GETTING TOUGH WITH GARDEN UNDERPERFORMERS

One of the luxuries of having a large yard with lots of room to garden is that almost every plant can have a place in it somewhere. Even if you don't particularly like a specific plant, you can usually find an out of the way corner that needs a few plants.

As far as I can recall, I have only expelled a living shrub from my garden twice.

The first was a rose of sharon that was notoriously late to leaf out, rarely bloomed and took up a lot of valuable garden real estate (I wrote about how it earned a reprieve one year here, but that didn't last long). I gave it to my sister-in-law who planted it alongside her driveway where it has thrived.

The second time was just last week. One of the first shrubs I planted at our house was and Endless Summer hydrangea. I think it might have been the first shrub with a serious marketing campaign behind it. If you recall, the Endless Summer hydrangea was touted to be the superhero of all plants. It's blue AND pink! It blooms on new and old wood! It's the answer to all your hydrangea prayers.

Yeah, well, it wasn't. Endless Summer quickly became and endless bummer. The bloom color, like those on most hydrangeas is dictated by the acidity of soil, which meant mine were always going to be pink. And blooming on new and old wood was a joke. The buds were not hardy in my zone so any on old wood froze out during the winter and the new growth might produce, at most, three very modest flowers.

And yet, I've let that thing live there (where it was supposed to cover up the electricity meter) for close to a decade. Oh sure the foliage was fine, but nothing special.

Finally this year I decided it had to go. And I was so fed up with it that it was excommunicated. I potted it up and sent it to my mom's house, where an empty spot by a fence will become its new home.

Wine and Roses Weigela

In its place is a 'Wine and Roses' Weigela. I was really looking for 'Fine Wine' but couldn't find it and this is close. It has lovely dark foliage, which I'm beginning to appreciate more and more, and bright pink blooms in late spring.

It's a bit dwarfed by the daylily in front of it, but that's due for dividing, which I'll do after it finishes flowering.
Wine and Roses weigela

Let's home 'Wine and Roses' does well there. After waiting out that Endless Summer all those years, I think I deserve it.

6 comments :

  1. I had the same trouble with my Endless Summer hydrangeas too, and the several I had finally conked out this past year after last summer's drought and the very cold winter. My Rose of Sharon bloomed well and was getting larger each year, until it died back to the ground over the winter and showed no signs of life. I was about ready to dig it out, after waiting an extra long period, when I noticed the other day -- in late JUNE! -- that it was actually alive after all and had new growth from the base -- but this means starting over from a small size again.... sigh.

    I hope your new weigela does well in it's new spot. -Beth

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  2. I heard that Hydrangea called endless hype by some plants people! I always intended to have lots of purple foliage but somehow I've ended up with yellow-green instead. I need to work on that but no room for a big shrub like yours, alas.

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  3. Ooh, the bane of my existence right now are those hydrangeas that promise to bloom effortlessly! I have three in an area I'm trying to make exclusively hydrangeas. It's not working. I'm going to have to get ruthless too. But not this year. Maybe give it a reprieve? One more year?

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  4. Great post, Erin! So true for many of us gardeners. Why do we put up with these underperformers for so long? I've been nurturing a bunch of white Siberian irises for 5 years, and they always frustrate each season: the foliage turns yellow; the flowers last half a day; they are sparse and weedy looking, etc. I guess gardening is all about patience but this gardener has had it! Those Siberians are coming out! Have a wonderful 4th - L

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  5. I tossed my Endless Summer, too. I toss all wimpy plants. I'll transplant them a few times in case I've planted them in the wrong spot but if they're determined to be underwhelming, out they go! Your dwarf weigela is a great plant. :o)

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  6. I am sooo with you on the endless summer can be a bummer! It only bloomed one flower so far, so next year if it doesn't perform I am going back to the tardiva diva variety! Wine and roses weigela has been doing good for me I have 2 of those in the backyard and with 6 hours of sun they are blooming twice a year and grow pretty fast too...so I hope you get the same results!

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