the estimated size of hydrangeas meets the location by sighting them appropriately. (Ashley J. DiMella/Fox News Digital)

Fornari said that when planting hydrangeas, make sure their estimated size meets the location by sighting them appropriately.

“There is no way you can make them shorter. They will place their height in one summer and the more you cut them back, the fewer flowers you have,” she said. 

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Her second piece of advice is to “give them the sun or lack of sun that they want.”

The hotter the summer, the more the bushes will need afternoon shade, so it is important to make sure they are getting the relief from the sun they need.

Garden communicator C.L. Fornari told Fox News Digital when it comes to winter preparation, "prayer works as well as anything else. Some of it is the luck of the draw on winter temperatures."

Garden communicator C.L. Fornari told Fox News Digital when it comes to winter preparation, “prayer works as well as anything else. Some of it is the luck of the draw on winter temperatures.” (Ashley J. DiMella/Fox News Digital)

It is important to make sure the bushes are watered deeply, but deep soaking less often is better than watering a little every day.

Fornari warned people to steer clear of relying on fertilizer to help hydrangea bushes.

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“It’s not a solution to problems with the hydrangeas,” she said. 

“Fertilizer can sometimes make the plant a little bigger, but those become weaker stems and the big flowers end up in the mud.”

It is important to make sure the bushes are watered deeply, but deep soaking less often is better than watering a little every day, said one expert. 

It is important to make sure the bushes are watered deeply, but deep soaking less often is better than watering a little every day, said one expert.  (iStock/New England Botanic Garden at Tower Hill)

When it comes to winter protection, “prayer works as well as anything else… Some of it is the luck of the draw on winter temperatures,” Fornari said.

She is founder of the Cape Cod Hydrangea Festival, which began in 2015 with proceeds going to various local nonprofit organizations.

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During the event, Cape Coders open their beautiful gardens to admirers across the southeastern part of Massachusetts extending to the Atlantic Ocean

The festival is two weeks long and began on Friday, July 5th. 

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