I have two hydrangeas, Vanilla Strawberry and Little Lime, that were planted...
I have two hydrangeas, Vanilla Strawberry and Little Lime, that were planted within this year. They began blooming and looked beautiful the first part of this summer, then began to get brownish both on leaves and blooms, and then dried up totally. The ground around them about 8-10 inches out is brown and the grass that was around them is dead as well. I have other hydrangeas planted within a 8-10 feet of these and nothing has happened to them, and the grass all over my yard is fine except just the perimeter of these two plants. Could it be ants? What do you think could have caused this?
Ingham County Michigan flowers: annuals and herbaceous perennials
It is very unlikely that ants are to blame. If these are new plants, there are several possibilities. Before getting too excited or upset, these are guesses based on the very little information that I have.
It could be lack of water or water sinking in deeply enough or being only watered on one side. It could be delayed transplant shock and when the plants began blooming, it was too much of a stress. It could be the soil got too hot because the plants were not mulched (You did not indicate if the plants were mulched). If the soil was mulched and there was adequate moisture, you would not expect to find ants there. It could be fertilizing the plants the first year they were in the ground (you did not say if you fertilized). It could be at the time of planting you added compost or other organic material to the planting hole and the root area is retaining too much moisture.
You get the idea. I am just guessing with not much information. If you have a guarantee on the plants you might return them. If you do not, wait until next spring to see if they might send shoots up from the roots. Keep them watered, mulch with 2-3 inches of organic material and do not fertilize. If nothing has happened by the end of May, it's definitely all over.