Tuesday, June 25, 2019

How to Divide an Expensive Hosta Into Multiple Hostas

I decided to stop by at a local nursery to see if they had empty wire hanging baskets.  They did and they were on sale. So I thought "what the heck, I've just saved 25% so let's go and look at the hostas.  Maybe I can save some more money."
 Nothing was really grabbing me.  Most of the hostas were ones I already owned.  The few new ones that I saw were lackluster until I saw this....
...Cool as a Cucumber.  How cool is that?  Oh and it is 50% off.  It's like they are giving them away.  

So I went in for a closer look.  It's vase shaped.  That is always a plus because you can tuck a smaller low growing hosta under the taller hosta for a layered look.
 A closer look at the leaves and we can see several shades of green.  Almost a grass green with a nice splash of creamy white in the center.  Sold!!!!
 But before I grab one and had for the cash register, I need to look closer and see if I can find one that has 5 or 6 divisions so I can extend my savings even more.  Found one and this looks like I can get 5 or 6 new plants from this one pot.

Let's do some figuring.  The original cost was $19.99.  If I paid that much for a single hosta then my hosta beds would be pretty bare.  But this hosta was on sale for half off so it was only 10 bucks.  That's better but I think we can do even better.  I was able to divide this hosta into 6 plants so the individual per plant cost is $1.67!!!

Onto the dividing.  Fill a bucket with about 6 inches of water and and a little fish fertilizer.  I like the Alaska brand.  You can buy it at Walmart and Tractor Supply.  It smells like fish but a little goes a long way.  Sit your bucket in the sun for 30 minutes or so.  I don't like to just drop my hosta plant into freezing water (we have well water) so I sit it in the sun just long enough to make it tepid. 
 I then de pot the hosta and sit it into the water+fertilizer and let it sit in the shade.  Every so often I swish the root ball around to help the soil fall off the roots.  You will not get all the dirt off of a plant this size and that is OK.  Removing some of the soil helps with the cutting and allows you to see more clearly the space between the divisions.
 Go dig your holes while the plant is sitting in the water.  The location I chose was around the base of one of my large walnut trees.  I spaced the holes about 2 feet apart and ended with 6 holes.  So my goal is to divide this plant into 6 smaller plants. 
 You will need a disposable utility knife like the one in the photo above.  The narrow blade works better than the fat blade but that will work, too.  Extend the blade all the way out and lock in place.
 Before I forget.....DO YOUR CUTTING IN THE SHADE.  I couldn't get my camera to work in the shade so it is one of those do as I say and not as I do scenarios.  Start by gently trying to pull the roots apart by hand.  That helps to keep from needlessly cutting off roots.  The goal is to keep as many roots attached as possible. The first cut is to basically cut the root ball into 2 pieces.  Depending on the plant, this might be 3 divisions on each piece or even 4 and 2.  It all depends on how the plant has grown.  Once you have two pieces put one of the pieces in the water while you work on the second piece. 
 The photo above shows the two halves.   Using the long thin blade allows for cutting in between the divisions with relative ease, especially if it is a brand new knife.  As you cut off a division make sure to put it into the water.  It is important to keep the roots moist.  
In less than 10 minutes I went from one large plant to 6 plants.  After planting the newly liberated hosta division I thoroughly watered them with the water/fertilizer from the bucket.  They have been in the ground for 2 days now and none are drooping and all looks good.

Hostas are hardy plants but using my method helps to eliminate some of the risk of dividing a large potted hosta.

I didn't just save 25% on the empty wire hanging basket with liner and 50% on the hosta plant.  I used my rewards cards to earn cash towards a future purchase in the fall and I also used my credit card to earn points towards cash.  

Reward cards are an easy way of earning cash back from the stores that you frequent.  Today I used a $10 reward sent to me from Ace Hardware and I also got a $1.00 off my drink at Panera by using my Panera rewards card.

I punch holes in the corner of my reward cards and place them on a key ring so I have them handy and ready to use when I need them at the checkout.  

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Wednesday, June 19, 2019

Got it!!!

