Ah-ha! It's the Plant of the Week!

Hello and Happy Monday!

Last week I had just gotten back into the office after a fun-filled few days at MANTS, the Mid-Atlantic Nursery Trade Show, at the Baltimore Convention Center. There were two events during that time that were of particular interest to me, the GWA meet and greet on Wednesday evening and the Thursday morning MANTS media reception.

One of the people I met at the Wednesday evening event was Peggy Riccio. Peggy is a master gardener, active blogger, and resource person for everything plant-related in the VA, MD, and DC area through her blog, www.pegplant.com.

Peggy did a great write up of some of her favorite new products ("Peg's Picks") from MANTS. I also loved two of the companies she mentions, Womanswork, which  specializes in gardening gear for women, such as gardening gloves, hats, and aprons, and Organic Mechanics. Mark Highland, owner of Organic Mechanics, gave a great presentation Thursday morning on Biochar enhanced soil amendment for the green industry. Very impressive stuff, I hope to trial it in my garden this summer.

Click here to have a look at the rest of Peggy's blog to see who else made her "picks" from MANTS.

More reflections on MANTS next week, in the meantime, here's Jane's Plant of the Week:

An "Ah-Ha!" moment!
The Tuff Stuff™ reblooming hydrangeas are staff favorites here at Spring Meadow Nursery. Strong growers and reliable bloomers, these are plants both the growers and the sales team love.

Tuff Stuff Ah-Ha™ is the newest addition to the series, and brings us exceptionally large flowers. The distinctive florets are doubled so they look like waterlilies - how could anyone resist these beautiful blooms? You can't. And you don't have to - they will bloom on new wood so even if they're damaged in fall or winter they will flower the following year.

The Tuff Stuff™ hydrangeas are all hardy to USDA 5 and will grow in full sun or partial shade. Tuff Stuff Ah-Ha™ Hydrangea serrata will grow 2-3' tall. 

H. serrata is very similar to H. macrophylla, but have better bud hardiness. This is reflected in the common name, mountain hydrangea. Plants native to mountainous regions (like H. serrata) have to tolerate dramatic temperature swings. So the flower buds of mountain hydrangeas will take those late spring cold snaps better than the coastal H. macrophylla.

The Tuff Stuff™ plants are all rebloomers, so even if the buds are damaged over winter (or by untimely pruning) there will still be flowers later in the season.

Like H. macrophylla, the bloom color of H. serrata is affected by soil. It can take some time for soil treatments to change flower color. So if you're looking for blue flowers on your spring 2018 plants I hope you've already got that process underway. Here's a good resource on changing hydrangea flower color.

We find that hydrangeas generate more questions on the Proven Winners® feedback site than any other genus. So we've created a useful pdf about them that you are welcome to share. They may also appreciate this Garden Answer video that illustrates the different species and will help gardeners identify what they have in their gardens.

Plant of the Week is written by Jane Beggs-Joles

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