Regional Gardening Reports :: National Gardening Association

New England

July, 2010
Regional Report

Shows & Events

Tower Hill Botanic Garden Daylily Exhibit
View New England gardeners showing their best grown, best groomed daylily flowers at the Daylily Show & Exhibit at Tower Hill Botanic Garden in Boylston, Massachsetts on Saturday, July 10. This judged exhibition, sponsored by the New England Daylily Society, will showcase over 300 cultivars, from miniature to extra large, including double, spider and unusual form flowers. The show and exhibit will run from 1 pm to 5 pm. There will also be an ongoing daylily cultivation demonstration from 11 am to 1 pm and a daylily plant sale from 11 am to 2 pm. The cost is $10 for adults, $7 for seniors, $5 for youth, with members and children under 6 admitted free of charge. For more information, email or call 508-869-6111. For directions to Tower Hill Botanic Garden, visit

Favorite or New Plant

Panicle Hydrangea
Every year, Tower Hill Botanic Garden in Massachusetts selects a winner for its Cary Award as a way to highlight outstanding plants for New England home landscapes. This year's winner was Hydrangea paniculata and its many cultivars. An Asian native cultivated in the U.S. since the 1860s, panicle hydrangea is a great choice for our area, not only for it's showy flowers and mid to late summer season of bloom, but because its winter hardiness (to Zone 3 for some cultivars) and the fact that it flowers on new wood let it take whatever a New England winter dishes out. It's also fast growing, tolerant of many soils and part shade, and is usually pest and disease-free. The cultivar 'Grandiflora', better known as the Pee Gee hydrangea, is an old-fashioned favorite with large, conical flowerheads that open white, but turn an attractive, russet-rose color as they age. It gets 8-10' tall and wide, although you can keep it smaller by pruning in early spring just before it leafs out. There is also a smaller version available, H. paniculata 'Compacta', that grows to about 6' tall. Recently, breeders have given us host of new cultivars, including Quick Fire (H. paniculata 'Bulk') that comes into bloom about a month before most other varieties and whose flowers change rapidly from white to pink. Also new to the scene is H. paniculata 'Bombshell', a truly dwarf variety that grows only 2-3' tall and wide, blooms from early summer to fall and is reputed to have more flowers per plant than any other panicle hydrangea. I haven't grown 'Bombshell' yet myself, but of the cultivars I have grown, my personal favorite is the late-blooming 'Tardiva.' Its large flowerheads, with their mix of sterile and fertile blossoms, have a lacy gracefulness that is the perfect addition to my fall-themed hillside garden. As its airy flowers become tinged with pink, they echo the colors of silvery-pink Japanese anemones, crimson heleniums and cherry-red 'Alma Potschke' asters nearby, making an eye-catching garden picture as summer fades into autumn.


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