Oakleaf hydrangeas and promotional trips

Here’s a good question from Lee:

“I bought two oakleaf hydrangeas…..this is their first full season. They were planted a year ago. They are lovely, have beautiful leaves, but no flowers, and they are only now starting to turn red. I live in a forested area, where they get only a couple of hours of sun. I have not fed them. I only use compost on my gardens. No artificial fertilizer.”

A. Well your planting sounds good but only a couple of hours of sun is probably not enough light. Move them to a slightly brighter spot (maybe up to four hours a day or more). Woody perennials such as the oakleaf hydrangea will take a couple of years before they strut their stuff, so don’t get too impatient with them. They’ll be with you for decades. Mulch them well this winter and do the moving in the spring. Everything’s late in turning colour this year, alas.

I went to my publisher Random House’s annual bash last night, and though you don’t make much money writing, you do get to meet wonderful people. In this case Hugh Brewster who has just been nominated for a GG for his very first book. Hugh has been a publisher, now he’s on the other side of the desk. He said: “We publishers used to meet in bars at all the book fairs and make fun of the whiney authors complaining about their promotional trips. Well I know why they whine now.” It seems he bought equipment, worked up an AV show for a group of librarians and trooped out to York Univeristy. Absolutely no one showed up. Trumped my worst one: doing a book signing at Indigo Books during an Ottawa Senators game last spring: three intrepid people showed up.
It’s bulb planting time coming up and I’ll spend the next couple of days talking about them: what I’m planting and why; and some great tips.