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Buying Crape Myrtles and Panicle Hydrangeas in Bloom

If I had room in my tiny garden for a crape myrtle or two, I’d buy them right now, when we can see exactly what color they are.  I never trust the photos on the tags or even less, the images online, which vary all over the place according to the monitor you see them on.  So whether it’s 100 degrees or not, I’d wait to buy these summer bloomers until they’re in all their glory.

But wait – Behnkes’ shrub-buyer Miri tells me crape myrtles aren’t just for large gardens that can accommodate 35-foot-tall specimens.  There are varieties now available as short as 2 feet – love those breeders!

Hydrangea Tardiva in my old garden, pruned to a fan shape.

The other shrub I can’t resist when I see them in bloom are panicle hydrangeas, like PeeGees and Tardivas.  In my former, much larger garden I had just one Tardiva and it must be putting on a grand show about now.  My next-door neighbors had a whole hedge of them in tree form in their front yard and pedestrians stopped to ask about them.

And like most hydrangeas, the blooms look good for months.  Below are some Tardivas already looking gorgeous on the Behnkes lot, and next to them, the treeform of PeeGee Hydrangea, which I’d love to see full-grown.  Anyone got one in their garden?

Hydrangea Tardiva (L) and Treeform PeeGee (R)

Posted by Susan Harris.

Stephanie Fleming was raised at Behnke’s Nurseries in Beltsville. Her Mom, Sonja, was one of Albert & Rose Behnke’s four children. She was weeding from the moment she could walk and hiding as soon as she was old enough to run, so many weeds, so little time. Although she quickly learned how to pull out a perennial and get taken off of weed pulling duty.

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