Colorful flowers and cold weather do mix!

By Steve Bender
Winter Blue Hydrangea Blooms
Credit: Steve Bender

The latest Arctic blast has gardeners in a funk. They look outside and see nothing but brown. "Woe is us!" they wail. "We might as well stay in bed for the next two months!"

But wait! What if I told you a miraculous procedure could deliver you beautiful, colorful flowers all winter long? There is! All it takes is a $3.99 can of spray paint.

I got this idea from Atlanta garden designer Tara Dillard, who spray-paints her brown hydrangeas flowers blue for the winter. Why not? People go nuts over the repeat-blooming hydrangea called ‘Endless Summer.' Tara and I think there should be an ‘Endless Winter' too.

You've seen photos of my ‘Limelight' hydrangea before. I love it. It crowns itself with large white blossoms all summer. In fall, some of them even turn a little pink. But come cold weather, they turn light brown and stay that way until they fall off in spring.

WATCH: Grumpy's Guide to Hydrangeas

Such a waste. Brown is not an uplifting color. So I decided to treat the neighborhood to something they'd never seen before – a hydrangea in winter with bright blue flowers. I bought a can of Rustoleum American Accents gloss brilliant blue spray paint and went to work. The whole job took about 10 minutes. You should see those blue flowers when they're lit by the sun. It looks like a sapphire necklace out there. Every time I look at it, I feel happy. I'm sure the neighbors do too.

Winter Blue Hydrangea Bush
Credit: Steve Bender

Now, don't feel constrained to spray paint your hydrangeas the same color as I did. Cobalt, azure, ultramarine, and powder blue would look nice too, as would royal purple, violet, amethyst, grape, and mauve. Personally, I'd shy away from pink. It just doesn't seem like a good winter color. Yellow and orange are verboten. That would be downright tacky.

I hope you will follow my excellent example and bring cheer to your garden today. Sometimes the best cure for the winter blues are blues that come from a can.