Sunday, March 28, 2021

Palm Sunday: Remember How This Whole Thing Works

It was relatively warm yesterday so I took the opportunity to prune the Quickfire and Little Limelight hydrangeas scattered around the front of the house. They were all still wearing their tan winter mopheads from last season that needed to be snipped in anticipation of a new season’s growth.

Against the backdrop of muffled kids’ voices playing basketball down the street the quietude allowed me to reflect on how perfect these hydrangea varieties are. They bloom early, provide numerous large flowers well into the fall. Starting out pure white they first turn a light blush growing into a deeper pink until by late fall, they are a deep, deep crimson. You can cut them all summer and they will continue to produce new flowers that you can leave on the bush all winter where they provide a lovely muted tan backdrop for winter snow. Come spring, since they bloom on new wood, you can prune them back to the size you wish and with the requisite sun, water and food, the cycle starts anew.

pears and hydrangeaAugust Quickfire bounty

The Little Limelights are also new wood bloomers whose blooms are smaller and start out – surprise! – lime green before turning pinkish towards fall.

hydrangea and sedumMy Little Limelights with Autumn Joy sedum

My backyard is filled with the older pee gee hydrangea macrophylla variety. They are a different breed and require entirely different handling in that they bloom on old wood. If pruned correctly they yield  huge blue or pink tones, depending you how acidic your soil is or how you amend it.


The Pee Gees were glorious in their youth, once I discovered their proper care and handling. But as the years marched on and they fell into full shade as all the trees matured they stopped blooming altogether. I should have transplanted them years ago, when both I and they were younger and stronger. Still, they provide a reliable green albeit barren border year after year that requires ever so little; just some water, a bit of nourishment and a haircut from time to time.

So on this fine Palm Sunday, as plans are made for the Resurrection, and rebirth begins across all of the Northern Hemisphere, let us reflect a bit on the lovely metaphor we’ve been given in the here and now, and remember how this whole thing works.


Birth, death, renewal. Ever shall it be thus.