We had one of the best winters I could have asked for in my 30 years of living in Connecticut. There was only one unbearably cold weekend and very little snow.
But of course what is good for an aging gardener is not necessarily good for the garden. Ridiculously warm weather in December, January and early February, with no snow cover to speak of, do not do good things for woody plants when the temperature suddenly plummets to sub zero temperatures for days at a time on Valentine’s Day weekend, no less!
Very well established hydrangeas and roses, if they made it at all, came out of the winter looking as if they were dead. For these types of woody plants, which were already drought stressed, it was a type of Valentine’s Day massacre!
Many of us had already replaced most of our “fussier” hydrangeas with things like the various types of re-bloomers (Endless Summer™ is the best known of these) so we will have some bloom at some point.
But the biggest surprise in the garden is the smooth hydrangeas. I have 5 Invincibelle Spirit and an Incrediball hydrangea (all Proven Winners brand name plants that you can find in their distinctive white pots with the large “PW” on the side.) This is Incrediball. It is literally taking up one whole quarter of my perennial garden this year and dwarfing everything else in it–and I am thrilled.
Here are two Invincibelle Spirits, with an Endless Summer in the middle. One look at these plants side by side with my Endless Summers shows that not only did they come through the winter unscathed, but that they are going to bloom months before the Endless Summers are ready. In prior years, the two have always bloomed together.
So this is quite a treat, and an unexpected one at that.
I am hearing a commercial running right now for Invincibelle Spirit that promotes not only its hardiness but the fact that for every plant sold, $1 goes to breast cancer research. So far over $903,000 have been donated. You can read more about the plant–and the campaign–here.
While I love the continued donation for breast cancer research, I especially love the hardiness of these plants! It was an unexpected joy this spring.
Last year, these plants were covered in bees, wasps and a pollinating fly as well. It was a sight to behold.
If you don’t know or grow these plants and have a spot with 4 hours of morning sun (which is ideal–although mine are not so sited and they still do fine), I suggest you seek them out. You won’t be sorry!