Saturday, March 16, 2013

Good Old Reliable Hostas

Hostas, also known as plantain lilies, are steadfast garden staples because of their beautiful foliage and sometimes, because of their fragrant flowers.
Hostas thrive in the shade but many can tolerate a bit of sun. There are many, many types as well as many sizes. The tiniest ones are called miniatures. The largest can grow over 6' wide!
Reading up on them, I didn't realize that I actually have (or had) a number of Hostas that have gained the Royal Horticulture Society's Award of Garden Merit! I have (Tardiana group) 'June', H. sieboldiana 'Frances Williams', 'Golden Tiara' and 'Krossa Regal'.
Hosta leaves, although beautiful, can be an open invitation as lunch for snails and slugs. I have found slug bait and other slug deterrents to be moderately successful. I heard that the best way to get rid of snails and slugs is to get up very early in the morning, to hand-pick them off and drop them into soapy water. You know? I'll get up early to catch a plane for a vacation but darned if I'm giving up my precious sleep for slugs :)
Slugs and snails don't (can't) eat through thick-leaved Hostas so that in itself is a deterrent. For late risers like me, maybe those our best bet.
One of the best sites for Hosta identification is Hosta Library. It identifies hundreds of varieties by name and photo.

Here is 'Blue Wedgewood' with perennial geranium, Painted Japanese fern, phlox, junipers and impatiens. It grows to about 14" high and 24" wide.

Another shot of 'Blue Wedgewood' beside my Weeping Norway Spruce. Great textural contrast!

This is 'Sagae'. It's big but has never reached the projected size of 31" high x 70" wide.

The prominent hostas here are 'Elegans' (foreground) and 'Paul's Glory' behind it. I used to have 'June' but I don't think that's 'June' at the right…(which should be variegated….I think it died out)

Here is one of the Garden Merit Award winners: 'Krossa Regal' beside Euonymus 'Gaity'

Elaine is surrounded by 'Golden Tiara' and columbines!

Look carefully along the pathway and you'll see variegated "Night Before Christmas'

'Frances Williams' among periwinkle, euonymus and Sweet Williams

One of the tiny miniatures 'Pandora's Box'. I shot this while on a garden tour so I don't know the names of the surrounding Hostas.

Here's my friend Sheila's 'Praying Hands' Hosta

Hostas make great border plants!

Hostas blend so beautifully with all other plants. As my garden has become more and more shady over the years, I appreciate them very much.

Check out recipes for New York Style Cheesecake and Mushroom and Leek Soup on my food/recipe blog:
Astrid's Home


Nadezda said...

Astrid, I love your post, because I love hostas. First I saw hostas 20 years ago and didn't know the name, nothing about it. Now I have 8 varieties. I plant them as you, in shady places, among the paths. I saw the hosta 'Frances Williams' and now I know the name of mine :0). I love you planted the bright annuals near them, it's pretty colorful spot!
I think you deserve the Royal Horticulture Society's Award your collection is wonderful!

Astrid said...

Hi Nadezda
Same here- the more I learned about hostas, the more I grew to love them.
I'll let the Royal Horticultural Society know that you think I deserve an award ;-) thanks!

Alistair said...

Astrid I share your passion for Hostas. Unfortunately ours were planted many years ago when I was less concerned about their names. I recognise a few of them from your post today. Ah well as I am telling everyone else, at the moment, I am still waiting for Crocus to bloom.

Astrid said...

Hi Alistair
This is the most reassuring comment I've had!
Ever since I started reading your blog and the many others I discovered thru Blotanical, I've been kicking myself for being so neglectful about keeping the names of my different plants. Even the years I kept garden journals, I would write "hostas" and "daylilies" but did nor record the names. To name the hostas for this post I had to match Internet plant pictures to my photos and then try to remember if those were the correct names. I think I have them right.
Thanks for making my day!

Jennifer said...

I can't imagine a shade garden without hostas. They are so darn dependable! Last summer I fell in love with miniatures and I would like to start a collection of them. I have never thought to plant hostas in a row. It is an idea I will try to remember.

Astrid said...

Hi Jennifer
Even though I have many varieties of hostas, I can hardly wait to get to the garden centre to buy and plant more! They are an addiction.

Landscape Design By Lee said...

Astrid-I enjoyed this post and love your inviting shade gardens. Hostas are a wonderful and versatile plant and your assortment of varieties is wonderful!

debsgarden said...

You have some wonderful hosts! I do love the textural contrast between your Norway spruce and its hosta companion. Francis Williams has been one of he most successful hostas in my own garden. It cross pollinated with nearby Elegans, and now I have babies!

Astrid said...

Hi Lee
Glad you liked hostas too! Shade gardens can be just as lovely as sunny spots.

Hi Deb
Isn't that interesting - an Elegant(s) Frances Williams :)
Make sure you shoot some photos of those babies.

HELENE said...

You have some lovely hostas Astrid! I love them and wish they were easier to grow, but all the ones I have planted in my garden has been completely devoured by slugs and snails. And I don’t get up at the crack of dawn to chase slugs and snails either! I have one left in my garden, if it comes up this year, might give it at go in a different area than I have tried so far.

city said...

thanks for share.....

Astrid said...

Hi Helene
It's always a shame when slugs and snails decide to feast on beautiful hostas. Hope the one you still have will be OK for the season.

Hi City
Thanks for dropping by