New England

April, 2008
Regional Report

Clever Gardening Technique

Reducing Floppy Hydrangea Flowers
'Annabelle' is a white Hydrangea arborescens that blooms on new wood so it's a good choice for northern climates. It may die to the ground during winter but will resprout in spring. The main drawback is that the flower heads are so large, the stems sometimes have trouble supporting them, especially after a rainstorm. Here are a few things you can do: (1) plant several together so they help support each other, (2) avoid pruning so the stems (if they make it through the winter) will expand in diameter and provide more support, and also the flower heads will be slightly smaller and therefore lighter; and (3) surround the plant with plastic-coated wire fencing that will disappear under the foliage but provide support.

Books

The Wildlife Gardener's Guide
If it's published by the Brooklyn Botanic Garden, it's bound to be excellent, and The Wildlife Gardener's Guide, by Janet Marinelli is no exception. You'll learn the nesting box requirements of many birds, details on building bat houses and bee houses to support those populations, flower and plant preferences of many creatures, and more. There's a lot of info packed into 120 pages.

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