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Although I suffered guilt pangs, I took a sick day this week to try to battle through a recurring bronchial infection. But I didn’t get any rest.

My trio of pups, overjoyed that I was spending the WHOLE day with them, knew instinctively I was too tired to argue and used me as their doorman and snack dispenser. When they finally settled down exhausted for their naps, I watched two episodes of “Too Cute” puppies on Animal Planet, then turned off the tube and thumbed through my stack of plant catalogs.

It wasn’t long until, high on “dirtdorphins,” I started a “must-have” list. At the top is a collection of hydrangeas that are new to me, and I can’t wait to add one or two to my garden this spring. The “Seaside Serenade” series from Monrovia features beautiful hydrangeas in white and pink, all hardy to USDA Zone 4. All are named for East Coast seaside locations.

“Cape Lookout” is described as offering “amazingly long-lasting” and large blooms that are pale green before turning pure white and aging to soft twilight pink. Foliage is dark bronze in the fall and stems are strong. They’ll perform in containers as well as in the landscape with partial shade to partial sun and may reach 3 feet wide and 3 ½ feet tall.

“Hatteras” has “stunning and long-lasting ruby-red colored blooms on a captivating mophead whose floral hues are not influenced by soil pH.” It’s a compact plant with bright green foliage and masses of flowers on sturdy stems. It requires partial shade to filtered sun and has the same dimensions as “Cape Lookout.”

“Martha’s Vineyard” is another pink-red mophead hydrangea that is not influenced by soil pH. Flowers develop a green tinge as they age, and the plant has pink to red to green blooms on the same shrub at the same time. It is a compact plant that can thrive in the ground or containers in partial shade to filtered sun.

Fans of lacecap hydrangeas will fall in love with “Cape May” with its huge blooms that turn pink or blue depending on the soil pH (or manipulated by making the soil either acidic or alkaline with special additives). Monrovia describes serrata or lacecap hydrangeas as the most winter-hardy of the macrophyllas with foliage that ages from green to red and burgundy. It’s a compact shrub for borders or in front of taller shrubs. It requires partial shade to filtered sun.

Finally, “Outer Banks” is a delicate, frilly lacecap hydrangea described as ideal for shady spaces or in filtered sun. Its blooms can be turned pink or blue depending on soil pH, and plants will reach up to 4 feet tall and wide.


Arts/Special Sections Editor

Special Sections Editor for the Courier

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