Wendy likes to set out young plants. Many of the hydrangeas she sets out come from mail-order nurseries, so the plants are little when they arrive. She also plants small cuttings that she has rooted. The smaller plants seem to be easier to establish. She does most of the work in the garden herself and doesn't want to haul big plants up the hillside. To ensure that each one gets a good start, she mixes peat and manure with the soil surrounding the root-balls.
In early spring, she top-dresses her plants with a granular 10-10-10 fertilizer. Wendy has a sprinkler system she uses when necessary. The hydrangeas let her know when they're dry. If they wilt in the afternoon, they are usually okay, but if they're flagging early in the morning, they need a drink.