Wednesday, December 26, 2012

10 Tips for Recycling cut Christmas Trees

When you are finished with your cut tree Crabapple LandscapExperts recommend that you do not simply throw it away; instead, recycle or upcycle it!  Here are some tips on alternative options for what to do with your tree after the holidays. 

Tips on Re-using the Christmas Tree

1.         Win one for the "Chipper”. Mulching programs are a fast-growing trend in communities across the nation. Large chipper/shredders are used to grind up the trees, and afterward the mulch is made available for use in residents’ gardens. Municipalities or sometimes Tree Companies or Big Box Stores garner good will by contributing to this effort. Make sure the tree is cleaned of ornaments, hooks, tinsel, garlands, etc. and drop it off at a yard to be chipped. Or ask a buddy. A neighbor may have a chipper/ shredder and be willing to shred a couple of neighbors each year.

2.                  Bottle Trees. Old Christmas Trees are the perfect vehicle for creating some yard art. Using sharp bypass pruners or large, two-handed ratchet loppers, clip branches off at about 6-8 inches out from the trunk, eliminating those that are not spaced evenly around the trunk by cutting flush. Anchor the tree upright in the ground then mount your collection of long-neck colored glass bottles on the branch-stubs for a down-home style garden ornament that looks well as the sunlight sifts down through the glass. Use the branches that were removed to loosely cover tender perennials, leaving plenty of air surrounding the crowns. 

3.       Wildlife Habitat. The National Wildlife Federation suggests that wildlife need places to hide in order to feel safe from people, predators and inclement weather, and awards Certified Wildlife Habitat registration to home landscapes that fulfill many needs.  Brush piles and dead Christmas trees are perfect hiding places. Lay the tree down in an out of the way area of the garden, perhaps near the wood pile or under cover of other evergreens to invite wild creatures to live at your home. 

4.         Bird Feeders. After removing all decorations prop the dead Christmas tree in the perennial bed and use it as a bird feeder and sanctuary. Hang with suet feeders, fresh fruit like orange or grapefruit halves, popcorn garlands, or seed feeders for thistle, black oil sunflower and millet seed.

5.     Call in the Cavalry. Telephone for an appointment to have the Boy Scouts or an environmental  non-profit group in the area pickup the tree and recycle it in return for a small donation (in the $5 range)  

6.     Barriers to Soil Erosion. Turn old trees into soil erosion barriers on river banks and lake shorelines. Use as beach stabilization to protect sand dunes and preserve beaches. Use dead trees as filters to manage delta sedimentation.  

8.          Fish Feeders. Back when we lived on a property with a half-acre earth-bottom pond, I submerged our old Christmas tree in the deep end to make a fishy refuge, egg-laying habitat and feeding areas for the bream, catfish, bass and bullfrogs to escape the alligator snapping turtle living there.  

9.      Be Crafty. Strip fragrant spruce or pine needles and put them in tiny cheesecloth drawstring bags to sweeten your next hot bath. Let the hot incoming water rush over them to make a fragrant soak. Or add a few to the dog's bed or hamster's cage to add a fresh, clean pine-y aroma. 
10.       Use mulch to pave Hiking Trails or Woodland Walkways. Parks, nature walks and larger properties use shredded evergreen trees as a free, renewable path material that is agreeable to the environment and cushions the steps of walkers and hikers! 

As a Last resort: put the tree out on the curb. The solid green waste removal guys often haul the tree away. Many areas collect trees during regular pickup schedules during the two weeks following Christmas, although there are often requirements for size, removing tinsel, ornaments, limitations on flocked trees, and so forth. Chop the tree into 3 or 4 foot sections for easier removal and put it with the green yard waste container.

Living, rooted trees. To avoid recycling issues, next year choose a living, rooted (container-grown or ball and burlapped) tree and then plant it in your landscape after Christmas. There are plenty of options for choosing a tree. Pre-dig the hole while the soil is still soft at the beginning of December, then plant the tree immediately after Christmas, and remember, living trees have a better survival rate in mild climates like metro-Atlanta.  

For Safety's Sake cautions people: do not burn a tinder-dry tree that is full of resin and apt to go up in an uncontrolled whoosh; not in the fire place and not even outdoors. 

