Gardening for Dummies | How-To Plant Hydrangeas

I’ve aptly titled this blog post as “Gardening for Dummies” because we are just that when it comes to gardening; a couple-a dummies. But just like everything else we dive into, Google is always our best friend so we manage somehow.

I love hydrangeas. Not just like…love. It’s been somewhat of an obsession lately because I’ve been dying to plant some at our house for about a year now. I think Andrew is getting sick of hearing me gasp every time we pass a house with hydrangeas while driving around town. I’m sick with hydrangea-envy.

We have a pretty decent-sized garden at the end of our 2nd driveway that was a bit overgrown and messy when we first moved in. Thanks to our friends at  Lawn Ace, we eliminated most of the weeds and any plants that were dead and dying.

DIY and home improvement tips on gardening

Once we had a clean slate on our hands, we worked in drips and drabs to get the garden back up and running again. We tilled the soil, dug up a ton of crazy roots that were growing all over the place and paid close attention to any plants that were still surviving. Our first real stab at gardening was taken a little over a year ago when we planted some hostas. You can read all about planting hostas right here.

Planting hostas in your garden and other DIY gardening tips

We also added some black mulch to really make things pop. I’ve always been a fan of the way black mulch really accentuates landscaping and gardens. We also use Preen which includes weed control. Weeds definitely still make their way through, but not as much as they do sans mulch, so we are always pleased with the results.

So that brings you up to speed with our gardening endeavors so far. Mostly cleanup and then a little addition with some hostas. A few weekends ago when we were shopping at Lowe’s we noticed plenty of hydrangeas for sale so we had to go for it. We bought two, one blue and one pink.

Planting hydrangeas gardening tips

I’ve seen hydrangeas take on this gradient effect with coloring so I’m hoping that these two eventually start making some blueish, pinkish, purple-looking flowers as well. I’ve also heard that hydrangeas are really easy to manage and easy to grow. In addition, the instructions that came with these two indicated that they should be planted in part to full shade…bingo. That’s perfect for a couple of novice gardeners.

It seems like hydrangeas are really the perfect plant if you ask me. They are so pretty – I just love the vibrant colors –  and they will supposedly grow just about anywhere. I think they also look great against the black mulch and they are also seemingly easy to take care of (knock on wood). I’m hoping we can make these last and, if we’re lucky, they will grow to their full potential which is about 4 ft. x 4 ft. That would be amazing.

Now, as promised, a quick how-to for planting hydrangeas…

4 Easy Steps for Planting Hydrangeas

  1. Clear enough space to plant your hydrangeas (about 2 – 4 feet on all sides is preferable from what we’ve read).Planting hydrangeas and other gardening tips
  2. Dig a hole about 2 times the size of the root ball (the plant food-laden ball of soil in which your store-bought hydrangea is growing). You will obviously need to remove the plant, attached to root ball, from the plastic pot it came in.
  3. Place the plant in the hole so that the top of the root ball it is even with the ground.
  4. Fill in around the root ball, tamp the soil and cover with mulch.

It’s literally that easy. Enjoy!

Gardening tips for planting hydrangeas

Do you have a green thumb? Maybe you could share some gardening secrets with us, or just let us know what your favorite kind of flower or plant is. Follow us on Pinterest to see some of our greatest outdoor inspiration and like us on Facebook to stay connected on the go!


A Little Yard Work Never Hurt Anyone

It’s that time of year! Autumn/Fall/Harvest/whatever. It is quite possibly my favorite time of year. I enjoy the fall so much that I really don’t mind all the yard work. My Dad might have told you otherwise when I was 16, but hey, those were different times, man. You’ve gotten to know our yard, the vacant lot behind our house and the patches of grass that I keep mowing even though they aren’t mine. But I’m not complaining or anything. The small amount of maintenance needed on a yard like ours is well worth the effort.

Autumn leaves from the roof

The vacant lot still holds onto its remnants and debris from Hurricane Irene, and I think our yard absorbs a lot of the leaves that fall from the surviving trees back there. I think the end of summer and excess of leaves falling has taken its toll on our lawn. Both the front and back lawn have been looking patchy since we moved in. We also have a good bit of overgrowth in the form of weeds and ivy all over the place.
Spraying Ortho GroundClear
With the assistance of Lawn Ace’s Kevin Fidyk, we treated the ivy and weed patches with Ortho’s Groundclear.
Ortho GroundClear weed killer
It worked really well and cleared the areas except where the ivy was very dense and dark. Those patches cleared up after the second application.
Scotts E Z Seed
We also treated the baldest patches with Scotts E Z Seed before we got married and left for Mexico.When we got back, the patches were fairly full and healthy. Like magic. These were the areas we had heavily dropped the E Z Seed and had heavily watered. The rest of the lawn got a casual dusting followed by 2 days of rain. Those areas didn’t fair as well. If we have the time, I think we need to do a heavier spread across the entire lawn.
Tree pruning from the roof
The next task that needed tackling was tree pruning, so my Dad and I climbed up on the roof. Using a telescoping tree pruner that we bought at Lowe’s, we trimmed the branches that were jutting out over the roof and house. Not only did we get a lot done, but the view from up there was pretty cool. Maybe someday there will be a blog post about me building a secret roof deck. OK, probably not, but it was fun while it lasted.
Tree pruning big branch

Meanwhile, back on the ground… We had this one branch sticking out into the middle of the yard at eye level. You can see it in the photo above. We trimmed it and that really opened up our view of the backyard.

Backyard Tree Branch CutHopefully we’ve done enough work to keep our yard healthy through the winter, and if time allows we’ll put down some Fall/Winter fertilizer. New Jersey winters have always been unpredictable, and last year’s was a harsh one. We lived in an apartment and I felt like I was doing a lot of work. This could be an interesting next few months as we prepare for our first Winter in this home.