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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Abiqua Drinking Gourd
Blue Angel (One of my favourites)
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
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.
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.
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.
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)
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.