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Voles and Moles- Landscape Scourge

Meadow Vole 

Although the names sound similar, moles and voles are entirely different landscape pests with different diets and different ways of affecting the landscape. CrabappleLandscapEXPERTS explain the differences between these animals. 

University of Maryland photo
Voles are tiny, brown, mouse-like rodents with big front teeth but short, stubby tails that create runs in the grass or burrow under the mulch at the soil line. They are vegetarians that are particularly damaging to landscape plantings during the winter when other food is scarce. Because Georgia Pine Voles are low on the food chain, they can reproduce rapidly, with litters every three weeks that build up tremendous (and voracious) colonies quickly (up to 300 voles per acre).

Vole damage- trunk is girdled
Voles are active both day and night all year long, and eat seeds, nuts, bulbs like tulips, rhizomes and tubers like iris, the solid crowns of perennials such as hosta and daylilies and even bark, girdling the trunks of your favorite hydrangeas or finest tree roses at ground level and killing them. One day a plant appears healthy and green and the next it looks a bit wilted. On closer inspection, though, the soil is moist and it does not need water.But if the gardener gives a leaf or branch a tug the entire plant comes up in your hand! All the roots have been severed from the stems or trunk and the plant is a goner.

Mole is nearly blind with only tiny ears
Moles are not rodents but are often confused because of the similar names, the appearance and tunneling habits. They are a bit larger, often with grey fur and specialized forefeet with powerful digging claws that do a “breast stroke” through porous soil. 

Moles are carnivorous hunters that search for earthworms, grubs and soil-dwelling insects. While they don’t eat landscape plants, their tunnels can expose the roots of shrubs and trees to air, provide access for plant-destructive voles, and cause  sprained ankles for people treading unknowingly among the tunnels.

Mole tunnels- unsightly + dangerous
Moles make unsightly tunnels under the ground in lawns or garden beds, rarely surfacing because they are essentially blind. These solitary, territorial creatures are typically limited to one or two per location, but they tunnel at a great rate (up to 15 feet an hour) and quickly can make a maze of a fine turf.

Give CrabappleLandscapEXPERTS a call to solve your digging animal pest problems at 770-940-9739. 

Digging Deeper: Georgia Cooperative Extension Service in Cobb County has put out a flier listing the differences

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

National Poinsettia Day is 12/12/12

Red bracts + tiny flowers
 12/12/12 is the last repeating date in our lifetimes, plus it is also designated National Poinsettia Day

Lighting up homes for the Christmas holiday, the poinsettia is a decorative houseplant (tender perennial) that blooms during the long nights and short days at the end of December, in sync with Christmas and the New Year. Ask your Crabapple Rep for an estimate to decorate your Rental Office or HOA Clubhouse with poinsettias next year! 

Modern Breeding
Modern breeding has created rainbows of poinsettias from red and pink to yellow and white, spotted and speckled, with variegated foliage and shapes from roses to stars. More than 100 cultivars are listed.

Pink edged with white
All this from a non-descript Mexican and South American native wildflower that the Aztecs called Cuitlaxochiti, meaning “star flower”. Also a medicinal plant, the sticky sap was used to control fevers. Contrary to popular belief, the plant is not poisonous and Poison Control Centers do not list it. However, the milky sap of all Euphorbias (poinsettias included) can irritate the skin.

Variety 'Ice Punch' 
In Mexico and Guatemala the flower is known as Noche Buena or “Christmas Eve”. 

Ambassador Joel Roberts Poinsett 
In English-speaking countries, poinsettias are named for Joel Roberts Poinsett, the first U.S. ambassador to Mexico, who became enamored of the wildflower in the 1820s. In 1826 he shipped plants to his plantation in South Carolina, introducing the Mexican wildflowers to the U.S. They grew well when transplanted to his greenhouse and the name “poinsettia” became the accepted name of the flower.  

In July 2002 the House of Representatives created Poinsettia Day that also honored Paul Ecke Jr., an Encinitas, California grower and breeder considered the “father of the modern poinsettia”. Until the 1990's, the Ecke family had a monopoly on a technique they discovered that caused seedlings to branch, creating bushy plants for sale throughout December. Wholesale poinsettias contribute $250M+ to the U.S. economy annually and are the best-selling houseplant in North America.

