Hard Pruning and Great Textures

I couldn’t decide whether I should write about the fallen cherry tree limb and the fact that the lilacs are getting a really hard prune, or whether I should gush over the deep textures of some of my favorite hostas.  So, I’ve decided to write about both. First the hard prune.  I knew that sooner or later a long limb on the cherry tree would break under the weight of the cherries, and a week ago it finally came down.  I’m glad it happened after I had about 50 people at the house.  There was a storm that night and that’s when the limb came down.  But it didn’t break clean, so the fruit has continued to ripen.  That’s going to make for easy pickin’s in about three or four more days.

A long limb on the cherry tree that I had been propping up for a number of years came down two nights ago during a storm.  I knew it was going to happen sooner or later.  I'm hoping that because it didn't snap completely free that the cherries will continue to ripen.  So far so good.
A long limb on the cherry tree that I had been propping up for a number of years came down two nights ago during a storm. I knew it was going to happen sooner or later. I’m hoping that because it didn’t snap completely free that the cherries will continue to ripen. So far so good.

The lilacs, though, got attacked, not by a storm but by me.  And I was not delicate.  I hacked away at a James McFarlane and a Mde. LeMoine this evening.  It was harder than I thought it would be, mostly because the dutchman’s pipe vines were so densely entangled amongst the branches of the bushes.  There is now very little foliage on one of the bushes, but my guess is that it’s going to come back strong and beautiful throughout the summer.  And my hope is that there will be lots of blooms next spring.  I ended up buying a really good loper for the job, something I should have gotten a couple years ago.  It’s so much easier to garden when you have good tools…

Hacking away at the lilacs and the dutchman's pipe.
Hacking away at the lilacs and the dutchman’s pipe.

Now, about those hostas. I planted Deep Blue Sea last summer and I’m very pleased with not only the texture but the color.  And it’s growing so fast!  I bought Orange Crush and My Friend Nancy at the same time and they are both toddlers compared to Deep Blue Sea.  I tried to find more information about this hosta and finally came up with this website.

The deep corregated leaves of Deep Blue Sea
The deep corregated leaves of Deep Blue Sea

Another hosta with lots of interesting texture is a common one, Francis Williams.  This was the first hosta I planted in Garden337, and though it is a common one, it remains one of my favorites.  It belongs in the “Seboldiana” group and was discovered by Francis Williams in the 1930’s.  I love that some of the leaves on my plants are sporting solid green.  I know a lot of hosta growers would remove those crowns, but I find the  deviation rather charming.

Christmas Tree
Christmas Tree, another Seboldiana, with wonderfully crinkled leaves.
Stitch in Time
Stitch in Time.

Another favorite is Stitch in Time.  This little hosta has been difficult to grow.  Slugs like it, for one thing.  And,  it seems to be a slow grower.  But I love the puckery texture and it’s bright green leaves.

Christmas Tree lives under the cherry tree and is a fairly new addition to the gardens.  It is one of the Seboldianas and it has that same wonderful crinkle as Elegans.

Hostas, Baby

It’s been quite the spring and summer for my hostas.

Hostas in the Lower Garden

Lucy Vitols sits right next to my back steps. I love the deeply textured leaves.
Though hard to see, there are three Halcyon hostas at the top of this picture.  This H. tardiana cultivar maintains its rich blue color all summer. It’s leaves are quite sturdy. It sits outside my kitchen door near the Lucy Vitols. In front of it is a Francee that seems very happy in this location that receives a nice mixture of sun in the morning and shade in the afternoon.
The champ of the season, hosta seboldiana Elegans, is threatening to take over the universe. It’s been in this spot for five years and was even thinned last year.
The large hosta to the right is Abiqua Drinking Gourd. It’s large blue leaves form a cup that can actually hold water. In the middle are some pots that I take to the farmers market. But behind those pots is one of my favorites, Stained Glass. It is a sport of Guacamole and has shiny leaves and fragrant lavender flowers.  The hosta in the upper left is Singing in the Rain.
The large hosta on the right is Regal Splendor. It has this lovely vase shape is a nice contrast to the hostas around it that grow in a more circular shape. Next to it is Christmas Tree.
On the right is Striptease. I was looking for a hosta that had a bold white stripe down the center and though the stripes haven’t quite shown themselves in the three years that this hosta has been in place, I love the name. I bought it at the same time I bought Hanky Panky. Every garden should have a few lewd plants. The bright green hosta on the left is a mystery.
This blurry image features Krossa Regal and June Fever. I love June Fever’s glossy foliage
This little guy had to have been planted last summer, but the tag isn’t in my book and so it is just another mystery hosta until I find the tag.
Here is another Striptease. It sits next to a division that a friend gave me, but its name is another mystery. It might be Sum and Substance, though the leaves don’t seem quite oval enough. Behind on the right is another mystery that is probably Ryan’s Big One.
In the back behind the Francis Williams and the Endless Summer hydrangea is Sum and Substance, a division I got from a friend.

