Growing Healthy Hydrangeas

Thursday, June 7th, 2012

I get asked a lot by friends and passing neighbors about the hydrangeas in our front yard.  We’ve been growing ours for over a decade and have several healthy plants that frame the porch ever summer, and I look forward to the multiple and easy bouquets they produce each year. 

There are dozens of varieties of hydrangeas, most are classified as mophead with ball shaped blooms or lacecap with flat delicate clusters.  We have three different varieties of mophead hydrangeas in our yard, the white ‘Anabelle’, the raspberry ‘Pink Shira’ and the delicate pink ‘Macrophylla’ by the front door.  

front yard hydrangeas

Truth is, we got lucky with this mophead variety in our front yard years ago.  We also planted a few bushes in our backyard (which gets hot afternoon sun) and we utterly failed trying to grow them there.  However, these hydrangeas in our east facing front yard grow healthy and tall with dozens of mophead blooms every year, and with minimal effort.  The lesson?  The biggest factor that contributes to healthy hydrangea growth is absolutely location. 

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Create an Inviting Outdoor Conversation Area

Thursday, May 17th, 2012

One of the things I’m looking forward to most in summer is lingering outside with friends and family on a warm evening while we sip beverages, barbeque, and enjoy the cool breezes that blow through the yard.  I’m sure you feel the same about your summer evenings too!  I invited my friend and fellow blogger Shannon of {aka} Design to be a contributor here and today she’ll be sharing a few ideas for creating that perfect inviting outdoor conversation zone which will guarantee your guests linger longer during the warmer summer months.  Please welcome Shannon as she shares her best tips on creating an inviting conversation area in your own yard. 

“Outdoor dining areas have long been popular in the warm summer months for parties, barbeques, and family get togethers.   There are so many fabulous ideas to be found both online and in print to inspire you to create a cozy eating area and conversation zone outdoors. 

With so many beautiful and affordable outdoor furniture sets available these days, it’s easy to create an outdoor conversation zone that works for your lifestyle.  But creating an area for lingering conversation is about more than just plopping down an outdoor sofa and some chairs.  Here are some tips for creating an inviting conversation outdoors in a space large or small!  

1. Create a Focal Point


firepit seating area

Parker Palm Springs

Build your conversation area around something interesting by creating a focal point.  This can take the form of a fire pit, a coffee table, or an outdoor ottoman to rest your feet.  By gathering your seating around something you make it easier to have face-to-face conversation.  The nice thing about a fire pit is it creates a campfire-type atmosphere for sharing stories – of the ghost-type or not – and is great for toasting marshmallows.  A coffee table or ottoman provides a place to set your drink or put up your feet, which is always a reason to stay a little longer. 


2. Layer Greenery

elle decor outdoor greenery


bhg greenery around outdoor sitting area


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