‘Why Won’t My Hydrangea Bloom?” As seen on KDKA’s PTL

An oak leaf hydrangea is a more reliable bloomer in our climate than the usual mophead varieties most gardeners grow. Photo by Doug Oster

Well, it’s the number one garden question. “Why won’t my hydrangeas bloom?”
There are many answers. One common problem is that the most popular type of hydrangea grown in our area is hydrangea macrophylla, often referred to as mophead.
That type of hydrangea isn’t best suited for our climate. Often times the buds will freeze out.
What I do to help them during the winter is to surround the plant with burlap, leaving the top open. This protects the buds from very cold winter winds.
The other thing that stops hydrangeas from blooming is improper pruning. Mopheads and some other types of hydrangeas bloom on old wood. Meaning after they bloom, they put buds on that will sit all winter and then bloom in the summer. If those buds are removed, the plant can’t bloom.
Wait until right after the plant blooms to do any pruning. Wait too long and your risking the buds.
In my garden, I’ve slowly converted to other types of hydrangeas that are more reliable bloomers. One of my favorites is the oak leaf hydrangea (Hydrangea quercifolia). The plant has many seasons of interest. In winter the plant sports a beautiful orangish exfoliating bark. Then beautiful conical white blooms which fade to pink. In the fall the large green oak leaf shaped foliage turns deep red.
The Endless Summer brand of hydrangeas offer a plant that’s a reliable bloomer. Many of the plants put buds on new and old wood.
‘Annabelle’ (Hydrangea arborescens) is one of the only hydrangeas that can be cut to the ground at the end of the season and blooms profusely every season.
Find the right hydrangea and enjoy the blooms for years to come.

Cool trees and shrubs on KDKA-TV’s PTL

'Blushing Bride' is one of my favorite new introductions.

Plant breeders are always working hard to give us gardeners something new to put in the garden.
I love what they are doing with Rose of Sharon, my favorite might be ‘Blushing Bride.’ It’s a double and I love doubles.
‘Blue Satin’ is really cool too.
Hydrangeas are a must for summer blooms and ‘Great Star’ is really cool looking. It’s a wonderful flower shape.
Hydrangea 'Great Star' is just that.

‘Pinky Winky’ is small and the flowers turn a wonderful shade of pink as they fade.
Bush Clover isn’t really a shrub, it’s a perennial but man this thing pumps our beautiful purple blossoms at the end of the season.
All the plants I used on the show were from Hahn Nursery in Ross. They are located at Babcock and Three Degree Road. For more information about the plants call 412-635-7475.

See Doug and Jess on Saturday at Giant Eagle Market District

My radio partner Jessica Walliser and I are making a rare Saturday appearance at two of the Giant Eagle Market District Stores.
We’re doing a free gardening/cooking demonstration.
We’re cooking Beef and Pineapple Pops, Grilled Shrimp and Chicken Pasta and Lemon-Cornmeal Pound Cake with Fresh Berries.
If you haven’t had a chance to see us there because we usually work Sundays, here’s an opportunity.
10am Bethel Park GEMD on Oxford.
4pm Shadyside GEMD on Centre.

Grasses Are Easy as seen on KDKA’s PTL

Ornamental grasses can make a bold statement in the garden. They can be anywhere from a few inches tall to 10 feet.
I love the shorter blue grasses planted in groups of three or five.
Zebra grasses put on a show all summer.
The tall pampas grasses are beautiful and also are a great habitat for beneficial insects.
I like to leave them stand all winter, they really look great in the landscape off season.
They are cut down first thing in the spring to invigorate the plant.
Every few years I dig the whole plant out and split them up to keep them growing well.
Find a place for ornamental grasses in the garden. They are indestructible, pretty and will last a lifetime.

Ornamental grasses are easy to grow, beautiful and most will last a lifetime.