Photo: Andrzej Opejda/
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Make Shade an Ally

Hydrangeas grow in sun or shade in the Northwest, but Mix has discovered that the ones she plants in sun bloom for about two weeks, while those in shade stay in bloom for two months. In addition to blue mopheads, she especially loves Hydrangea paniculata 'Limelight' (shown), whose cone-shaped flower clusters are green when they first appear and then mature to white.

Wish you could put Mix's advice to work right now? You can. Shop for potted perennials in their full glory, dig holes where you want them, drop them in (pot and all), and enjoy. If you decide to change their locations, moving them is easy. Since perennials generally do best if planted in early spring or late fall, wait for them to begin to die back, then plant them properly. They'll be flush with color again this time next summer.
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