This is Why My Hydrangeas Don’t Bloom


This photo was taken on St. Patrick’s Day, the day this year which, at my latitude, happens to also be the equinox, or day when we have equal day and night lengths.

The actual equinox is 2 days later (St. Joseph’s Day this year, and about as early as it can fall).

Nevertheless, in my state, it’s snowing, it’s predicted to snow again on the equinox and it can snow well into May.


This is what my old-fashioned hydrangea macrophylla ‘Nikko Blue’ looks like right now. It’s been very warm, despite the late season snow nuisance. In fact, by the weekend, it will rocket up to 70 degrees, before falling back to something more seasonable.

But the warmth, and then the snow on top of the emerging buds, kills the flowers off of these old-fashioned hydrangeas every year.

Newer varieties, or varieties that bloom on new wood, are not killed by late freezes. Luckily I grow both kinds in my yard.

Spring Fever

The plants, it seems, can’t wait to get out of the ground.  There are, of course, the snowdrops, which will push through snow and ice to bloom.

This is a variety called galanthus flore pleno–they’re double.  Unless you cut them, bring them in the house and set the vase on a small mirror you can never truly enjoy the doubly ruffled interior but I still love them!

Elsewhere, though, now that the snow has receded (and here in New England, mud season is on the way!) all sorts of things are pushing out of the ground.

Ice Follies daffodils are poking out of the ground.  With all the critters in our Backyard Habitat, these are always foolproof.  It will be quite some time before they bloom because this garden is quite shaded at this time of year.

Here are the tiny rosettes of a sedum.

And here are the new leaves on a New England Aster.

Although we are a long time from bloom on all but the snowdrops, on a nice sunny day it’s great to see new life peeking out of the ground!

Spring Fever

I spent an hour this morning shoveling heavy wet snow off the driveway.  It was about half an inch of snow that almost an inch of sleet and rain had fallen into–and then the snow plow came by and threw some additional water, mud and grass onto the bottom portion of the driveway for good measure!

The extra special good news is that we’re supposed to have 2-4 more days of this delightful weather.  I’d welcome just plain old snow at this point–the snow blower can handle that.  This stuff is too wet for the snow blower and too little to bother bringing “kahuna” as my husband refers to the snowblower out for anyway.

So although I have a motherlode of houseplants–probably about 130 or so although there may be more–it was definitely time to bring in some spring color.  The tropicals over by the dining room table weren’t quite cutting it anymore, the ficus and all the foliage behind it weren’t doing me any good, and while the lemon tree was just lovely, its fruit is still months away from being edible.

So what I really needed was an old fashioned burst of spring color.  I went out and got a bouquet of tulips.  They’re lovely now and will be even better in a day or so when they open up.

Tulips are the only cut flower whose stems continue to grow after cutting.  This leads to some interesting–and sometimes undesired–results in a vase.  I’ve heard all sorts of remedies for this–an ounce of vodka in the water in the vase, piercing the stem of each tulip with a pin while the stem is underwater and so forth.  My favorite was told to me by a street vendor: 3 copper pennies in the vase; the older the pennies are the better.  I’m not sure if it works, but I do add the pennies to the vase.  I’ll usually get at least a week from a bouquet of tulips–but I do enjoy them as they gradually elongate and begin to look like a Van Gogh painting!