Off with their Heads13th March 2015 • Timely Advice • Stephanie Donaldson
Now that it is feeling more and more like spring, I decided the moment had arrived to cut the old flowerheads off the hydrangeas. Getting the timing right can be a bit tricky – too soon and a frost can damage the new emerging buds, too late and there’s a risk the old flowerheads will get entangled with the new leaves and damage them as they are removed. I cut the stems back to a strong pair of buds, remove any weak and spindly growth, and remove the oldest stems close to the ground so that they are replaced by strong new growth – these new stems won’t flower in their first year, but it does mean that the plant is constantly regenerating. Hydrangeas love our garden and grow very tall, so most years (not this year because I’m opening the garden for our local hospice in June) I will choose one to cut right back to close to the ground and sacrifice a year’s worth of flowers to open views through the hydrangea forest!