Saturday, May 23, 2009

Mainly Hosta

You gots ta work with what you have. What there is here is plenty shade and dappled light. That means hosta will grow here where other things will sulk and wither away.

Before we get to the hosta though, there is also a stunning native plant I would highly recommend for a shade garden where it is zone appropriate. False Solomon's Seal, Maianthemum racemosum, has the graceful form of the Solomon's Seal, but a much more dramatic and showy bloom. This is followed by a long display of bright red berries held above the foliage. It will form dense colonies and seems to keep itself weeded pretty well.

This would be a choice plant for the steep shady slope beneath the scenic highway in my own gardens to be.

Welcome to Hosta World where there is plenty room to hide under the big rosette of leaves.

If a hosta has a perceived difference in leaf form, it must be acquired and added to the collection. Here we have a chartreuse center with darker green edging.

A crinkled quilted leaf with chartreuse and green streaking.

A narrower green leaf with crisp clean white edging.

Oops. There is that red and yellow McKenna hybrid columbine again.

Another nice native plant with large dramatic leaves is the Umbrella Leaf, Diphylleia cymosa. It grows in the deep shade of the forest along the stream banks and in the moist seeps of the mountain side. The flowers are ok, but its more striking feature is a deep blue berry held above the leaf on a bright red stem later in the season.

It would be worth experimenting with to see how it would fare moved further away from the wet sites.

A mammoth solid green hosta.

A more rounded leaf with a dark green center and thicker clean white edging.

A hosta collage.

A small leafed solid chartreuse hosta with rhododendron and Lamium maculatum. The lamium as a ground cover for shade could be said to be on the aggressive side with a vengeance.

It would take a more precise accounting to show every variety of hosta planted in the ridge top garden. A sampling will have to do.

Bulbarella has been busy and a path that lines the new rhododendron garden annex is already lined with hosta divisions, astilbe and dwarf crested iris. Two dozen new one gallon rhododendrons have been purchased so far this year. Half of them will be planted in various locations outside of the new rhododendron garden annex.

The resident gardeners are 80 years old and they are planting one gallon rhododendrons which are not the fastest growing plants.

Think about the faith that requires.


Northern Shade said...

The Hosta with the white edge, fourth from the bottom, really pops in the shade. The Maianthemum racemosum, looks good with that almost Astilbe like bloom.

Les said...

Reminds me of a customer of mine in her mid 80's who walks very slowly with a cane and speaks little English. She came in this fall to buy an Asian Persimmon for her garden to have a taste of home. She was prepared to wait for them to fruit.

Kim said...

I really liked your post today, Christopher. Yes, there was eye candy, but the comment about the faith of the resident gardeners, well, that just spoke to me. It was more poetry, whether or not you intended it.

Lisa at Greenbow said...

You go Resident Gardeners. That is what I call Positive Progressive Thinking. I hope to be doing that when I am 80.

The hosta collection is wonderful. I have several hostas too. The neighbors cat loves to sit under them and ambush the birds at the feeders.

Anonymous said...

I had the same thought about the 1 gallon rhodies and your parents, but I garden on a lot with some 14 ft. rhodies probably 50 years old, planted by a long-ago gardener for my benefit. It's all about stewardship, isn't it? And the wildflowers are beautiful.
Ah, now I can see the columbine bloom is totally different from A. canadensis.


Anonymous said...

That probably isn't a true streaked hosta. It is most likely a very sick plant - streaked by hosta virus x. If you are not familiar with HVX, do a google search on it or see the link at