By Susan Dromey Heeter, Joyful Musings
Earlier this summer, I reminisced with friends over our childhood quests of eating candy. That was, indeed, our main objective – heading to Cumberland Farms or the nearest drugstore to score some sugar.
I was a fan of candy that lasted – Jujifruits, Lifesavers, and Swedish Fish. Other friends chose the more immediate gratification of Milky Ways, Snickers, and Three Musketeers. So, after our objectives had been met of buying candy, mine lasted.
Others would have eaten theirs immediately, while hours later, I would still be enjoying my Rollos or Sugar Daddy and loving the longevity of sweetness. And this joy in reminiscing and giggling over our respective choices got me thinking of the Sugar Mamma of the garden set – the lovely hydrangea.
Years ago, I went a bit crazy and found dozens of hydrangeas for sale at the end of September. Sad, half dead plants were practically being given away – and, I’ve since learned, fall is really the best time for planting. So, grabbed these little guys and planted them in my backyard. Without much of a plan, I just knew hydrangeas seemed a lovely plant. They looked easy enough to grow, they had lovely bouquets, and they just seemed lovely.
Alas, I had no idea just the bang for my buck these plants would provide. Much like Skittles, they last. They satisfy well after summer, well after the first bloom. As I write, my Pee Gee Hydrangeas are looking magnificently white and huge.
The small bush I planted years ago is now a great white wave in my backyard, so inviting, much like huge balls of snow in the middle of August. And the best part? Not only will they present this most beautiful white in late summer, they will change their color and become pinkish, mauve and last well into November with their color. AND they look lovely well into December, January…I’ve seen snow on these blooms and gasp. Kind of reminds me of those huge multicolored jaw breakers that would last for weeks – the Pee Gee hydrangea is a lot of bang for my buck and probably better for my teeth.
I’ve got Mop heads, Lace caps and Paniculatas Limelight varieties as well – and these, too, never let me down. I’ve even got a huge Hydrangea tree which was my very first foray into these plants; I found it on sale in the back of Home Depot for ten dollars. That was, indeed, a great investment. The hydrangea blue blooms are lovely providing some color amidst the white, such a glorious blue, such a lovely hue.
So, Joyful Musers, if you do enjoy a long lasting treat, do look around at these hydrangeas, these stars who, are not one hit wonders, but are classic, hard working, long lasting beauties well into the winter months.
And the best time to invest? Ah, this month and next, lazy late summer afternoons, early fall provide perfect times for digging a hole, putting in a plant, waiting for the surprise in spring…and, while you’re waiting, perhaps munch on some Pom Poms, Now ‘N Laters, or even a Twizzler or two. They last and satisfy and, let’s face it; it doesn’t get much better than that.
Susan Dromey Heeter, a writer from Dover who recently let her hair go au natural white, debuts her new column “Joyful Musings” at InDepthNH.org. Dromey Heeter is a secondary Spanish Teacher at Dover High School and the mother of two teenage daughters. Writing has been her passion since her English majoring days at the University of Massachusetts in Amherst. Dromey Heeter has lived in The Netherlands, Alaska and currently basks in all things New England, including the frigid winters. An avid swimmer, Dromey Heeter’s great passion is to bring back body surfing as most children have no idea how to ride waves without ridiculous boogie boards. She also writes about thrift shopping and all things frugal in a column called “Budget Vogue” for the New Hampshire Union Leader.