Deadheading and pruning hydrangeas in January

Johntheplantman's stories, musings, and gardening.

I wrote this article about pruning and dead heading hydrangeas a while back. The information still holds true. This is one of my most asked about subjects. Enjoy! John

A rare beautiful January day found us preparing some new flower beds for Ms. Marion, who most people around here refer to as “The hydrangea lady.”  I knew she was working in the yard and I really wasn’t paying attention to what she was doing until I walked by a garden cart full of old, brown hydrangea blooms that had been freshly cut.

old hydrangea blooms removed from the garden in January old hydrangea blooms removed from the garden in January

Since I get asked about cutting, deadheading, and shaping hydrangeas quite often, and since Marion is the most knowledgeable hydrangea grower I ever met, I went looking for her to see what was going on.  I found her bent over a planting of hydrangeas, busily working her pruning shears.

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Joel’s Garden–planting onions Jan. 31

Joel is the most dedicated vegetable gardener I ever met.  He is in the garden working almost every morning.  I am going to make him a periodic feature of this site by keeping a log of what I see him doing as the year progresses.

I’ve been having some medical concerns that have taken up quite a bit of time and have not been able to give this site my usual dynamic endeavors.
The garden is rather large, I would guess at least a hundred feet square, and it is surrounded by a 9 foot high wire fence to keep out the deer.  The last week in January, Joel asked me if I could build him a two part gate in the side of the wire fence.  He wanted something more convenient to the house and he wanted to be able to either walk in or to drive his tractor in. So I built side by side gates.  I took enough pictures for a gate tutorial and I will publish that later.  Here’s the gate:
A two part gate, one part to walk through, the other part to drive through.

A two part gate, one part to walk through, the other part to drive through.

Joel has been working on his dirt for years. He is a great lover of organic matter and he believes in adding it as often as he can. He also grows green manure cover crops in portions of the garden that he is not using at one time or another and then tilling these crops in.
To give an indication of the effectiveness of this organic addition process, We had torrential rains on Jan. 30 and I visited Joel on the 31st only to find him planting onions. I think a normal garden would have been way too muddy.
Joel had been waiting for days on his onion set shipment. He finally got the granex onions which he explained were the variety used to grow the popular Vidalia onions.  Joel is in his 70s but gardening keeps him young.  He started out working, laid out the sets, and had them planted in no time.  He mentioned something about needing to build him a root cellar one day.
Planting onions on a cold blustery day in North Georgia, Jan. 31

Planting onions on a cold blustery day in North Georgia, Jan. 31

Joel said that he had red onions and some other kinds coming.  I’ll let you know what he does next.
The next thing I will be working on at the garden site will be to develop a six foot weed free border on the fence line that will make the transition from grass to garden a lot nicer, to lessen mowing maintenance, and to make room for flowers and collectibles.  I will also do an entrance planting for the new gate. I love ongoing projects.

As usual, I would just love for you click here to go to Amazon and purchase the ebook edition of my wonderful book, Requiem for a Redneck to go on your Kindle. I have also noticed that Amazon now has a free Kindle app for iphones and tablets. Is that cool or what?

If you want a consultation in your yard in N.W. Georgia, send me an email at wherdepony@bellsouth.net

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