Yellow Bracts
Hate to Throw Away Plants?
Poinsettias hold their colorful blossoms long after the holidays, and can be carried over outdoors during the summer, eventually growing to be large shrubby plants, although tender and susceptible to freezing. They will bloom in subsequent winters if protected from frost and sheltered from electric lights after sunset throughout the autumn. This will cause flower buds to set and continue the annual blooming cycle.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Cool Season Winter Color

Metro-Atlanta properties that CrabappleLandscapExperts maintain enjoy moderate winter temperatures and a full array of cold season color in the form of annuals and biennials to brighten up the landscape even during the “dead of winter”

Crabapple can recommend many unusual color choices in  addition to the more familiar ones. 

Flower List
Violas (also known as “multflora pansies”) and Pansies are the first cool season annuals that come to mind. These flashy violet relatives bloom in color beds from October through April as though it were summer.

Daisy-like Calendulas come in shades of orange, yellow or peach and brighten up winter days. They are named for the calendar, and are said to bloom in every month of the calendar year.

Brilliant yellow Wallflowers (Cherianthus) can be recognized by their 4 petals. They are members of the Cruciferae Family (root word, cruci or cross-like and much more descriptive and helpful that the more modern Brassicaceae)   

Snapdragons in a rainbow of colors from white and yellow to pink and dark red come in tall or short growing varieties.  

Colorful Veggies
Rainbow Chard 
As far as the vegetables go, Rainbow Chard has a rich, fleshy texture and a bit of height.

Flowering Kale also  adds color to the winter landscape.

Brilliant emerald green of parsley is both beautiful and edible. 

Cilantro prefers cool weather, and doesn’t bolt (go to seed) as it does in hot weather.

Flowering Cabbage
Flowering Cabbage heads turn lavender or white and weather Atlanta winters beautifully. Eventually they will produce a flower stalk (known as bolting) but not until hot weather arrives.  

Unfortunately many weeds are also cool season annuals. They are wild-sown in late summer or early fall and sprout in winter or early spring. Crabapple is on top of this challenge with pre-emergent herbicide that is applied before they sprout will control winter annual weeds in turf.

For more information about adding cool season annuals to the properties you manage, contact your Crabapple LandscapExpert Rep at 770-740-9739. 

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Guide to Fast-Growing Shrubs

Forsythia in early spring

Property managers and/or Homeowners Association Reps sometimes ask for fast-growing shrubs to fill a need, but Crabapple LandscapEXPERTS caution that there are good and bad choices among fast-growers. Let us guide you and help you select choice shrubs for hedging or privacy. 

Fast-growing shrubs may quickly become rampant and often overgrow the space.Worse yet, invasive exotic plants from foreign lands can produce large crops of seed and spread indiscriminately.   

Fast-Growing Thugs:  

Overgrown Privet in flower
  • Ligustrum or Privet Extremely common and very fast-growing but it is also an exotic invasive plant ruining large stands of southeatern parks and forests.  
  • Leyland Cypress Fast growing but becomes much more huge than ever anticipated, with a circumference of 40 feet (!) and will soon outgrow nearly every location and certainly all but the very largest locations.   

Invasive Exotics Fast-growing Shrubs

Burning Bush fall color
The following five shrubs grow quickly but also produce bumper crops of seed that invade native forests and woodlands and spread like wildfire. These plants will out-compete native plants growing there, crowding out beloved plant species and creating solid stands of just that one type of plant. 
  • Burning Bush  Brilliant red fall foliage does not compensate for the spread of this Euonymus. 
  • Butterfly Bush Attractive to pollinators but if you must choose this invasive flowering shrub, be sure to select a sterile cultivar that does not set seed - newly introduced). 
  • Barberry Pricker bush but some cultivars have yellow, orange or red colorful folilage and some new sterile cultivars that do not set seed are being introduced. 
  • Lantana Quickly transforms from a low border perennial to a large shrub with too many seeds. 
  • Russian Olive Delightful fragrance in late fall/early winter, but beware both thorns and "olives". 
Knockout Roses
Crabapple Select: Good Choices for Well-Behaved, Rapid-Growing Shrubs 

  • Knockout Rose  Knockout roses in Atlanta bloom profusely at least 10 months of the year and are carefree once established. 
  • Forsythia Early spring burst of yellow grows quickly 
  • Tea Olive  Broad-leaf evergreen known for its enchanting fragrance each fall. 
  • Wax Myrtle, also known as Bayberry Delightful fragrance of twigs and waxy gray berries still used to make scented candles on this fast-growing evergreen shrub or small tree. 
  • Loropetalum Dark maroon-red foliage is evergreen, and shrubs are completely covered with pink or white tassel-like flowers in very early spring.
Your Crabapple Rep will be happy to help choose the very best fast-growing shrubs for the properties you manage; just give us a call 770-740-9739. 

