A late summer update

Typically, spent flowers of Oakleaf hydrangeas (Hydrangea quercifolia) can be seen for months, but in this oddly damp and mild summer, growth has nearly covered all blooms. This is, of course, of little consequence since flowers have faded past the somewhat attractive pink that persists for weeks. This has been a remarkable year for growth and flowering of Oakleafs, and several require pruning so that neighboring shrubs are not overwhelmed.

Remontant (reblooming on new wood) mophead hydrangeas (Hydrangea macrophylla) are budding again, which is hardly a surprise and perhaps a bit surprising that this wasn’t seen several weeks earlier. A year ago, delayed flowering in spring due to late freezes pushed late summer bud development several weeks later, with sparse flowering in early summer, and very few blooms in late summer and early autumn. Flowering was exceptional through this spring following a lesser bout of spring cold, and better flowering is expected in September.

Usually vigorous seedlings of ‘Espresso’ geranium have faded badly in recent weeks, while a cultivar of New Hampshire geranium is unaffected by summer. The seedlings would benefit from a late summer shearing, but there is too little time for them to make much of a show, so why bother? Probably, this should have been done a month ago.

A few of the red leafed Japanese maples have faded through the summer. This is not fading as in fading from good health, but color draining out of the leaves. The worst of the maples were troubled by heat and dry weather early in summer, but ones with some shade have fared better. Green leafed maples look at least as good as in early June.

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