A Gardening Year

The adventures and misadventures of an heirloom gardener

Monday, September 03, 2007

Hostas

There was a time when I didn't care for hostas. I couldn't understand what all the fuss was about. They are just . . . leaves. Would you believe there is actually a national hosta society? With local chapters? How could anyone get that excited about foliage? Then I started reading garden blogs. Among the photos posted on those blogs were hostas. Not botanical specimens. Not glossy catalog photo shoots. But actual plants in actual landscapes. I started to appreciate their beauty and their usefulness in the garden. I have a lot of shade in my yard so I began to acquire hostas.

I added them to my gardens for the attractiveness of their foliage, but it's their flowers that I have fallen in love with.



Who could resist these delicate purple stripes?


The Happy Hosta is putting on an exuberant display.


These are my new favorites. I see them all over. These are growing in the Tribute Garden at Rutgers Gardens.

I love reading garden books written a century or more ago. One difficulty that I often face is that flowers are frequently referred to by their common names. Since common names vary by region and country, I'm at a loss sometimes to identify the flowers I'm reading about. For years, I wondered what a "Plantain Lily" was. Turns out that it's a hosta. In emphasizing the foliage, we seem to have lost appreciation for the flowers of the hostas.

5 Comments:

At 7:46 AM, Blogger Colleen said...

I don't know what I'd do without hostas! Like you, I have a lot of shade, and they are perfect for those areas. There are so many different varieties, I don't think I'll ever get bored with them.

Glad to hear that someone else appreciates the flowers, too. I've always thought hosta blooms didn't get enough attention.

 
At 4:34 PM, Blogger Connie said...

I like hostas, but alas, do not have much shade to grown them in. Those are indeed lovely flowers on yours!

 
At 9:40 PM, Blogger Carol said...

Like Connie, I don't have a lot of shade, but try to plant hostas in any shade I have.

The hosta plant society had their national convention in Indianapolis this summer and I went to their plant sale, which was open to the public. Hostas of all shapes and sizes!

Another old name for them, by the way, is August Lily, which is what my grandmother called them.

You ought to start a campaign, "Give Hostas a Chance" because I think too many gardeners think they are too common to bother with!

Carol at May Dreams Gardens

 
At 2:26 PM, Blogger Gloria said...

Nice.
I agree the hosta flowers can be very pretty.I grow an old fashioned plain leaf variety that blooms now at the end of summer. It is blueish in color and grows along the outer bank of the dry creek bed in the hobbit garden (Brandywine?). Admitting that it does not actually look like water it is the symbolism that counts right.
This same hosta has been attracting the hummingbirds that stop by on migration.

 
At 10:02 AM, Anonymous Marci said...

I keep trying to like them, but
just can't seem to 'get' it. still,
I usually end up putting in 10-20
every year as spacefillers that
thrive where little else will

 

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