Hydrangeas can generally be broken down into two main groups: mopheads and lacecaps. Each group contains a gorgeous assortment of species and varieties. We’ll discuss some of our favorites and give you ideas about how you can use them in your garden. We’ll also show you some other great selections in the hydrangea clan, including oakleaf, paniculata, and climbing hydrangea so you can pick the best ones for you, and give you tips on how to care for hydrangeas, too.
Mophead hydrangeas offer big dome-shape clusters of flowers in blue, pink, or white. Most mopheads bloom in late spring or early summer but make their flower buds the year before you see them. As you care for this type of hydrangea, know that it is best to prune them is in early summer, right after the flowers fade.
Most mopheads grow best in a spot with moist, well-drained soil and a bit of afternoon shade.
One of the showiest mophead hydrangeas you can grow, Big Daddy Hydrangea macrophyllafeatures huge (14 inch-wide) clusters of blue or pink blooms. The long-lasting flowers are great for cutting because they have strong stems. It grows 6 feet tall and wide. Zones 5-9
One note: Because the flowers are so large, the stems can flop if you grow the plant in extra-rich soil or too much shade.
A relatively new mophead variety, Pink ShiraHydrangea macrophylla is a favorite for its strong stems, compact habit, and long-lasting blooms. Its flowers start out a lovely shade of lime green then turn pink or lavender (this one doesn’t go blue. It grows 5 feet tall and 6 feet wide. Zones 5-9
Cityline Paris Hydrangea macrophylla is another recent mophead introduction that stands out because of its upright stems and compact habit. It features bright fuchsia-pink flowers that last a long time then fade to a lovely shade of green in summer. It grows 3 feet tall and 4 feet wide. Zones 5-9
A sister to Cityline Paris, Cityline BerlinHydrangea macrophylla offers larger flowers on the same tight habit and strong stems. The flowers on this mophead aren’t as brightly colored as its sister, but they last just as long. It grows 3 feet tall and 4 feet wide. 5-9
Black-stem hydrangea (Hydrangea macrophylla ‘Nigra’) has beautiful mophead flowers, but as its name suggests, the stems are what stand out. They are a dark purple-black color that contrasts against the green foliage and pastel blue or pink blooms. It grows 6 feet tall and wide. Zones 6-9
Sun Goddess Hydrangea
Flowers aren’t the only reason to grow hydrangeas; some have stunning foliage, as well. Sun Goddess Hydrangea macrophylla is one great example; this mophead features bright golden-green foliage that lights up the shade garden. Sun Goddess grows 5 feet tall and wide. Zones 6-9 Other hydrangeas that feature golden foliage include Lemon Daddy and ‘Lemon Zest’.
Lacecap hydrangeas give the garden a more delicate look. Instead of producing a one big rounded cluster of showy florets, they form a flower head composed of a ring of colorful florets surrounding a lacy cluster of small florets. Lacecap hydrangeas have similar cultural needs as their mophead cousins, mainly differing in flower form.
Bits of Lace
Bits of Lace Hydrangea macrophylla features lacecaps of large white florets that are strongly blushed with pink. The large florets surround a lacy group of smaller pink ones. This selection also offers sturdy stems and dark green foliage. As you learn how to care for hydrangeas, make sure to understand theirhardiness zone restrictions. This one grows 5 feet tall and wide. Zones 5-9
Considered one of best lacecaps, Hydrangea macrophylla ‘Lanarth White’ shows off large clusters of white florets faintly blushed with blue or pink. Its stiff stems keep the spectacular flowers standing upright. It grows 4 feet tall and wide. Zones 5-9
Rough-leaf hydrangea (Hydrangea villosa) is a favorite of gardeners in areas of the South and Northwest and is a little more exotic-looking than your average lacecap. It features long, narrow, hairy foliage and blooms in late summer and fall. It’s also much larger, growing to 12 feet tall and wide. Zones 7-9
Ruth Maxant Schultz owns goats and has teamed up with the town to employ them to clear unwanted greenery across from the transfer station for the summer.
Last fall, Schultz proposed the idea to Mark Wetzel, director of the Department of Public Works. She had been reading articles about how the government was using goats to clean up federal land and thought her goats could provide similar services.
