Blue, pink, white or bronze; how to dry hydrangea blossoms
This flower's name contains a clue to what kind of growing conditions it likes: hydrangeas love water! And this summer's wetter weather really made these bushes blossom and bloom. Right now, blue, pink and white hydrangeas are really thriving. Enjoy them while they are still in bloom, then learn how to preserve those petals to use in decorations this fall and winter.
Even into early fall, hydrangea bushes in Vermont are having a moment. Blue, pink or white, they continue to bloom and grow!
While you can enjoy hydrangea flowers outdoors, you can also bring them inside as a fresh arrangement or even dry the stems and blossoms to use in floral arrangements or decorations throughout the fall and winter.
Right now, to use the blossoms as cut flowers, pick them at the peak of their color. Because the stems have a lot of sap in them, it can block water from going up the stem and into the flower. So before you pop them into a vase of water, try re-cutting the stems underwater indoors. Cut small slits on the sides of the stem to allow the sap to flow out and still allow the passage of water up the stem.
When it comes to drying hydrangea, the key is patience. Hydrangea varieties that start out white, then turn bronze are easy to preserve. Once they're bronze, they are essentially already dried on the plant. From there, just cut the flowers, bring them inside and use them for arrangements.
To dry the blue and pink hydrangea flowers, give them time to age while still on the stem. If the petals feel papery to the touch, they are dried and ready to cut. Display them in arrangements with no water needed.
A question on why all invasive earthworms aren't considered beneficial
Q: Imagine if we started eradicating all earthworms because they were "invasive." Popular press stories on these new arrivals are long on the "jumping" and "Asian" aspects but never really explained why they won't fit in eventually as beneficially as European earthworms have. - W. Alexander, via email
A: All earthworms are, indeed, invasive species and not native to North America. The difference in the type is that Asian jumping worms eat a lot more organic material than European earthworms.
The difference is greatest in the soil that's left behind by each earthworm. The jumping worms' castings are not great for plants to thrive in, dries out very fast and is not high in nutrients. The European earthworms' castings are higher in nutrients.
A question on whether tea tree oil can be use to get rid of jumping worms
Q: Do you know if tea tree can work in eradicating jumping worms? - June, via email
A: Some recent research from The University of Wisconsin included the benefits of using tea tree meal, not extract. Tea tree meal is used an organic fertilizer, but it also seems to have an effect on Asian jumping worms. They're still experimenting but adding six to 12 pounds of this type of fertilizer per 1,000 square feet of soil could help.
And this note about identifitying earthworms: if the band that goes around the worm is flat on the surface, it's an Asian jumping worm. If that band is raised off the surface, it's a European earthworm.
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