Hosta growing in the UK

Keighley, United Kingdom

Hi! Guys and Gals,
I am a newbie on here but have a passion for Hostas so I was hoping to find
some like minded souls.
I have at present around 60 different ones and adding new ones all the time.

Burwash Weald, United Kingdom(Zone 9b)

Steve, I'm not a hosta grower, but may I introduce you to this thread. I love reading HostaJim's theads - he breeds Hostas in Washington State. Lovely chap. He has just started a new thread and you might be interested.

http://davesgarden.com/community/forums/t/1021405/

Keighley, United Kingdom

Hi! Laurie1,
Thanks for that, however there are so many hosta forums that are mostly from the States
that I thought it would be nice to have one in the UK if the interest is there of course.
I for one think these are terrific plants as my garden does not lend itself to sun loving plants, anyway I will wait and see if there is any interest.
Nice hearing from you.

Burwash Weald, United Kingdom(Zone 9b)

I think you are absolutely right - it would be nice to have some active discussion about these valuable and beautiful plants. I have a large woodland deep shade area, and haven't braved hosta growing - I just don't think I can face the slug decimation. Perhaps more local discussion would raise my interest enough to take the chance. I do like the look of them.

Keighley, United Kingdom

Hi! Laurie,
Two points spring to mind when you say that you have deep shade, the first thing to do is grow blue hostas the slugs don't like them.
If you wish to grow any green or white variagated ones you can keep the slugs at bay by
using this method.
Take two large bulbs of garlic and boil them untill they are soft, allow to cool then strain the liquid and put it in a container or bottle.
You can then put about a couple of tablespoons of the liquid in your watering can and when they start to leaf up give them a dose or two.
The slugs do not seem to like garlic and it doesn't hurt the plants.
Steve

Burwash Weald, United Kingdom(Zone 9b)

How interesting - I wonder why they don't like the blue ones - how interesting that slugs have a sense of the aesthetic! (sorry, joke. Couldn't resist). But I wonder what it is that the blues have that stops the slugs? I will try it. And the garlic juice sounds similar to the treatment for thrips on strap leafed plants. Many thanks.

Keighley, United Kingdom

I think the reason is that the blues are much tougher and they don't taste as nice,
this is due to the special coating that the blue leaf has to give it it's colour.
People may find that if they have a blue in the sun most of the time that the coating is weakened by the sun and the colour fades to a blue green shade-thus making them more attractive to slugs.
Funny old world.
Steve

Burwash Weald, United Kingdom(Zone 9b)

When I'm looking for blues, any suggestion on which ones I should look for?

Keighley, United Kingdom

There are so many it is difficult to choose, however as you have a woodland area and have plenty of room may I suggest the following, these are all large ones.
Bressingham Blue
Abiqua Drinking Gourd
Big Daddy
Blue Angel (One of my favourites)
Tokudama
These would look great in a shaded area.
Have a look at this site and if you click on where it says more images you will see some of these in all their glory.
http://www.mickfieldhostas.co.uk/b.htm
Steve

This message was edited Aug 6, 2009 5:20 PM

Keighley, United Kingdom

Hi! Laurie,
Have you managed to get any of the Blues yet?
Steve

Burwash Weald, United Kingdom(Zone 9b)

Hi Steve. No, work has kind of put a hole in gardening for a couple of days. But I did have a look at the web link you gave me. What a collection, and I hadn't realized that they came in such a variety of sizes - a couple of mammoths could really fill space.

have you posted photos of your planting yet? would love to see how you have integrated them into your garden.

Keighley, United Kingdom

Hi! Laurie,
At the last count I think there are around 5000 different varieties, it is one of those plants that constantly throws up a new sport.
The sizes vary from mini plants that you could grow in a 4 inch pot, to gigantic ones like Empress Wu.
If you go to this site you can see what I mean.
http://www.inthecountrygardenandgifts.com/gallery/v/hostapictures/hostas_eg/empress_wu_1.jpg.html

As regards my garden all I can say is that it is work in progress, as all my hostas are in pots.
I will post some pictures of those that I have grown over the last few years in due time.
Steve

Burwash Weald, United Kingdom(Zone 9b)

Yikes! Empress Wu is almost too big to be comfortable with! Now, where can i put that? Please not the 'almost'.

Keighley, United Kingdom

Laurie,
On a small note this is not the largest of the large hostas although it comes close.
We are waiting on Big Kahuna it should have been out this year but they had problems
with it so it now looks like spring of 2010 before it becomes available.
Unfortunately we have no decent photos of it as yet but it is bigger than Empress Wu.
Steve

Burwash Weald, United Kingdom(Zone 9b)

Probably too big to get off the sofa!

Sounds as though you are accumulating a national collection.

Keighley, United Kingdom

I should be so lucky, I would like a lot more but with my garden on a hillside it is
a major problem to create enough space.
I am working hard on it but I am not as fit as I was 30 years ago so the lifting is a problem, as I am trying to create more terracing.
Still slowly slowly catch a monkey.
Steve

Navan, Ireland

Hi Stevie and Laurie,
Good luck in your endevours. Hostas are great but the number of new cultivars is simply rediculous. Too many, too similar but I understand the addiction.
For an easily found, easily grown blue, Laurie, try 'Halcyon', it is not too big and even I could not kill it (and no, slugs don't like it either)

Burwash Weald, United Kingdom(Zone 9b)

Thanks lortay, I'll check that one. I like a nice durable plant. Excellent.

Keighley, United Kingdom

Hi! Iortay,
Welcome to the forum, you are right when you say that there are too many new sports.
However as you also say there are too many alike which is my problem with them, but given the nature of these plants, sports are a common fact.

They do produce many interesting ones but I agree too many are alike.

As regards 'Halcyon' it is a good reliable plant and I am putting up a picture of one not the best but it gives you some idea.

Thumbnail by stevie57
Burwash Weald, United Kingdom(Zone 9b)

Nice plant.

Steve, if you are hanging around with your camera, I would like to see the terracing your constructing - I find the early stages of development as interesting as the filled beds.

Keighley, United Kingdom

Hi! laurie,
Not much to see at the moment apart from a heap of rubbish, much more of interest is this photo I took of a Greater Spotted Woodpecker on the peanut feeder.

This fellow is one year old his mother brought him to the feeder last year and I had the thrill of watching her feed him.
He comes several times a day and the feeder is only around 8 feet from my back door
and he still comes even with the door opened.
Steve

Thumbnail by stevie57
Burwash Weald, United Kingdom(Zone 9b)

They are wonderful birds, we get them too although not at this time of the year. And to actually see mum taking him shopping and teach him how to make change would be lovely!

Keighley, United Kingdom

As you know my first love are hostas, however I am tying a few new plants in the hope that they will grow at the back of my house.
We do not get the sun until around 2pm in the afternoon so hostas were perfect for that,
anyway I bought some giant tree lillies this spring to try out.
I am putting up a picture of them for you to enjoy, they have grown to around a metre high with around 6 flowers on them and will take 3 years to reach 2.5 metre with up to 40 flowers at around 7 inch across.
I almost forgot they have the most amazing scent.

Thumbnail by stevie57
Burwash Weald, United Kingdom(Zone 9b)

Very nice steve.

I just love the look of lilies (and I know I'm not alone in that - wasn't it a lily that was voted the nations favourite flower) - but also our very dear neighbour is a lily grower and collector - he has a sheltered growing house (as opposed to a glasshouse) where he grows the most extraordinary plants. I have to admit, at certain times of the year it is literally intoxicating in there from the scent - I actually come over all whoosy it is so heady!

However, I'm trying to picture these tall tall lilys with lowish growing hostas, and that is going to be quite a job to get them to sit comfortably together.

