I was out in the garden yesterday, swinging the pick axe. October has been fairly dry, and the clay soil has become like concrete. Yet not all of it is like that. There are plenty of places I have been improving for years, adding compost and mulch with the seasons, and in these areas the shovel will slice through with satisfying ease. But not the spot I chose to dig. Oh, no. That particular spot was all native, hard enough to test the metal of any shovel. It was time for the heavy, sharp pick axe.
It's all Carolyn's fault. This fellow blogger, of Carolyn's Shade Gardens, and whose professional opinion I enormously respect, commented on the following photo I published in my June post, A Look at the Front Garden. In my acid soil the 'Endless Summer' hydrangea is bright blue:
Carolyn said she wished the blue hydrangea was next to the blue bench, which is located in another part of the front garden. Of course! Technicolor! Why hadn't I thought of that? Yet there's no place for the bench next to the hydrangea, and I didn't want to move the large shrub. However, I remembered Carolyn's comment when I saw a small 'Endless Summer' hydrangea for sale this week. The plant even had a few hot house induced blooms for instant gratification, despite the fall weather. Here in Alabama, October is the perfect month for planting shrubs, so I determined to buy this one and plant it next to the blue bench.
So Carolyn, it's your fault I was huffing and puffing and swinging the pick axe like a member of a chain gang. I hope it's worth it! Here's the results of my efforts:
One can't tell from the photo, but the little hydrangea is several feet from the bench to allow room for growth. 'Endless Summer' will turn pink in basic soil and blue in acid. There's no guarantee it will be the same shade of blue as the original one, but I think it will be pretty whatever the color turns out to be. I amended the soil with some good, home-cooked compost, and I watered it well. Hydrangeas need a lot of water, so I'll be diligent to keep it hydrated. Cooler temperatures will help it to become well established before next summer's heat.
I hope the combination blue hydrangea/blue bench will live up to my vision. And to Carolyn's. I have been blogging for two years now, as of October 5, and in that time I have received many good tips and ideas from other garden bloggers. Thank you, Carolyn, and to you all who have supported and encouraged me and whose creative endeavors keep my own plans blossoming. Happy blogging and more gardening to you!