This was planted early in the spring. The flowers have collapsed and the stems are all bare. Should I cut it back to the ground?
Vendée, Western France
Do you water it? Hydrangeas like plenty to drink especially in their first year when they're still getting their roots down into the ground. Give it a bucketful once a week, poured on slowly so it can absorb it all, not little dribbles that encourage roots to stay at the surface and get fried.
The time for pruning this variety - paniculata - is in March when you cut back to a healthy pair of buds and give it a generous feed. If it doesn't perk up after a good drink, try removing the flowers so it can concentrate on the foliage which it needs to keep to feed its roots.
"We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing." - George Bernard Shaw