Keighley, United Kingdom

I think that they will work very well together, I can see them spread among some
nice large blues that can grow to five feet high.
I think they will look great as many people only think of small hostas and I have to admit on my travels I don't see many large ones.
I think the above mix will look great, let's hope in the future I can let you see how good.

Burwash Weald, United Kingdom(Zone 9b)

I agree with you - was it Madame Wu that goes very large - I agree, I think the big quilted leaves will be a wonderful foyle to the lily blossom, but also with the narrow sparse leaf of the stem. What is the blossoming period of the Hosta? I think I would prefer not to have both out at the same time. I wonder how Telekia would look for a late summer follow on - although the leaf might be too similar - both have that spade shape, the blossom would be good. Oh, white cyclamen would be wonderful as the autumn blossom and a good good leaf contrast. Yup, I can imagine a carpet of white cyclamen hederifolium infront of the big blue leaves - I have a stand of them and I'm more than happy to capture seed for you.

Keighley, United Kingdom

Not a straight forward answer to that, however you are right it was Empress Wu the large blue, as regards blossom time for hostas June to September depending on conditions.
I have to say that it does depend on the colour scheme that you are trying to create but for me the bright yellow of the Telekia would be too much with the cooler blues and whites.
I know modern gardens tend to splash the paint brush around but I am a little more conservative in that area.
As for your offer of seed, that would be most kind and of an interest to grow with Hostas and something that I had not thought about.

Burwash Weald, United Kingdom(Zone 9b)

Fair enough - but I do find the Telekia has a wonderful mellow yellow tone - quite on the amber side (the thing that would jar for me is the leaf shape) - and I do find that I like the lift that a rich yellow gives to blue/cool leaves, particularly in moderate to deep shade. I will collect seed for the cyclamen with pleasure.

I'll look forward to further planting plans. Interesting.

Keighley, United Kingdom

When the time is right Laurie can you let me see a photo of your cyclamen, I will put up some photos of my hostas next season as they are looking a bit untidy at the moment.

They are starting to wind down towards the seasons end and I will soon be cutting all the dying leaves back.

My friend the Woodpecker is still coming 3 or 4 times a day it's really great to see him.

Burwash Weald, United Kingdom(Zone 9b)

Steve, I will go out and take a photo of the cyclamen this weekend - put getting it posted may take a bit longer. I use picasa, which did an automated update, and for the life of me I haven't figured out how to get them posted to Dave's from the new version (nor could I be pfaffed to sit and work it out until now - life is just tooooooooo short to spend hours on IT quirks). I will phone a friend and hopefully she can guide me through it.

I guess that is saying "watch this space".

Keighley, United Kingdom

I await with bated breath lol, these computers are like cars great when running right but a pain when not.

I purchased a new hosta this year called 'Fragrant Bouquet' and while the leaves were a bit ragged (hence no photo) the flowers opened and the scent was great.
It is the first scented hosta that I have acquired I hope it is not the last.

Burwash Weald, United Kingdom(Zone 9b)

That was another surprise for me - I hadn't realized (until I started thinking about them to keep up with this thread) that they came perfumed - do they have a similarity of scent to anything else? Freesia? Rose? Citric notes? Tuberrose? The woody base notes of Myrrh/Frankincense/Sandalwood/cedre? I don't remember any of the perfume write-ups (not that I have kept abreast of those either) as mentioning a floral note of Hosta.

Perhaps DG needs to consider a scent facility.

Keighley, United Kingdom

The scent is very like Honeysuckle, this tends to be the theme throughout the scented hostas.

There are only around a couple of dozen scented hostas and these have all originated
from one hosta called Hosta Plantaginea which I believe was imported to this country in the late 1700s.
It also is one of the very few hostas to originate from China most of them come from Korea and Japan.

I was wrong when I said that this had been my first fragrant hosta, I do have two others
but have yet to have flowers that open.
I think that they are in the wrong place as they need more sun and moisture to blossom
fully a tricky combination.

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