Observe my forlorn hydrangea Margot. She's eight or ten or who knows how old now with one lousy blossom.
This is all the flowering I can expect this summer as the hydrangea sets bud for the following season on the current season's woody stalks, which they more or less reliably do -- unless some Prince wanders by with loppers and in a fit of neatness (would that such a fit take hold in the garage) lops off the buds in September.
Which is precisely what happened last fall.
I was unaware of this tragic happenstance until a sorry dawn in March when I took a somnambulistic perambulation (that was SUCH FUN to write) through my garden patch, sleepily observing the this and the that, and noticed the plant's sharply nipped tips.
Bracing myself, I approached the only possible source of this mishap, and asked if perhaps he'd exceeded the boundaries I'd imposed on his pruning - which was supposed to be confined to the (for me) unreachable. Well. His Irish cheeks reddened and his bald patch began to mist and he insisted ... that it was the damn squirrels.
Squirrels, said I, do not have teeth like pruning shears, the branches would be nibbled not whacked. And he scurried away muttering something...
And so this year we have ONE flower, which is particularly tragic since we moved Margot last summer - or he did, while I supervised -- a terrifying feat in Washington's paralyzing heat. She'd grown so enormous that she could nearly shake hands with Phyllis across a path that one might (if one was of a mind to) call the ceremonial approach to the to the aforesaid garage. She'd spent last summer regaining her verve, and was fine and bushy until....
Yesterday, in what will be will be fashion, we off and went to Michael's, purveyors of largely hideous fake flowers among other craft items, where I scored a coup of sorts: three reasonably realistic green hydrangea branches at a buck a piece that, when poked among the bush's branches, appear to have blossomed there.