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Experts: Polar Vortex Has Crippled This Summer’s Hydrangea Bloom

Vibrant Blues, Pinks And Purples Not Expected Back In These Parts Until 2015

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OLD WESTBURY, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — You know summer is in full swing when you see those gorgeous blue hydrangea flowers — arguably the most popular shrubs in our area.

But, as CBS 2’s Carolyn Gusoff reported Friday, this year, the most common of the beloved hydrangea is missing from our landscape.

Daniel Kubovick’s front yard is bursting with color — all but his 70-year-old hydrangea plant, which never disappointed before this summer.

”This is all new growth … but no buds no flowers,” Kubovick said.

No big leaf hydrangea flowers across our region. Those ubiquitous mop-head flowers, usually a mid-summer garden staple, have been a no-show.

The perennial favorites that usually bloom to softball size in vibrant blues, pinks and purple have been yet another victim of the polar vortex, Gusoff reported.

“Because that winter was so harsh those buds got killed, unfortunately,” said landscape designer Rich Abate of Hicks Nurseries.

Abate said hydrangea flower buds form the year before they bloom, on old wood. But this year they were zapped by the extended winter, leaving many wonder where have all the hydrangeas have gone.

“I thought I was the only one,” one person said.

“My hydrangeas, they are sick,” another added.

Not even the impeccably manicured Old Westbury Gardens could escape the purge. In 200 acres of sprawling gardens, none of the big leaf or macrophylla hydrangeas flowered.

“The flower buds were just not there this year,” said Old Westbury Gardens director of horticulture Maura Brush. “Sometimes when you have something like this it reminds us that we should not put all our eggs in one basket.”

Instead, experts suggest going with heartier varieties.

Ironically, further north in New England big leaf hydrangeas are thriving, because they are used to the cold. But around here, only a few varieties managed to bloom — so there will be less blue color in the summer landscape this year.

“It’s a big disappointment,” Abate said.

There has been one silver lining: Because hydrangeas were denied a chance to flower this year, the experts say they’ve stored up energy, so next year’s blooms should be better than ever, Gusoff reported.

And it wasn’t just hydrangeas that didn’t flower. The cold winter also killed off many lilac and magnolia blooms this summer. But they, too, should bounce back next year, Gusoff reported.

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