Hydrangea Envy: the women who love them but can’t grow them

I have some really gorgeous hydrangeas sitting on my (messy) desk. A little spot of beauty in a sea of flotsam and jetsam. These particular hydrangeas, pink, are in a pretty basket with a polka-dotted pink bow on them.
I was at my desk Tuesday, when Carrie Engel from Valleyview Farms was on 11 News at noon….As soon as I saw she had my favorite flower with her, I grabbed my checkbook and headed up to the studio, and the moment she was off the air, said, “If no one else has called them, I want those hydrangeas!“. Carrie is so very kind, she gave them to me for more than a fair price, and now they are mine, all mine.
My relationship with hydrangeas, is…. complicated. I don’t really know why I like them so much…we didn’t have them around, growing up in Alabama…we had gardenia bushes that grew outside our door, and I usually had a gardenia clipped in my hair on Easter Sunday. I remember some tall hollyhocks, which when the blooms fell off, they look like a head, wearing a pleated dress….I used them as tiny dolls.(Gosh, that sounds so….sad, really, but it wasn’t.)
Anyway, we had no hydrangeas. But now, I covet them. Not like them a lot…covet them…am jealous of people who have huge bushes literally covered with blooms in the summer, seemingly with no effort. And I don’t really think they appreciate them…I’ll bet they don’t even cut a bouquet and take it indoors.
I can’t tell you how many times I have thought about stopping at a complete stranger’s door and asking if I can cut a few blossoms from their thousands of them, for a few bucks. I have never done this, as people at the door would think me a possibly dangerous, demented woman…and who could blame them? But the truth is, I can’t grow hydrangeas…those glorious mopheads, pink and blue and white too….Oh I’ve tried, really I have, and the bush comes back with green leaves. One year it gave me a single, rather spindly bloom. But nothing worth looking at. What is wrong with me? Or what’s wrong with my garden? Why can’t I grow hydrangeas too?
Perhaps one day I’ll discover the secret. In the meantime, I’ll buy them…no I won’t stop at your door, don’t worry….from a real store. And to give these particular pink hydrangeas a better home, I’ll clean up my desk…promise.

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