How to Handle Hydrangeas

By , Special to The Christian Science Monitor

Hydrangeas' fleecy, cone-shaped blossoms can hang onto bushes for six months or longer; as late as November in some areas.

Their color changes subtly from day to day, from soft pink to bronze as the nights get cool.

If picked too soon, the clusters can shrivel. But just before a frost, the flowers get a papery texture and that is the time to clip them. For earthier colors, pick right after the frost.

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While the petals are fluffy, put the flowers in a vase with a small amount of water that will gradually evaporate.

Their delicate nature makes them a staple in dried arrangements and wreaths in every season. Months later, if you find the hydrangeas brittle and difficult to work with, place the blooms over a steaming pot or kettle just until they soften and are easier to work with. Do the same with statice or dampen it under the faucet.

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