Sunday, June 1, 2014

The hostas are looking good.......

....the rest of my flower beds...not so much.

The hostas look like they survived the harsh winter of 2014 without losing a single plant.  The monsoon rains that we received in April and May were much appreciated by the hostas and they are showing off their appreciation in a big way.  
My hosta beds are finally getting mature.  Hostas really do not display their true colors until they are at least three years old.  I purchased most of my hostas before they were readily available at local garden shops so many times I only received one eye or a small division.  The upside to this is that I have plants before they are available at most garden shops but the downside is that they are very small and take several years before the colors become apparent and showy.
The photo above is of Singing in the Rain (lg) and Rainforest Surprise (small).
Up close photo of Singing in the Rain.
Photo above is an up close photo of Orange Marmalade.
Above photo is of Orange Marmalade and possibly Green Gold to the left.  Orange color is a rare color to find.
One of my favorites First Frost.
Unsure of the name of the two tone hosta but the blue one at the bottom is Krossa Regal.  Any of the hostas from the Regal line are stunners and strong plants.

I follow Martha Stewart's blog and she recently planted a large hosta bed.  I'll admit that I had a little chuckle when I read her list of hostas and was able to say....I have that one....and that one....and that one.....and that one. Basically I had almost all of them and I had them BEFORE Martha.  It's a good thing.  Yes it is.

I always get so bummed when people dismiss hostas as only being green and blah.  That is so far from the truth.  I can honestly say that when people visit my house and they are looking at my flower beds, they always always always comment on the hosta bed that is shown in the first photo AND that isn't even my best hosta bed.  

Here are a few tips (well maybe more than a few) on buying hostas.

Check out the online stores for unusual hostas.  I buy a lot from Bridgewood Gardens.  They have some great sales and sell very healthy plants.

If you buy a large plant at the garden center always look for a pot that has several plants in it and divide the plant before you plant it in the ground.  If I pay $15.99 for a hosta plant I will always try and get 3 plants from that one pot.

Check out eBay for hostas.  I always purchased my eBay hostas on Sat or Sunday so that the seller could mail on Monday and I would have them by the end of the week.  You do not want the hostas sitting in a box over the weekend.  Most eBay sellers sell one eye or very small divisions.  They usually wash all the dirt of the roots, wrap in wet paper towel, and place in a plastic bag.  Be prepared to plant as soon as the plants arrive.  Buying without dirt keeps the shipping price down.  I also try to buy several hostas from the same seller as it is usually  the same to mail two or three, as it is to mail one if they are using a flat rate box.

Pay attention to the final mature size when ordering and planting.

Pay attention to the mature color when planting.  Do not plant like colors next to each other.  You need to have contrast to highlight the color of the hosta.

Buy plants of different colors, variegation, size, leaf texture, and height.

Do not plant hostas in full sun or hot afternoon sun.  Your hostas will look baked, faded, and basically ugly by the end of June.

If you don't have a large space buy miniatures, dwarf, and small hostas.  There are hostas that have leaves the size of dimes.  OR plant one giant size hosta as a specimen plant.

Trade hostas with your friends and family.  Traded plants are the best plants.  I love walking through my garden and saying that plant is from Sandy in Taylor MI, and that one is from Annette in CA, that one is from Wayne, and that one from Jim, and those are from R's late mother's garden.  

Hostas look great planted next to large boulders.

Once your hostas are established and are planted in the correct conditions you will only need to water them once a week or even less depending on the weather.  Last summer I don't think I watered my hostas at all.

Largest hosta available is Empress Wu and it is huge.  Mine is 3 years old and really starting to take off.

Blue hostas are blue because they have a wax coating.  These require the most shade because too much sun or heat will remove the wax coating and the hosta will just look green instead of blue.

Some hostas have a wavy edge that is called a pie crust edge. Upright vase structure hostas are great to plant with a small contrasting color low growing hosta underneath.  My favorite combo is Krossa Regal (blue) with a chartreuse green low growing hosta planted underneath. 

Some hostas are very upright and have stems that are red.  Red October, Fire Island, Berry Cherry are a few of those types.

My favorites.

Krossa Regal lg upright vase shaped blue.
Fire Island sm/med bright yellow with red stems.
Blue Mouse Ears sm round leaves blue.  Cute cute cute.
Guardian Angel a blue and white striated leaf.
Praying hands very very upright dark green.
Squash Casserole pie crust edge in chartreuse green.
First Frost blue and yellow med.
Hanky Panky changes colors throughout the season.
Orange Marmalade orange yellow blue green.
Great Expectation pale yellow green large  
Spilt Milk green leaves that are spotted and streaked like it has spilled milk on it.
Royal Standard lg dark green shiny leaves large fragrant white flowers.
Empress Wu giant size
Big Daddy and Blue Angel very large.
Sagae blue and white curvy leaves large very striking when mature.

Stay away from Sugar and Cream.  You might not even be able to buy it anymore.  It has a virus that affects the leaves.

Stay away from Pandora's Box.  It's a very tiny hosta and lovely but very very hard to grow here in Michigan.

Need more information on hostas check out this site.  Hosta Library  This site is great because it will usually show several photos of each type of hosta so that you can see that depending on the amount of light the plant receives will determine the color of the leaves.  Spilt Milk is a good example.

Update on the Spekter paint brush.  Blog reader Alex found these brushes on Amazon UK for less $$$ than eBay.  Well done, Alex.


The good news with that is that many times you can get Amazon gift cards through reward programs such as Swagbucks or My Coke Rewards.  Also Ebates has a 3% rebate on Amazon items.