Hostas – A Surprising Variety

by David Murray

[Here is an article that was originally placed on our old-style Gardening-Notes web site in 2007. I have left it unedited apart from correcting a couple of grammatical mistakes].

Hostas are often conjured up in people’s minds as rather drab seas of large dull green leaves with no flowers and badly slug-eaten. Well, it is not impossible to create that scenario but it is far from necessary as I hope this page will show. Firstly, the variety of leaf colour and form is considerable. The differences of size among the hosta’s many varieties also give plenty of cope for imaginative plantings. Flower colours vary from white to deep purple while leaves may be almost blue through to golden yellow.

Hosta border 1

The above photograph shows a part of my Hosta border in July 2007 with smaller varieties to the front. Below is a view of the same section from the opposite direction. I should say that this border was newly dug and planted in 2006. Everything there is new since then apart from the paeony on the right by the gate. I may have planted some of the larger varieties too close. We’ll possibly discover that next year. In the back row, up against the ferns, are Hosta Francee, St. John and Daybreak

Hosta border 2

The next picture shows two of the plants in greater close-up: the small blue-leaved plant is, I think, Pearl Lake and next to it is what to my mind is one of the most beautiful of Hostas, Golden Tiara. Behind, just showing on the left is the stately upright Patriot with its long leaf stems. St. John is in the centre rear and the golden-leaved Daybreak next to the right of it, with Fire and Ice just poking its leaves into the frame at middle right.

Hosta Pearl Lake and Golden Tiara in shaded border

Stiletto is not what most people would expect of an Hosta with its long serrated leaves. This particular plant is in its third year, and was moved this past Spring from a spot which I decided was too sunny for it into this north-facing border protected from the hot Summer sun by the fence (not that we had much “hot Summer sun” this year!). Although some hostas are tolerant of bright sun the majority are more suited to the shade garden or areas of the general garden where they are at least semi-shaded from the strongest sunlight.

Hosta Stiletto in shaded border

Surprised By Joy is a variety that I found at a Spring horticultural show last year, 2006. I think it was Harrogate. Anyway, even if I can’t quite recall where I do remember well the occasion; it was the end of the afternoon; I’d stopped buying plants and was about to leave when my attention was caught by its name – the same as the title of one of C. S. Lewis’s books. As can be seen below in this photo it is very small, and in each of its two years in my garden it has seemed as though it was never going to flower, then right at the end of the Hosta flowering season when others have finished it bursts out. Is that the reason for its name? I don’t know, but that’s my experience with it.

Hosta Surprised By Joy in shaded border

This is just a small sample of the range of Hostas even in my garden, let alone what is available worldwide. Who can say they’re boring when faced with this kind of variety?

VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 0.0/10 (0 votes cast)

Leave a Comment

{ 2 trackbacks }

Previous post:

Next post: