Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Incredible String Band – "Waiting for You" (1971)

Yes, the hydrangeas do look divine
This time of the year

If you took chemistry in high school, you probably remember that if a solution turns litmus paper red, it’s acidic.  If a solution turns litmus paper blue, it’s alkaline (or basic). 

The opposite is true of hydrangeas.  Most hydrangeas produce pink flowers in alkaline soil and blue flowers in acidic soil.

The acidity or alkalinity of the soil isn’t directly responsible for whether a hydrangea’s blossoms are blue or pink.  What matters is the concentration of aluminum in the soil.  But aluminum is more easily absorbed by a hydrangea when the soil is acidic, which is why pH affects the color of hydrangea flowers.

So if your hydrangeas are pink and you want them to be blue, amend the soil with enough acidifier to lower its pH and increase the uptake of aluminum.

If you want pink hydrangeas, raise the pH by adding lime to the soil around the hydrangea.

It may take some time for the hydrangeas to react to the change in soil pH, so be patient.

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My recent visit to Cape Cod, Martha’s Vineyard, and Nantucket came at the height of hydrangea-flowering season.  There were hydrangeas everywhere – and I do mean everywhere – and the vast majority of them were blue.  

I’m guessing that blue hydrangeas are preferred because there are a lot more plants that produce pink flowers than blue flowers.

It’s possible to manipulate soil pH to produce hydrangeas that have both blue flowers and pink flowers and in-between colors, too:  

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Here’s are photos of some of the beautiful hydrangeas I saw on my bike rides around the Cape and islands last month:

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The Incredible String Band, which was called a “psychedelic folk band” by one reviewer, was one of the more esoteric musical groups of the sixties.

Their music is pretty indescribable.  It’s often sort of Celtic-sounding – until they add Middle Eastern and Indian instruments (like ours and sitars) to the mix.

To say that the Incredible String Band’s music is an acquired taste is something of an understatement.  There’s a chance I’ll attempt to acquire a taste for it, but there’s also a chance – probably a much better one – that I’ll just forget about them.

The Incredible String Band at Woodstock
By the way, the Incredible String Band performed at Woodstock.  They don’t appear in the Woodstock movie, and none of their music was included on either the original three-LP Woodstock album.  

But there are two Incredible String Band songs on the six-CD Woodstock box set released by Rhino Records in 2009.  (That box set features several other of the more obscure acts that appeared at Woodstock – including Sweetwater, Bert Sommer, and Quill.  But it does not include anything by the Keef Hartley Band, which is the only band that performed at Woodstock but was left off all of the Woodstock compilations.)

“Waiting for You” was released on the Incredible String Band’s 1971 album, Be Glad for the Song Has No Ending.  It’s a very odd song, but if you’re looking for a song that mentions hydrangeas, you don’t have a lot of choices – and all the other hydrangea songs were even worse.

Here’s “Waiting for You”:

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