I’m feeling old.  Partly because people exactly my age keep turning up dead in their beds (see:  Michael Jackson, Billy Mays).  Partly because my thumbs hurt a lot and I have to wonder, it is the rheumatiz?  But mostly I feel old because I love hydrangeas, and I have lots of them dotting my garden.  As any mid-century-American will tell you, hydrangeas are definitely old lady flowers.  I think they were the flower that Jem was vandalizing in To Kill a Mockingbird, while the old lady inside (see?) shrieked at him.

I don’t care.  Hydrangeas are the greatest plants because not only are they beautiful, but they are dead easy to grow.  Buy a potted hydrangea at the grocery store for 5 bucks, plant it in a sunny spot, and watch as, each year, it gets bigger and more profuse, yielding huge human-head-sized blooms of pink and blue for weeks and weeks during June and July.   In the autumn, boys love them because they burn so well when they’re dry.

Although I’m extremely non-domestic, I have learned a few little tricks over the years, including one on how to extend the indoor life of cut hydrangeas.  I used to make the mistake of cutting them with long stems and plopping them into tall vases inside.  At best, they lasted a few days before withering pathetically.

By accident, I cut a few stems too short one time and was forced to put the blooms in a shallow planter.  Voila!  They lasted for nearly TWO WEEKS.  Short stems are obviously the secret. 

Bonus:  the blooms look even more profuse spilling out of a small container – like the trick of putting a big bed in a small room for more dramatic effect – and you’ll feel like a talented, Martha-esque party planner with this lush arrangement on your table.

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