New England

November, 2011
Regional Report

Web Finds

Big Pumpkins.com
Did your pumpkin win a prize at the fair this year? If you didn't go home with a ribbon, you can improve your chances for next year's honors by visiting Big Pumpkins to find out all about growing a garden giant. Enjoy pictures of national prizewinners, connect online with other giant pumpkin enthusiasts, and find lots of tips and tricks for producing a behemoth.

Favorite or New Plant

Oak-leaf Hydrangea
All hydrangeas have eye-catching flowers, and this shade tolerant choice is no exception. Large, creamy white, pyramidal flower clusters light up the garden in summer, turning a bronzy-pink as they age. But oak-leaf hydrangea (Hydrangea quercifolia) adds to the show in the fall when its large, lobed leaves turn to shades of burgundy and purple. Once the leaves drop, shaggy cinnamon-colored bark is revealed. I grow the dwarf cultivar 'Pee Wee' that gets about four feet tall and wide. If you have room, 10-12 foot tall 'Alice' adds a dramatic accent. Widely available Snow Queen (H.q. 'Flemygea') bears large, erect flower clusters on a plant that gets 4-5 feet tall and 5-8 feet wide. Although oak leaf hydrangea can take full sun in our region, placing it in a shaded or partially shaded spot will deter Japanese beetles from feeding on its leaves. It blooms on old wood, so do any pruning before the end of July to avoid interfering with the next season's flowers.

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