This is me at the garden shop looking for a new hosta.
 I didn't find a new hosta but I did find 2 that you usually have to buy online.
One of my all time favorite hostas is Hanky Panky.  This hosta changes colors as the season progresses.  The middle of the leaves look completely different than the outer portion of the leaves.  There are numerous shades of green, thin lines of white and yellow, and even some subtle streaking.  It is a small to small medium in size and would look great planted in front of a large blue hosta.
This hosta is called Frozen Margarita and it is a large size hosta with lime green leaves that have a very thin white margin on the edge.  Not every hosta in a hosta bed needs to be extremely unique like Hanky Panky.  Having rather plain hostas in various shades of yellow, blue, and green like this lime green hosta, allows a unique hosta like Hanky Panky to pop.

I see more and more garden centers do what Vigoro does now and I really wish that they wouldn't do 'that'.  What is 'that'?  
'That' is not put the name of the hosta on the label.  Their hostas are just labeled 'hosta'.  For the hosta collector who knows their hostas, they will probably know that this 'hosta' is Hanky Panky.  The real problem occurs when you have a new hosta customer who is laying out their landscape and they buy Vigoro hostas. 
The size info is generic so there is a 50/50 chance that they will end up planting a shorter smaller hosta in the back and a bigger taller hosta in the front.  Three years after planting these hostas, they will need to dig up those hostas and replant them correctly.  Maybe even throwing out the smaller hostas thinking that those hostas are small because they are defective. Even worse, they could throw all the hostas away because they think that hostas are high maintenance, which they are not.

Look at the two containers.  You pay 2 bucks more not to know the actual name of the hosta.  What in the world?

  The label also indicates that you can plant in sun or shade.  Hanky Panky should never be in the sun.  It is one of those hostas that need shade all day to keep its color.  My mantra when it comes to sun or shade is 'no sun'.  And I say that with the same intensity that Joan Crawford said "no wire hangers!" 
  I look at it this way.  No hosta grew better because it was in the sun.  Rather the opposite. The less sun the better. Here is an example of two hostas that are in full shade all day.
The blue hosta is Krossa Regal.  It is a large blue vase shaped hosta.  The hosta partially underneath Krossa Regal is First Frost.  Both of those hostas would look completely different if they were planted in the sun.  Krossa Regal would just be a large green hosta because the waxy substance that gives the leaves their blue color would have melted off in the sun.  First Frost would be a pale washed out yellow and it's blue center would look green.  Also both hostas would probably have scorched leaf tips and generally not look healthy.

I haven't the time to water and baby my plants and that is one of the reasons why I love hostas.  If you plant them in the right location and place them correctly by size and color when you plant them, you will have a very low maintenance but a high visual impact hosta garden.

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Need more hosta info?  Go to http://www.hostalibrary.org/

Tuesday, June 11, 2019

Rolling, Rolling, Rolling.....

....that's what R has been doing when it isn't raining.  He is using the lawn roller to try and level out the lumps in the sod.

To do this he is using the roller that someone put out to the curb on trash pick up day.  It has grease zerks and is a nice heavy roller.  It was broken into two pieces but they both roll so it isn't a problem.
The soggy lawn is not drying out, not one bit.  Every third day it rains and I am not talking sprinkles, I am talking big downpours.  This makes every spot where we removed a boulder into a miniature lake.

When R isn't rolling, we are both mowing.  The amount of growth overnight is unreal.  Every three days we mow and hopefully that third day is not a rain day because that means the grass will be so tall on the fourth day that I will need to rake afterwards. AND no one has time for that!

I did find time to buy a few hostas. Well of course I did, I'm not dead.  It is all part of being a hostaholic.  Only one new variety of hosta and it is called Barbara Ann.  I actually bought 5 hostas but 4 are repeats of hostas that I already own.  The five hostas are from left to right Sum and Substance, Fragrant Bouquet, Barbara Ann, Pilgrim and Praying Hands (every hosta garden needs one of these very upright skinny hosta).
 Tomorrow we need to get the 5 inch eavestrough up because yes it is going to rain Wednesday night and all of Thursday.  I am beginning to think that building an ark might be something we need to look into.  The Gear Acres Ark would have nothing but cats and hostas.

