In my Gardens4u business, I design gardens based on the wishes and dreams of my clients. In a moment of silliness, as I was waiting for Premier Ford to allow me to get back into those gardens, I painted Gardens4me on the archway over the gate to my own backyard garden. That’s because they have been created according to my taste and no one else’s. My personal oasis of sorts. This post focuses on the June blooms in my gardens.
My own gardens are created just the way I love gardens….the style I aim for is called English Cottage Garden. I like when the plants, predominantly perennials with a shrub here and there, blend together, looking like they belong together. It takes a loooooong time to achieve this effect and is never quite “done.” I am always tweaking the look, moving, dividing and adding plants as I see fit. Although purple is my favourite colour in the garden (can you tell?) I do try to add contrasting colours to make each bloom “pop.” A variety of foliage shades and textures is a must too for my desired effect.
The following gallery of pictures is from my backyard. It seems the garden gets bigger each year and the lawn shrinks…
When we moved into this home years ago, the south-facing front yard was in full sun, but a dwarf blue spruce turned out not so dwarf, so I get part sun there now. This allows for a wider variety of plants…
These pictures were snapped just after a rainfall, that’s when they look the lushest. Although we have had an unusually hot June with very little rain (my lawn is already looking parched), next month the real heat lovers (roses and lilies) will be the feature…….stay tuned!
Some of my GARDENS4U gardens have blue hydrangeas and some have pink hydrangeas. A garden I was at recently had both.
We all know that blue and pink together make purple, so I was not surprised to see a few pale purple blossoms within the garden…
What Does the Blossom Colour Depend on?
The colour of your hydrangea blooms depends on the pH of your garden soil.
If you prefer your hydrangeas to be pink, make your soil alkaline (pH of 6.0-6.2) You can do this by adding garden lime to your soil.
If you would rather your hydrangeas be a blue color, lower your soil’s pH to the acidic side (between 5.2 and 5.5). Acidic soil can be achieved by adding 1/2 cup of wettable sulfur powder or other commercial soil acidifiers each spring. Pine needles or pine bark applied as a mulch also creates acidic soil conducive to blue hydrangeas. So does compost or composted manure. Some gardeners have had success using coffee grounds to provide acidic soil around their hydrangeas.
Testing Your Soil to Determine its pH
So, how do you know if your soil is acidic or alkaline? Try this simple soil pH test using ingredients from your kitchen:
Collect soil from different parts of your garden. If you have a large garden, you may want to label your containers. Styrofoam cups work well.
put 2 spoonfuls of soil into each of the several containers. (Two containers for each location)
Add 1/2 cup of vinegar to the soil in one container. If it fizzes, you have alkaline soil, with a pH between 7 and 8.
If it doesn’t fizz after doing the vinegar test, then add distilled water to the other container taken from the same location until the 2 teaspoons of soil are muddy. Add 1/2 cup baking soda. If it fizzes you have acidic soil, with a pH between 5 and 6.
If your soil doesn’t react at all it is neutral with a pH of close to 7.
Experiment with Soil pH
Once you get your soil’s pH figured out, try adding the appropriate soil amendments to just one side of a hydrangea bush to see if you can get both pink and blue blooms on one plant; perhaps you will end up with purple!
I have a passion for purple, especially purple flowers. When my daughter-in-law decided purple was the color she wanted in her bouquets and floral decorations, I was excited as I have lots of purple flowers in my gardens. I even planted extra purple flowering perennials just in case I didn’t have enough…
Too bad many of them didn’t bloom in time for the weddingthanks to the wet and cool spring Mother Nature gifted us with this year. To improvise, I borrowed purple blossoms from my clients’ garden to supplement the ones I did have in bloom to make bouquets and flower arrangements.
For the past week (now almost two weeks after the wedding) my passion for purple has been blooming in profusion in my gardens!