Betty Montgomery is writing a book about hydrangeas

Betty Montgomery is writing a book about hydrangeas

Columnist Betty Montgomery has written her second book about one of her favorite plants. The book is titled “Hydrangea: How to Grow, Plant, and Enjoy.”

In her new book, Montgomery tells everything she knows about the plant she has grown all her life. She talks about the pros and cons of growing hydrangeas, offers tips on where to buy them and even how to arrange them in vases.

Hydrangea is perhaps one of America’s most beloved garden shrubs. Montgomery’s book examines seven cultivars including, smooth hydrangea (Arbiflora), large-leaved hydrangea (Macrophylla), panicle hydrangea (Paniculata), oakleaf hydrangea (Curcifolia), climbing hydrangea (Anomala subsp. petiularis), mountain hydrangea (Cerrata) and Curved hydrangea (Involocrat). ).

Other areas of the book cover planting, pruning and propagation. Montgomery’s list of favorites is valuable to the reader because she has nearly five decades of experience.

The best part of the book are the more than 175 color photographs of hydrangeas. Montgomery took more than 90 photos, but she said Dick Carr took the best ones.

Montgomery, who lives and works as a gardener in Spartanburg, gets her love of gardening from the encouragement she received from her parents.

And I learned some valuable tips from gardener Herman Whittaker. Teach her what she needs to know about soil. Montgomery was more familiar with sandy soils and had to learn about the needs of clay soils over the years.

Montgomery has about 150 varieties of hydrangeas in her two gardens right now. She started her collection of hydrangeas about 21 years ago.

When asked why there is a book about hydrangeas, she said, “The number one question I get asked over and over again is always about hydrangeas. Plus, I love this collection of plants!”

She said one of her favorite hydrangeas is the ‘snowflake’ (quercifolia). “The way the flower hangs down the plant along the bank is beautiful. Plus, the plant blooms for two months,” Montgomery said.

Her favorite tool is her shovel. When you plant a new plant, mix two cups of cottonseed meal into the soil before you plant the plant. Then, every two to three years, add more lime to the soil. If she wants the plants to be pink, she incorporates two cups of lemon into the hole when planting.

One of her favorite places in the garden is near the pond. She loves listening to the sounds of nature. She is married to Walter Montgomery and dedicated her book to him. They have four children and 14 grandchildren.

Montgomery’s first book, A Four-Season Southern Garden, was published in 2013. Her new book is available from Hub City Books, Carolina Farm, Wildlife and Staffords. In addition to her gardening work, Montgomery writes a gardening column for the Herald-Journal.

Linda Cobb is an accomplished gardener who lectures, teaches, and designs gardens in South Carolina. She can be reached at 864-574-8493 or email her at Visit her website at

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