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Thursday, June 6, 2019

The Rain has finally stopped...

...or so they (weather forecasters) say.  

We are inching closer to having the south side of the deck done. 

Here is the to do list....

Finish painting the shingles grey (just a few left)
Finish painting the white trim along the roof edge with semi gloss white
Take down the 3 inch eavestrough and downspout over the kitchen window
Replace 3 inch with 5 inch eavestrough and downspout
Prime and paint the area around the kitchen door
Paint corner trim board by kitchen door
Install bracket and hang small hanging basket
Retrieve the deck flower pots out of the barn loft
Plant the pots with flowers already purchased
Clean the glass table top, coffee table top, and end table top...3rd time's the charm
Remove the saw horses from the deck and put them down on the driveway
Take cushions to upholstery guy

Then there is the Mega To Do List

*Paint the shingles grey
*Paint the windows trim and sashes white (deck area)
*Prime the door trim (new door)
*Paint the door trim white
*Paint the doors white
*Make 4 of the faux wrought iron hinges
*Install the dummy handle on the stationary door
*Touch up the wrought iron furniture with black satin spray paint
*Take the outdoor cushions to the upholstery guy
*Hang 3 wrought iron baskets and plant with flowers 
*Haul out the umbrella and the umbrella stand
*Buy and plant flowers on the deck 
*Buy and plant flowers in the flower boxes on the railings
*Haul out all the deck decor items
*Put down the outdoor rug
*Plant flowers in the window boxes on the front and side of house
*Plant flowers in the pots on the front porch
*Fix paint on the bottom of the front door
*Add wide cove moulding to the bottom of front door
*Remove and replace 3" eavestrough and downspout with 5"
*Rent heavy equipment to break apart what remains of the swimming pool
*Call and get estimate for retaining wall in the backyard
*Cut down almost dead large pine tree
*Finish building gable vent and prime and paint it
*Install gable vent
*Sand and prime bistro set
*Drill holes in the seats and middle of table top
*Paint the bistro set satin black w/bk and wh check table top
*Buy opaque white stain for deck railings
*Stain deck railings white
*Dig up boulders
*Move a few boulders to the area next to the driveway wrought iron gates

R has spent a lot of the non raining hours using the lawn roller to level the dents in our side yard that the tracks on the excavator left imprinted in the sod.  We have had so much rain that the entire side yard has standing water.

No amount of rolling is going to help the backyard. 
The lilacs came and went in about 3 days because of the lower than average temps and the overly heavy rainfall.  I was really looking forward to cutting a big bouquet of lilacs.  I even purchased a large clear vase at Goodwill just for lilac cuttings. 

Maybe I will put peonies in that vase.  Probably not because they haven't even put out any buds yet. 
Go to my Instagram account to read about how an early 1900's glass dish (above photo) was shipped to me in a bag....yes, a non padded plastic bag. 

I think we are now all caught up.

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Saturday, June 1, 2019

My Lawn!!!

My lawn look like the golf course in Caddy Shack.
We have been trying for weeks to rent an excavator to dig up boulders that have work their way to the surface and are so high that I can no longer run my riding lawn mower over them.  There is also the removal of the sides of the original 1930's swimming pool that needs to be dismantled.

Every forecast for the last month has forecasted rain for the weekends.  It has rained a lot lately.  It's raining right now as I type this post.  Unfortunately you have to reserve the excavator 1 week in advance if you want it for the weekend.  The best deal is to rent it for the weekend with pick up on Friday at 2pm and return on Monday morning at 9am.  You get 10 hours of run time and the cost is $350.00.  

Friday the pick up day was a beautiful day but a short day.  We decided to dig up the boulders first and then hit the pool demo on Saturday and Sunday.  Here was my lawn after boulder removal.
This is my side yard and my backyard looks just as bad.
We even hand dug a few smaller rocks to save on wear and tear on the lawn.
So the plan tomorrow is to tear up that pool and try not to cry when I look at my lawn.

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