Last summer, I followed a long thread (41 comments) on Cold Climate Gardening discussing the attributes (or lack thereof) of the Endless Summer hydrangea. This cultivar is supposed to bloom continuously on new wood, thus enabling gardeners in colder zones to enjoy macrophylla blooms on a hardier plant.
Bah, humbug, said many of the CCG commenters, speaking of 1-2 measly blooms per season, bushes barely making it to 6 inches above ground, muddy coloring, and other horrors. Yet, this is a plant that has been hyped to high heaven and still is: “a range from Florida to Zone 4!,” “amazing prospects,” “Flowers virtually all season long!”
A couple days ago, I came across some verbiage for another new-and-improved hydrangea, “Blushing Bride:” As the ‘Blushing Bride’ continues to grow, it is continuously forming buds that will flower all season long. Prompt removal of the faded blooms will encourage new growth and even more new blooms. (Who promptly removes hydrangea blooms?)
How gullible do they think we are (you might ask)? Sadly, the horticultural marketing world has every reason to believe that gardeners are right up there with buyers of wrinkle cream and diet pills in America’s vast kingdom of suckers. Look at all the roses, especially hybrid teas, that bloom continuously, are strongly scented, and disease resistant. Then there are the first-year-bloom wisterias. Then there are all the full-sun plants marked for “partial shade.” (That’s my personal sucker cue.) Like the hydrangea, the promises are endless and free of any consequences. After all, who’s to say what might happen in any given yard with any given conditions, no matter how incredible.
I’m jilted every season by at least one plant if not many. Most recently, the culprits have been a brugmansia (never did anything), 3 veronicas (disappeared), and 3 rudbeckia maximas (don’t remember seeing them a few weeks after after I planted them). It’s easy (if horrible and scary), to check the mail order ones beccause I save the confirmation emails; plus, they’re the most hype-laden. This is why I grow so many annuals; they’re much easier to track and you learn your lesson in one season.
Though will we ever learn? Gardeners are easy to fleece.