My New Hosta Planting

by David Murray

As I’ve commented more than once in recent weeks a substantial part of my “garden” (actually more like a long thin patio) is shaded from direct sunlight by a high stone wall. It’s not extremely dark, but very little of that side gets any sun except for an hour or so late in the afternoon. An ideal spot for hostas.

My new hosta planting Follow Me on Pinterest

One of my favourite places to buy hosta plants has for many years been Larch Cottage, near Penrith in Cumbria, and now living only about ten miles away my shady border situation demanded a visit to the extensive area that they devote to their great collection of hosta varieties. That was Saturday, and yesterday was planting time.

From left to right at the back are the larger hosta varieties: ‘Sum and Substance’, ‘Hyacinthina’ and ‘Blue Umbrellas’. In front of them are the more medium sized ‘Resonance’, ‘Hydon Sunset’, ‘Cherry Berry’, and ‘Wolverine’. Then over to the right is ‘Stiletto’ and in front of it is ‘Golden Prayers’.

This area shown in the photograph is about six feet across by four feet deep. To the right the border along the wall continues at about thirty inches deep for almost another forty feet. Much of it remains to be reorganised although last year I did put a mix of hostas and heucheras at various points along its length just to get it started.

Some Books About Hostas – Click on the covers for details

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As for this new planting I’m not sure whether it will eventually become overcrowded. ‘Sum and Substance’ can grow to approaching three feet given the right conditions and ‘Blue Umbrellas’ apparently can beat that, so ‘Hydon Sunset’ which itself is no midget might get crowded out in time and the row in front might have been planted too far back. However, I’m basing this thinking on experience of my two previous hosta borders more than a hundred miles further south. It should be alright for two or three years and then if there’s a need for some replanting so be it. Some people say hostas don’t like being moved, but I’ve never had a problem with them.

Incidentally, in front of them I’ve put a group of heucheras. Although these do well in light shade they also tend to like a bit of sun, and that front section does get some in the morning and early evening from about May to August. Among them is ‘Marmalade’, ‘Peach Flambe’ and ‘Lime Rickey’ as well as an unknown variety that I brought with me from Nottinghamshire when we moved.

It will be interesting to see how these plants progress as I’m learning to adapt to very different growing conditions. Incidentally, I’m also growing a few small and miniature hostas in containers as another experiment. This was triggered by seeing last year an interesting display of small and very small hostas in pots at Holehird Gardens near Windermere arranged like an “Auricula theatre” (photo below).

Display of Little Hostas at Holehird Follow Me on Pinterest

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