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Violas vs Pansies-- What’s the best for the property you manage?

pale blue violas 
What's best for the properties you manage? 
Crabapple LandscapExperts can help property managers and HOA Reps differentiate between Violas and Pansies and help you select the best varieties for winter color in flower beds on the properties Crabapple maintains. 

When there is a choice, we recommend violas!

University of Georgia Horticulture Prof Dr. Allan Armitage agrees. In an amusing article in the April 28, 2009 issue of Greenhouse Growermagazine Armitage writes from the UGA Trial Garden, “Every year we've trialed pansies and violas. Our garden data shouts that violas are better performers, fill in faster, look better earlier and are more colorful than pansies. Every year! Yet, viola sales still lag ridiculously behind pansy sales in this country.

Violet Family
These small and showy Viola plants are part of a flowering Plant Family called the Violaceae, that grow around the world and have somewhere around 500 species that promiscuously hybridize with each other, given close proximity. The genus Viola includes biennial violas and pansies and perennial true violets (but not the tropical African Violet or Saintpaulia).

Border with Cabbage, Violas
Violas (a.k.a. Johnny Jump-Ups or Heartsease) are smaller, more perky with thicker petals and more cold tolerant. They fill in faster and look better more quickly. Remarkable advances in breeding have made Violas into "blooming idiots", shaking off low temperatures and adding brilliant bright colors to the landscape for 7 or 8 months during the cool part of the year, from October through April. 

DYK? All pansies, violets and violas are edible and add color and interest to tossed salads. Smaller violas are terrific candied and set on top of small squares of fudge.  

Candied Johnny-Jump-Ups
Recipe! Candied Violas and Violets 
Mix 2 t. water with an egg white and beat until frothy.
Coat each blossom in the egg mixture.
Sprinkle with superfine granulated sugar
Allow to dry. Store until enjoyed on cakes or brownies.

Although Pansy flowers are larger with flowers that fit into a perfect circle and (thanks to the breeders) a rainbow of colors, they need a few days to recuperate after particularly cold weather. The big, floppy petals are perfect to tear up and put in a tossed salad, adding color, interest and vitamins.

Atlanta Botanical Garden Horticulturists choose Violas
Dr. Armitage  memorably recommends Violas, coining the term, Multiflora Pansies.    
  • Trying to teach the consumer the differences between a viola and a pansy is like kicking a dead horse. Let's move on.
  • The adage "bigger is better" seems to be gospel when consumers are comparing violas and pansies on the retail bench. 
  •  If the word "viola" is not penetrating the market, let's borrow from the rose and petunia people and call them floribunda pansies. Not sexy, but at least instructional.  (Dr. Allan Armitage in Greenhouse Grower magazine April 28 2009 issue

Pansy petals fit a perfect circle 
Digging Deeper. For more information, go to the website of the Viola and Pansy Society.

photos copyright Geri Laufer, please give credit 

Tips to Prevent Water Erosion

Grand Canyon carved from stone by water erosion
Crabapple LandscapExperts consider and control water erosion when we assist you with landscaping on the properties you manage. 

Recently everyone has seen the impact of storms and hurricanes (Hurricane Sandy) on shoreline and beach erosion. But did you know? The annual impact energy of simple raindrops has been estimated to average approximately 30 billion foot-pounds or the equivalent of 10,000 pounds of TNT per square mile (!). The Grand Canyon is an extreme example of water erosion, cut out of stone over time.
Erosion is the process that wears away land surface by natural agents such as water, wind, ice or gravity. This week, the topic of wind erosion is highlighted on PBS-TV with Ken Burns' documentary, Dust Bowl,   Nov 18-19, 2012.

Gully eroding in Georgia red clay
Crabapple LandscapExperts find that water erosion is the most pesky and common form of erosion. As water flows over bare soil, it picks up particles. As velocity increases, the water action makes small rills and channels that turn into gullies if not stopped.

Vegetative Cover is extremely important, along with slope and soil type. 
Role of Plants:  
  • Absorb energy of raindrops 
  • Increase water-absorption capacity 
  • Evaporate water out of their leaves through transpiration (rain garden blog
  • Bind soil particles together into a structure 
  • Slow velocity of runoff water

Vegetative Cover carpets forest

Crabapple Strategies

By limiting the amount of vegetation removed, we can greatly reduce the possibility of soil erosion. We match the topography and our design plans to avoid unstable soil conditions. We consciously minimize the length of time that disturbed areas remain exposed. We work to stabilize impacted areas quickly.

There are a variety of strategies Crabapple LandscapExperts can use to slow and stop water erosion on the properties you manage. Talk to your Rep about:
  • Creating an undisturbed buffer zone 
  • Mulch 
  • Matting or bio-degradable soil blankets 
  • Hay bales 
  • Gravel- or rock-fill 
  • Hydroseeding 
  • Temporary or permanent plantings 
  • Retaining wall 
  • Rough grading (not fine grading) to allow vegetation to get established

Crabapple Service Area
Conquer man-made erosion problems by contacting your Crabapple LandscapExperts for their expertise in the metro-Atlanta area. 770-740-9739.

Photos Wiki Commons
Forest photo Geri Laufer

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Fall Leaf Clean-up

Science Behind Fall Color + Autumn Leaf Fall

It’s that time of year again, when brilliant autumn leaves are contrasted against the dark blue sky for Nature’s annual riot of color before somber winter. As the green chlorophyll in summer leaves decreases, other leaf pigments take over

Chlorophyll is replaced by orange carotene, yellow xanthophyll, and red, purple and magenta anthocyanin, using the same chemistry as the colorful antioxidants so important in the fruits and vegetables we eat (carrots, blueberries). 

What happens next? - Falling Leaves
While the leaves are changing color, a corky abscission layer between the twig and the base of the leaf-stem (petiole) begins to interrupt the upward flow of water and minerals from tree roots, and the leaf eventually dries out and falls to the ground. Just as different types of trees turn different colors (red maple, purple-red black gum, yellow Japanese maple), the amount of time that leaves persist on the trees also varies. The U.S.D.A. provides areally thorough discussion of fall foliage.  

American Beech Fall Leaves
Because the beautiful leaf colors fade like tissue paper left out in the sun, leaves that persist through the winter on some trees turn brown. Russet oak leaves, brown hickory leaves or beautiful cinnamon-tan American Beech leaves rustle in the forest throughout the winter.

What does this mean to Residents, HOA Reps and Property Managers? 
Because of this variability, leaf drop is an ongoing process lasting from November through late February or March. For example, the Pin Oaks retain fall leaves until new leaf buds push them off in early spring. Since leaves do not drop at once,  it is unrealistic to think that they can be cleaned up once and for all.

Old Man Wind
Wind is Another Factor
Consider the strong winds in metro-Atlanta from Hurricane Sandy last week. For example, if your Crabapple Team is scheduled to arrive in your ‘hood and the wind is gusting that day, spotless areas that we completely clean up may become covered with leaves blown in from another location minutes after we depart. This is the nature of Nature. 

Every Property is Unique
Some properties have natural areas where the LandscapExperts can blow the leaves. Leaves will be trapped by trees and shrubs growing in the natural area and will decompose naturally over the course of the year.

Other customers prefer that all the leaves are cleaned up and removed from the property. Due to differences in leaf drop on trees, this will be an ongoing effort from November through early March.

Did you know? Falling leaves are filled with nutrients taken up from the soil and accumulated during summer growth. Imagine an untouched forest ecosystem with a rich woodland soil. Vitamins, minerals and elaborated carbohydrates like sugars and starches in the leaves are returned to enrich the soil. When they fall to earth they are decomposed by earthworms, protozoa, arthropods, friendly fungi and beneficial bacteria naturally present in every soil in the world.

While other companies might haul this waste to a landfill, your Crabapple LandscapExperts have a recycling program in place that demonstrates our 20-year commitment to the Environment.
Crabapple's Earth Stewardship: Green Recycling 
Even when leaves are entirely removed from a property, the soil is not depleted because of Crabapple’s careful stewardship. We remove your leaves as desired and take them back to our HQ where they are composted in a massive compost pile turned by heavy equipment. Crabapple recycles more than 2,000 cubic yards of vegetative matter each year. This includes leaves, branches, weeds, brush and so forth that are shredded and added to the pile. Rich compost is returned to the properties we care for in the form of organic mulch that we use to top dress shrub beds and enrich annual color beds. 

