Today boys and girls we are going to talk about the summer blooming shrub known as Pee Gee. It’s real name is Hydrangea paniculata ‘Grandiflora’
, paniculata meaning upright and tall, grandiflora meaning large flowered. Hence the P. G. This is a deciduous hydrangea that grows well in full baking sun that would fry most of the other hydrangea cultivars, expecially the macrophyllas, macrophylli? It flowers on new growth so it can be pruned mercilessly without the loss of any flowers. The blooms begin as a greenish white in bud stage, opening to white then fading to pinkish brown tones as they dry before going all the way to tan for winter interest.
Ours are grown as standards, like the butterfly bushes, to give more room in the garden for growing things underneath. Click here
to read the butterfly bush standard story. The above photo shows our largest and most robust shrub at home in the yellow/white garden with too many branches on its top. When the flowers are open it will weigh down the stems to the point of breakage so it’s time for a little pruning.
I usually take off two thirds of the current season’s growth before the flowers have fully opened. Not to worry, there will be more bloom buds formed to take us into fall.
Here she is, with a spiffy new haircut.
On occasion we have left some of the lower branches to grow too large and had to do major surgery. Also we sometimes forget to loosen the copper wire that holds the trunk to the post for support and it binds into the woody growth. Bad gardener. But this shrub shrugs off such maltreament. We consider the knobby growth *character* on the trunk.
As you can see in this most recent photo, the flowers weigh down the branches even without being wet. Imagine what would happen if this tree had been left unpruned, the flowers would be dragging on the ground, if not broken off. It has happened before so we are vigilant with the pruning shears. Even these flowers could be cut and the bush would produce more flowers this season, but we are getting close to the end of that window of opportunity. These will be left to look pretty until next spring when the new green leaves begin to emerge. At that time there will be a hard pruning to give the beloved lollipop look.
The flowers are like a bridal bouquet, so crisp and fresh.
This is Pee Gee number two, growing in the shrub border. This plant has not been as vigorous as the one shown before. This bed gets less water and attention from the gardener. Last year it did not bloom at all. Upon inspection, the soil had washed away from the roots and they were completely exposed. We built up the base with compost and made a nice well wall to hold the water better on this slight slope. Extra water has been given and we have been rewarded with blooms this year. No pruning was needed but there are signs of new growth now. One big factor for this bush being less healthy is that it was moved early on with the building of the deck ramp. These two hydrangeas were planted by me on each side of the old concrete steps that led from the back door of the house next door that we bought, tore down and built a garage on the site. They were only in the ground one year when the one was moved to the shrub border to make way for the ramp that leads from the deck into the upper garden. Maybe it wasn’t planted as well as it should have been, or watered, or who knows? It is now getting some special care and we hope to see it need that extensive a pruning as its sister soon.
Also growing is this cutting from one of the prunings. It was stuck in the ground behind some rosemary bushes and forgotten about for a couple of years. It was discovered during a rosemary pruning session and planted on a stake in a prime position. No blooms yet but it looks healthy.
Another view from under the deck shows our little hydrangea standard with magic carpet spirea and white heathers behind. The trunk on this hydrangea will be straighter and smooth since it has been grown as a standard from the beginning, unlike the other two that were bushes in the beginning. We are also proud of the copper watering device seen in the back right that was found at a big box store for a fraction of the price these types of water sprinklers are normally sold. It looks like a work of art as the water is thrown by the revolving rings.
Under the deck is our bouquet from last years pruning. It still looks pretty since it is relatively dry under here. If left out in the elements, the petals soon turn black and yucky. Do you like the concrete pillar form as the vase?
Here are the new flowers to cheer us as we sit under the deck and contemplate the garden. They may have been picked too soon to hold their shape for a year. If they get droopy we will make a new bouquet, for there are plenty of blooms this year. Thanks again to the rain gods.
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