“I kept sending him (Wetzel) links and articles about the goats,” Schultz said. “He was very appreciative and receptive when I mentioned the goats and having them clean up the transfer station.”
The goats started working for the town this past fall and it was decided they were needed again for the summer.
“It’s relatively easy and inexpensive to have the goats out there,” Wetzel said. “It’s better than mobilizing heavy equipment, which is hard to get into that area anyway.”
The goats are out at the transfer station chowing down on greenery almost every day. Schultz brings them in the morning and picks them back up at night.
“It’s so easy for me to get them here,” Schultz said. “I don’t have to bring water or food or anything. It’s a perfect situation.”
Each goat earns $1 an hour. Wetzel said there are 7-25 goats at the transfer station.
“When they work they eat the greenery, twigs, poison ivy, so you don’t need to come in with a shredder or anything else,” Schultz said.
“If they eat it often enough, it just won’t exist anymore and you’ll have a nice manicured lawn.”The goats are protected in the area due to a chain link fence keeping them inside. But they have escaped a few times.
“Last year, they did find a place where the fence was a little too high and they crawled underneath it,” Schultz said. “I’ll have to do a little patching but they’re really good at getting out of places. ”
Schultz’s goats not only work for Ayer but have begun clearing greenery in Littleton. She also has had people from town reach out to her about having the goats clear in their yards.
“Last year, I took the goats over to people’s houses to eat the poison ivy,” Schultz said. “I’d be happy to have the goats going out to eat ivy or whatever people want them to.”
Although the goats are able to eat a lot of different things, they can get sick from overeating, said Schultz. She said if people see them, it’s okay to pull greens from the side of the road for them, but she does not encourage giving them human food.
“Even though they eat a lot of stuff they still can get sick and die from it,” she said.
The goats are expected to work all summer, except for rainy days.
“The goats like to eat and we have a lot of brush for them,” Wetzel said. “They’re happy to be there.”
And the DPW is happy to have them.
By Stephanie Michaud, Correspondent
Read more: http://www.nashobapublishing.com/community_news/ci_28600897/goats-payroll#ixzz3ibU6TMrA
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If you are a first-time home buyer who has been looking for the perfect opportunity to buy a new home, then the time is now. The current real estate market is perfect for everything from buying a new home to investing in the real estate market, which is why first-time home buyers and investors have been going head to head and competing for the best real estate on the market.
Why, exactly, is now a great time for first time home buyers to purchase a new home? From incredible deals on foreclosure and short sales to low interest rates and a projection for rising home prices in the future, now is the perfect real estate market for first-time home buyers.
Short Sales and Bank-Owned Homes
If you are a first-time home buyer looking to buy a new home in the current real estate market then you are more than likely looking for the best deals possible. Fortunately, with the number of foreclosures and short sales on the market, you can find discounted properties that are well below market value, which essentially allows for a lower monthly mortgage payment.
In fact, with the tax break on short sales that allows struggling homeowners to avoid paying federal taxes on their unpaid mortgages set to expire December 31, there are a ton of short sale properties currently on the market. Therefore, if you are in the market to buy your first home then start looking today, especially if you are interested in short sales and other distressed properties.
Plus, with mortgage rates still remaining incredibly low, there is nothing better than for a first-time home buyer to be able to purchase a home below market value and secure an incredibly low mortgage rate. This is the perfect recipe for a low monthly mortgage payment.
Rising Home Prices
Some people may be wondering “Why now?” The simple answer to that question essentially revolves around one thing: home prices. Home prices have already started to rise as the real estate market makes progress toward recovery; however, predictions for 2013 include home prices continuing to increase as the real estate market strengthens. Therefore, if you are looking to buy a new home for a discounted price, then do so now before home prices rise.
In conclusion, with the high number of distressed properties (including short sales and foreclosures) still on the market and low home prices (coupled with low mortgage rates), now is the perfect time for first-time home buyers to obtain a new home for well below market value and secure a lower mortgage payment. So, if you are a first time home buyer, start your search for your dream home today!
Read more: http://www.businessinsider.com/the-perfect-real-estate-market-for-first-time-home-buyers-2012-12#ixzz2F1y4et49