Hydrangeas Range From Vigorous to Lethargic

Hydrangea 'Let's Dance Big Easy'
My Hydrangeas this season are a mixed bag of successes and failures.'Endless Summer' has finally formed some dime-sized flower buds, while 'Let's Dance Big Easy' makes no apologies for sporting the biggest bloom in the border. The plant is no larger than it was last year. It still has two blooms. But each is sized somewhere between a mushball and a bowling ball.

Both specimens of Hydrangea 'Rhapsody Blue', planted last spring, don't care that they've only got three or four stems--they're going all out to keep my love of their mophead flowers going strong.

I didn't lose one of the dozen or so Hydrangea macrophyllas in the ground when the flakes started flying last December. But it certainly wasn't a banner year. None of the non-remontant (I know, that's a lot of negatives) Hydrangeas bloomed, and even some of those that have consistently bloomed on new wood have been shy with their flowers.
'Let's Dance Starlight' bloom in 2013.

Proven Winners Color Choice Reblooming (ability to bloom on this year's new growth) Hydrangea macrophyllas that I was given to try (along with the year they were planted) include:
  • 'Let's Dance Rhapsody Blue' (2013)
  • 'Let's Dance Big Easy' (2012)
  • Let's Dance Starlight' (2008)
Hydrangea in too much heat and sun.
Surprisingly, the one that's been in the ground the longest among these three varieties provided the least impressive show. 'Let's Dance Starlight' was a stunning bloomer in 2013. This year, although it's healthy, had two flowers, with no sign of anything coming along on the tips of its stems.

Hydrangea 'Everlasting Revolution' in sunny spot (2013).
'Endless Summer' has been in the same spot since 2003, when I received the plant to try. It's had its ups and downs (mostly ups once it was established), but this year I hadn't seen a sign of flower buds until just today. In a glass-half-full way of looking at things, that's fine. The spot where it's planted will have some much-needed color in mid- to late-September.

One thing I've found with Hydrangeas is that you'll never have a happy plant if you keep moving it around. It takes at least two seasons to settle in and act like it should. For the most part, anyway.  I planted Hydrangea Everlasting Revolution in August, 2011 after being given one to try by Plants Nouveau. The next spring, I moved it. I moved it again in 2013, and it bloomed although it was getting so much sun it looked terrible on hot sunny days.

Hydrangea 'Everlasting Revolution' this year.
So in the fall of 2013, I moved 'Everlasting Revolution' for the third time--to a place where it is somewhat overwhelmed by other plants, and  definitely doesn't get an overabundance of sun.

I have to say that this plant doesn't know when to say when. It seems to thrive no matter how it's treated. As you can see from the photo, each flower head starts out with small, tightly formed florets that expand and fade as they age.

This spring, I was thrilled to receive some of the other Everlasting Hydrangeas, including 'Everlasting Ocean', 'Everlasting Amethyst', 'Everlasting Coral', and 'Everlasting Revolution'.

I didn't really expect any of them to bloom, as they were quite small when they arrived. But one variety that has been wowing me is 'Everlasting Ocean'. I planted two of them in different spots in the garden--one in high shade with good light and a short period of direct sun, the other in a spot that has been overgrown by an exuberant Clematis.

Surprisingly, the one that was covered up by clematis has the most flowers--four to be exact. But the one in high shade is easier to get to with my camera, so here are three sequential photos starting on July 11. This sequence gives you an idea of how its color changes over nearly five weeks.
'Everlasting Ocean' July 11
'Everlasting Ocean' July 31
Hydrangea 'Everlasting Ocean' August 11.