Garden Tip 132:


I enjoy using hydrangea flowers when decorating for the holidays. It is the perfect way of bringing the garden indoors for the holiday season. Hydrangea flowers can be used to accent an evergreen swag, add dimension and color to a balsam wreath, as a garland for a mantle or rail, or simply arranged in a holiday vase.

I work mainly with paniculata-type flowers. They are at their peak of color now, so it is time to harvest these garden treasures. I cut flowers now and for the next few weeks. Each week the hues of pink, red, white and cream will change ever so slightly giving me a wide range of color options for the holidays.

Cutting is best done early in the day before the plants have a chance of getting stressed by the sun, and even better on a day following a rain. However, flower heads should be dry when cut. I cut the flower stems 14 to 18 inches long, remove the foliage, and place them in a bucket containing a couple of inches of water. They are then placed in the cellar for drying and, after a few weeks, I will have perfectly shaped hydrangea flowers that will hold their color all winter long!