Of woodchucks and hydrangeas

Tue. Aug. 8, 2017

Click below to listen to my 2 min. Garden Bite radio show:  Of woodchucks and hydrangeas

No, they’re not related.  It’s just that the 2 subjects came up!

Or should I say Whistle Pigs?  I have a friend who insists on calling woodchucks, whistlepigs.  Yes, it’s a funny word.

Woodchucks run amok!  That was what it seemed like in a discussion on a gardener chat board.  Lots of folks discussing how to get rid of unwanted critters.

Many talked of catching nuisance animals live and then releasing them “in the country”.  Well, then a lot of people who live “in the country” sounded off about giving them more problem critters than they already have.  So, what’s the best advice?

If you’re not willing to “dispatch” them, then perhaps hire a professional to trap them and either find an appropriate place to take them to, or in some instances, they will take them away and euthanize them in a humane manner.  Here are a couple of places that were suggested by other Master Gardeners:

Minnesota Nuisance Wildlife Control

Wisconsin Wildlife removal professional directory

Conley’s Wildlife Control

And from the Minnesota DNR here’s information on Living With Wildlife  Wisconsin DNR Urban Wildlife

Now from nuisance animals to, what was termed by one Master Gardener, the Endless Bummer!  I bought 3 ‘Endless Summer’ hydrangeas when they first came out back in the early 2000’s.  They were gorgeous, I amended the soil and planted them just like I was told.  They ALL died.  What we didn’t know then is that these guys need MOISTURE.

In the Upper Midwest, where the ‘Endless Summer’ series was created by Bailey Nurseries, you need to plant ‘Endless Summer’ in full sun, that means you also need to keep this plant watered.  They are thirsty plants!  You also need to acidify your soil if you want the blue color, the recommendation is a ph of 5 to 5.8.  Otherwise, in our more alkaline soil (normally around 7), the blooms will be pink.  This plant will flower on old AND new wood, that’s a bonus for those of us in Zone 4.  PS, I tried SEVERAL times to link to more information about ‘Endless Summer’ and the page would not come up….  Ironic?

Now for my FAV hydrangea:

I admit I love them around old homes.  They’re so old school!  Well, sort of.  The newer varieties are amazing.  ‘Incrediball’ descended from ‘Annabelle’, who’s been around for like forever.  And, unlike ‘Endless Summer’ has had almost all stellar reviews.  It’s flowerheads are enormous.

Hydrangea 'Incrediball'

Hydrangea ‘Incrediball’

This beauty has been on the market long enough to earn some street cred.  Or ‘garden’ cred!