The last 2 remaining plants had been told that it was time to shape up or ship out! Their cards were marked! The fact that they were very slow to leaf up this spring added weight to my argument that they really need replacing. Bare twigs for 6 months of the year is not a good look! Is it?
Whilst I might be tolerant to the fact that my favourite shrub - Cornus alternifolia is very late to produce it's leaves, I am in fact grateful for this. Leafing up any earlier would make the young buds susceptible to any late frosts that might come our way. Gardeners certainly don't grow Mophead Hydrangeas for their foliage, do they? Therefore I can't use this argument as part of the case to keep them. Another argument against is their massive blooms - more often than not by the time they flower here in Scotland the winds and the weight of the flowers will have brought them crashing to their knees! There is little excitement to be had when you look out across the garden to throw them an admiring glance only to see them face down looking rather worse for wear.
The search for replacements was not top of my list, my ever increasing plant wish list wasn't getting any shorter. I was happy to bide my time until alternatives presented themselves to me. That was until I came across a lovely looking shrub Viburnum sargentii Onondaga. A quick check on my local (and favourite) nursery's website Binny Plants I found that they had it listed. A phone call to check they had stock and to put one aside for me. I picked it up yesterday and immediately could see how much more it had to offer than a boring old Hydrangea! It's not such a good idea to live within a 10 minute drive of at least 6 well run and well stocked nurseries. The pocket always suffers!
|Hydrangea this morning before work started|
|Ready for the bin|
As I was popping the green stuff into the bin round the front - a neighbour passed by. Still hard at it she asked? Yes, I'm taking out a Hydrangea as I've got a new plant for it's space. If your throwing it out I'll take it she said. No problem....I'll bring it round when I get it out of the ground. I did warn her that as it's been pruned right down to the ground it might take a few years to flower again. She was perfectly happy with that - she loved them and didn't mind waiting! When I appeared at her door, she then told me that she didn't have a spade!! You know where this is going don't you!!!! Back to the house for my spade, a wee while later it had pride of place in her back garden! I gave it some bonemeal and told her to keep on top of watering for the next wee while until it is raining regularly.
Back to work in my own garden. The gap now left behind
The hole left behind was much greater than would have been required - I back filled with a mixture of fresh topsoil and soil improver. Together with some bonemeal it should add enough nutrients back into the soil. The soil here is generally good anyway, it is mulched every year and has had goodness knows how much compost added over the years.
|Viburnum sargentii Onondaga|
It has much more to offer than the Hydrangea don't you think. It will have bronze and purple foliage in springtime. White lacecap type flowers too! It's still not clear whether I will have berries or not - I have other Viburnums in the garden, so here's hoping!
As for Autumn interest, lets take a closer look at it's autumn colour
|Bronze maple like leaf|
Provides much more than Hydrangea foliage don't you think? I love the bronze colouring and as the shrub grows it should really look good against the dark green of the holly hedge behind.
For those who may be interested Viburnum sargentii Onondaga, has been awarded the AGM by the RHS. It is recommended for Full Sun/Part Shade/Full Shade situations. Prefers moist soil or moist but well drained. It is in pruning group 1 and carries a hardiness rating of H6 (very cold winter) or the USDA zones 6b/7a. Follow the link for full RHS information on this plant.
You might well be asking yourself, what of the other Hydrangea? As I have yet to find a replacement - it can stay where it is for now! The neighbour will take that one too - I told her husband to get himself a spade and have the hole dug and prepared and I might just appear at short notice.....well you never know do you?