Color me blue…

There are overcast, drizzly, cold days in late winter where the soul longs for the warmth of spring… color me blue…

Often when I need an outing, one of my favorite local haunts is not the coffee shop, but the local nursery for shopping therapy.

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Beautifully nestled under a high canopy on tiered terrain, the outdoor plant offerings are intertwined with mature gardens, a peaceful spot to meander the paths through beautifu,l well – maintained plants.

By the time I scout every inch outdoor and in… color me Pink!

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Camilla ‘Crimson Candles’

Locally owned, Homewood Nursery offers plants of course, gardening supplies, gift shop, greenhouses, helpful staff and a friendly cat.   DSC03621

Often, I’ve heard “their plants are expensive”… but I find them right in line… they offer larger size ornamentals …  which means more time and care to grow  and care for them…  and these plants always look healthy, full & beautiful.

Last week on a cold drizzly dismal day, I decided to refresh some indoor containers and needed some cactus planting mix.   I made my way around the outdoor garden in full foul weather gear to check out the new arrivals, then headed inside.

As I circled the aisles of the interior shop… checking out the seed and bulb selection… I grabbed my Cactus Mix and across the aisle was a pink point of purchase display — a product not new, but someone was smart enough to think of their customer in Brilliant packaging decisions.

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In a flash I knew exactly what it was and how to use it…  Color Me Pink, Color Me Blue.   A collaboration by Bonide  an 80-year-old company – “committed to providing the best possible solutions for Home, Lawn and Garden Pest Problems,” and Bailey Nurseries – a 4th generation breeding and production nursery of many new plant introductions and the popular Endless Summer Blooms Hydrangeas!

No matter how many times I have looked up the answer (in ten years as a Master Gardener) to what to use to change the color of Hydrangeas… I could never keep it straight in my mind.

I am a visual learner so this is exciting to see this useful photo imagery to solve a problem and being sold for it’s end use!

Now one can walk in, see the display and you know exactly which package to use, without pulling out the reading glasses, copious notes and searching packages of tiny print to confirm you have the right chemical product.

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So if you’re looking to change the color of your blooms – check it out.  I have not used the product,  I have researched the labels and they are both a safe, natural way, and in general tried & true methods – just in a user-friendly identifiable package…   (this tickles my Marketing background brain cells to no end).  Follow the package instructions and be patient.

Now not all Hydrangea blooms can be chemically altered.  Hydrangea macrophylla varieties – commonly known as Big Leaf, Mop head or French Hydrangea – are the only varieties that can be changed.

Let’s review the basics:

Step one – It is recommended you have your soil tested for pH which is a measure of Acid verses Alkaline in the soil which affects what you can grow and soil amendments to use.  This color thing is all about the amount of aluminum the plant can or cannot  suck up through it’s roots!

Acidic – if your soil pH comes in on a scale of 0-7 the pH would be Acidic.

  • Hydrangeas are Blue in Acid soil.

So to turn Blue to Pink  – you would add a cup of lime to raise the pH and turn it pink.

Alkaline On the other end of the pH scale, soils in the  7-14   pH range would be Alkaline.

  • Hydrangeas bloom Pink in Alkaline soil.

So to turn Pink to Blue – you would use Elemental Sulphur & Calcium Carbonite which is derived from Aluminum (what Color me Pink uses – a safer alternative (see package instructions) or aluminium sulphate – 1 Tablespoon  in a gallon of water around the roots every year.  You might also use powdered Alum found at your pharmacy and might purchase in a smaller quantity!

English: Hydrangea macrophylla Svenska: Hortensia

English: Hydrangea macrophylla Svenska: Hortensia (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I do know it is harder to turn Blue to Pink, and if you have Alkaline soil it might be easier to do this in a container, using a soil less potting mix which does not contain aluminum, therefore the pink will stay pink.

The Endless Summer Blooms collection – are Hydrangeas which blooms on both old and new wood… and they come in a variety of colors.  The site has great photos of Hydrangeas in containers… and ideas for under plantings… Might have to try a pink one yet at Entwined Garden.

I am so glad it’s officially spring!

Enjoy – living the  EntwinedLife

Jayme B

PS… Found this cool ph Chart  for the number impaired… too many AA’s!

NC Certified Environmental Educator

Garden Conservancy Regional Representative

JC Raulston Arboretum Volunteer

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5 thoughts on “Color me blue…

  1. Love hydrangeas. I just spent the day pruning them and getting ready for the next set of blooms. I enjoyed you photo.

  2. pbmgarden says:

    That’s a beautiful photograph of hydrangeas on your table. I’m so partial to blue ones, but none of them grow well for me.

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