Front Garden

I like mixing huechera with hostas and the front bed under the magnolia tree is a good example of how these work together. On the right are Francis Williams. These are a sport of Seboldiana Elegans and they were the first hostas I planted. To the left is Guacamole. Tucked behind Guacamole is Golden Tiara. The blue hosta to the left of the huechera is another mystery. I want to say it is Wheaton Blue, but it seems a bit small.
The hosta with the narrow white stripe down the center is Lakeside Beach Captain. Next to it is a recent addition, but, again, I’ve put the tag somewhere and now can’t remember the name. On the far left is an Elegans division from the monster under the cherry tree in the lower garden.
The large hosta on the left is another Francis Williams. In the center is another Lakeside Beach Captain and to the right is another division of Elegans. To the far right is Pineapple Upsidedown Cake. I love its brightness against the blue of the Elegans.

Secret Garden

I think the Secret Garden hosta beds are my favorites, perhaps because I didn’t not initially think I would plant hostas there.  But the spot behind the garage is shady and it became the home for hostas that weren’t thriving in other beds like the Great Expectations and the Francees.  I gradually began adding more varieties, and sprinkled in huecheras for contrast. I decided to put more hostas under the Kousa Dogwood, just to carry the eye across the garden path.

In the foreground are the Great Expectations. I initially planted these in the front garden in full sun. That was a mistake. They much prefer the dabbled light at the far eastern edge of the Secret Garden. I’ve heard that Great Expectations can be tricky to grow, but obviously these are doing well. I don’t give them any extra attention. Next to the Great Expectations are the Francees. They, too, could not take the sun in the Lower Garden. I always think of the word “tailored” when I see these hostas. They are elegant and tidy.
Just west of the Francees is one of my favorites, Stained Glass. This hosta has a fragrant flower and lovely shiny leaves that add a nice contrast to the Krossa Regal behind it.
Meet June, the “parent” of June Fever which lives under the cherry tree in the Lower Garden.  It is a tissue sport of Halcyon.
Looking east in the Secret Garden. The hosta with the light stripe in center June. Behind it is Dream Weaver, a sport of Great Expectations.
Under the Kousa Dogwood is Ghost Spirit. I think I just liked the name. Next to it is Dream Weaver.
On the left is one of my favorites–Stitch in Time. It’s got these wonderful puckery leaves and a bold dark stripe down the center of bright green leaves. Next to it is Allegan Fog. Behind is one of several Dream Weavers. I think I went Dream Weaver crazy at the end of a season a couple years ago.  As I recall they were only $1.  How could I not get them??
These three hostas sit under the eastern edge of the old dogwood.  The two in front are Moerheims. I don’t know what the one behind is. I think I may have thought I was buying three Moerheims. It may be that the one in back doesn’t turn white around the edges because it gets less light.  But it might be Hanky Panky.  I bought it and Striptease together and I don’t see anything in the garden that resembles Hanky Panky.  I really do need to keep track of these things better.
Under the old dogwood on the west is another Dream Weaver and several Patriots that were not thriving in the full sun in the bed under the sun room and dining room. They seem to like the shade under the dogwood far better.

New Additions

K Gardens in Byron Center had an open house yesterday and I stopped by.  I picked up four new hostas and have planted them in the Secret Garden.

Silver Threads and Golden Stitches just seemed like a logical choice to put next to Stitch in Time. They aren’t related, and Silver Threads may be much smaller, but…
I planted, from top, Orange Crush, My Friend Nancy (how could I resist!), and Deep Blue Sea under the lilacs on the north side of the Secret Garden.
This might be a pipevine swallowtail caterpillar. It’s the second one I’ve seen in 24 hours. I know that a female swallowtail seemed to love the dutchman’s pipe this year. I wonder if this is one of her babies.