Plant of the Week: LET’S DANCE BIG BAND™ Bigleaf hydrangea

This week let’s take a look at a splashy, fun Proven Winners ColorChoice hydrangea introduction. It’s one of the newest members of our Let’s Dance remontant hydrangea series. If you’ve been waiting for a reason to celebrate, put on your dancing shoes because this hydrangea is ready to party from mid-summer until frost.

Let’s Dance Big Band™ is a hydrangea that lives up to its Let’s Dance moniker because it’s such a strong rebloomer. It’s named Big Band because it’s big – not in the size of the plant, but in the size of the blooms. The individual florets are large, and so is the entire inflorescence. And you don’t have to worry about flopping; we were careful to select a plant with stems sturdy enough to support these big-time blooms. After all, nobody wants a floppy dance partner…

Let’s Dance Big Band will grow to about 2.5′ tall and wide, so the plant itself is pretty small. That’s great news for most homeowners. Those big, mophead flowers will be pink or blue, depending on soil. The emerging flowers have an intriguing green-white eye that gives them a depth not always seen in mophead blooms. Thick, glossy foliage rounds out this plant’s beautiful garden presentation.

Like other H. macrophylla, these plants will grow in full sun or part shade and are good in USDA 5-9. But these aren’t like just any H. macrophylla. This series of bigleaf hydrangea has been bred for exceptionally cold weather hardiness. So while other “rebloomers” can’t seem to set blooms on new wood until deep into the growing season, this series survives winter better and sets blooms earlier. So even if those old wood blooms catch a late thaw-frost cycle, the new wood blooms emerge earlier than other brands, so even in colder climates, your plant will bloom while there’s still plenty of summer left to enjoy them.

Hydrangea time

It’s getting to be hydrangea time in gardens across northern America. Hydrangeas are budded up and about to burst into color. It’s no wonder towns and cities across the country use this popular plant as a reason to put on a party.

While many festival-type activities have been canceled, The Cape Cod Hydrangea Festival is still planning their annual event, July 10 – July 19. Cape Cod residents and visitors can enjoy beautiful gardens, and this year they can attend virtual learning events in lieu of in-person seminars. Those touring gardens will be required to wear face coverings and practice safe social distancing, but anyone can buy a ticket to the educational sessions and enjoy them from the mask-free comfort of your own home.

Our own Stacey Hirvela joins the three-speaker lineup at this year’s Virtual Hydrangea University, delivering the program “Hydrangea Obscura: Little Known Facts about your Favorite Plant.” Intriguing, yes?

The fee for a half-day of educational sessions is $45 for members of Heritage Museums & Gardens or the Cape Cod Hydrangea Society; and $55 for non-members. A bargain for those who may not have the time and funds to travel out east but still want to benefit from a great panel of hydrangea experts.

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