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Today it’s ninety-five degrees and dry in Marietta, Georgia. It’s been hot, the ground parched all summer. The lakes are still down, watering allowed only three days a week, and my hydrangea is so thirsty. Two years ago for Mother’s Day my daughter gave me the pretty deciduous shrub with two pink clusters on it in a small pot wrapped in green foil paper. I nourished it, made sure it had the right mix of shade and sun. Then at the end of the season I planted it near the house where it would get light and shadows. The next year it sprouted five blue blossoms. I later learned that was because the acidic soil had changed the color from pink to blue. One of my neighbors said I could bring back the pink profusion by putting nails in the ground beside my foliage. I decided to keep the blue. When my daughter came to visit she said, “Mom, what happened to the plant I gave you? Did it die? Why did you buy a blue one?”
It took most of the day to convince her that she looked out the window at the …