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.

A day of garden centers and gentle thunder

They are two of my favorite things: Shopping for plants at two of my favorite garden centers with a friend, and listening to gentle thunder roll in from the southwest.  I don’t want violent storms, mind you.  Michigan does get tornadoes, and fierce straight-line winds.  But a gentle thunder storm is soothing. Today was a day of both shopping and thunder.

For many years on Memorial Day a good friend and I go to a garden center near Allendale–Motman’s.  It’s family owned and most of the plants they sell are started in their greenhouses. Years before I started teaching at the university, my friend and I would drive a little over an hour to visit Motman’s–home of beautiful hanging baskets.  And though we could have picked up flats of annuals at any old local garden center, getting them from Motman’s seemed to make them more exotic.  The tradition continued today.  A couple years ago we added Countryside Greenhouses to our “must shop” excursion.  So, I bought a flat of impatiens to plant in various shady spots, a few red petunias to fill in a couple of spots in the front, some cannas, a datura, four cannas,  some poppies, and a basket of purple petunias.    See the day’s haul here.

My friend picked up several baskets of ferns to hang on her front porch, a couple flats of annuals, and a datura–at my suggestion.  Love those moonflowers.  For some reason the seeds from my datura didn’t germinate this spring, but the roots of one plant seems to have survived and are sending up green leaves.  So, for $1.50 I got another one to fill in a spot in the Secret Garden.

Rain, however, has kept me from planting anything.  But I took this picture of a Lucy Vitols hosta that sits right outside my back door.  A friend divided one of his and gave this to me.

Lucy Vitols hosta

I love the texture of this hosta.

The Golden Celebration David Austin rose bloomed yesterday.  My non-hansa roses really struggled last year.  Black spot is a rel problem, but I also suspect they needed more nutrition than my gravely soil can give.  So, I fed them.  We’ll see if that’s enough.    But it’s nice to see these big blooms.

David Austin Golden Celebration

Still, this bloom doesn’t seem to be as “tight” as it should be.  For the first couple of years these blooms were almost like a ballerina’s tutus.  And there was almost a diamond shaped ruff of petals in the center, so thick I couldn’t see the stamens.  This flower just doesn’t have that look, though it still smells so very sweet.

Yesterday was very steamy and it was hard to work in the garden.  In the evening when the temperature dipped a bit, the bugs came out.  I am a mosquito magnet and finally gave up and went inside.  But not before I took this picture of the from entrance garden.

Entrance garden