Ask your Crabapple Rep if you would like more information about on the annual autumn leaf drop in the community you manage.  

Old Man Wind cartoon courtesy David Laufer

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

National Turf Evaluation Program and the Southeast

Crabapple LandscapExperts provide the cutting edge of lawn care and turf information for our commercial and residential customers. Some of the research available is available through Executive Director Kevin Morris of the National Turfgrass Evaluation Program, that regularly publishes the results of the National Turf Evaluation Program NTEP.  The entire report (including data)on Tall Fescue is available, while data fromprevious trials is also available.  

UGA Turf Specialists run turfgrass trials at the Griffin, Georgia Experiment Station and contribute their data to the final evaluation from the Georgia perspectiveSpecific to the metro-Atlanta area that Crabapple covers, fescue varieties Rhambler and Monet were designated top performers for Georgia and earned top honors for the southeast.

Crabapple Landscape Experts consider many aspects of turf grass varieties evaluated in the NTEP Guide to Quality : 
Genetic Color 
Winter Color
Seasonal Color and Color Retention
Spring Greenup
Leaf Texture (leaf width from coarse to fine)  
Density of the turf (plants and tillers or sideshoots)
Living Ground Cover (spread during the growing season)
Seedling Vigor/Establishment  
Resistance to Disease or Insect Damage
Quality under shade   
Traffic Tolerance /Compaction  
 Drought Tolerance  
Thatch Accumulation
Sod Strength
Mowing Quality or “Steminess  
Resistance to Poa Annua Invasion
Frost Tolerance or Winter Kill

To discuss renovating the turf on properties you manage, contact your Crabapple LandscapExpert Rep at 770-740-9739. 

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

4 Types of Hydrangeas

Mophead type Hydrangea

CrabappleLandscapExperts use these four types of Hydrangeas as easy-care flowering deciduous shrubs for shade or partial sun. The botanical name, Hydrangea, is based on "Hydro" meaning water, giving an indication that these woody ornamentals prefer moist soils. The LandscapExperts plant them where there is enough moisture in the soil that they will thrive.

Lace Cap
 Bigleaf a.k.a. Macrophylla Hydrangea
These are the familiar pink- or blue- flowered, deciduous shrubs that most people grew up with, and that tolerate shade and still flower profusely. They can be divided into 
  • Mophead composed of all sterile florets that look like balls, or 
  • Lacecap, a flatter style, which have an outer rim of sterile florets while the centers are composed of tiny fertile flowers (like an old fashioned lady’s lace cap). Bigleaf Hydrangeas are great as cut flowers or dried for autumn arrangements.   

Hydrangea arbroescens
 Arborescens  a.k.a. Annabelle Hydrangea
Native to North America, Annabelle Hydrangeas are large shrubs with huge, flat white flower heads to 10” in diameter. They are hardy and bloom in cold or hot areas, and so  easy to prune they are sometimes used as hedges.

Vanilla Strawberry variety
PeeGee  Hydrangea
P.G. stands for “paniculata Grandiflora” also large shrubs but with cone-like or panicle-shaped blooms. Limelight is a popular cultivar, with strong stems and blooms opening chartreuse and finishing white. Vanilla Strawberry is a yummy new cultivar with white cones changing to a compelling strawberry pink, although it remains to be seen whether or not the branches are strong enough to hold up the flower heads.  
Fall color, Oakleaf Hydrangea*
Oak leaf Hydrangea
Our favorite hydrangea is the native Oakleaf known as quercifolia (after Quercus for oak) known for  four seasons of beauty!  Oakleaf hydrangea leaves are notched and loosely resemble oak leaves; they are a leathery green in summer but turn brilliant red or deep maroon in autumn. In winter after the leaves fall, the bark exfoliates or peels in cinnamon strips; in spring, the new growth is silvery green.  The large white cones ornament the shrubs in summer, double or single white, then turning a soft pink and finally then fading to a rusty rose. 
This versatile genus provides many options for today's landscapes. Look for our upcoming gardening video about these 4 types of Hydrangeas. 

 * oakleaf hydrangea leaves photo thanks to Peggy Singlemann, Maymont blog