Seven Levels of Hosta Gardeners
The following was posted by dhaven on 5-25-11 and now resurrected for our enjoyment. Thanks so much for originally posting this, dhaven:
"I've found that there are casual gardeners, those who have a few hostas, generally in a ring around their trees, but who don't care what variety they have, and aren't really interested in acquiring more varieties. These are the folks who will tell you proudly that they have BOTH the plain green and the ones with the white edge.
Then there are the more focused gardeners who have decided to make hostas a more major part of their gardens. These people generally amass a collection of as many as 20 hosta varieties, and they often know the names of some of the varieties. They often have multiple plants of the same variety, again often featured as rings around trees or along walks and drives. All their plants tend to be of medium size, mainly because they are unaware that hostas come in any other size, and that is what's available locally.
The third group is the budding hostaholic. These are the people who have, often after years of having a hosta here and there, discovered that hostas come in all colors, patterns, and sizes, and they start to feel the need to gather together as many as they can. Often they will add 30 or 40 hostas their first year, then start digging up lawn and adding beds so they can add more hostas next year. Many wind up with a collection of 100-200 varieties in a fairly short time. These people label their plants, often make maps, and can usually identify at least half their plants without looking at the label. These gardens generally have lots of medium and large hostas, with very few minis.
The fourth group is composed of the major hostaholics who have 200+ varieties, know the names of all their plants, and lust after every new hosta they see. They tend to be somewhat restricted in their purchases due primarily to lack of garden space, but regularly add new varieties, often digging up and giving away their more common varieties to do so. These people can often speak knowledgably about the heritage of any given hosta, and may have a passing familiarity with some of the hybridizers. They belong to at least one hosta club, and travel to local and national conventions. Their hostas all look very good, and grow nicely, and they have the full range of sizes, from giants to minis.
The fifth group is the hard core hosta maniac. These people have 500+ varieties, know the name, lineage, and breeding potential of every single one of them, and often dabble in hybridizing a few of their own hostas. They have extensive hosta libraries, and are easily identified by the lack of grass on their properties, and also by the lack of any plant other than hostas. In my area of the country, 500 varieties is what is known as 'a real nice start'. This group is where you are likely to find the really beautiful specimen plants, because these people not only love hostas, they know how to grow them to perfection. Minis are often a special feature of this group, and there are usually multiple plants of a given variety.
This leads to the sixth group, the collectors. These people are in a whole seperate class. They often have 800-1500 hostas, and can rattle off all pertinent information about any of their plants at the drop of a hat--whether you want them to or not. As a rule, they love having visitors to their gardens, and expect that said visitors will treat them with the deference and respect that is engendered by the amassing of large amounts of plants. The collector is interested only in the newer varieties, and particularly loves to spend lots of money to get something that nobody else (except the hybridizer) has in their garden. Most collectors seem to favor the larger or showier varieties, and you will find a preponderance of variegated hostas in these gardens. There will seldom be more than one plant of any variety in the garden of a true collector.
The seventh group is the hybridizer. These people often worked their way through the various levels, then at some point decided that it would be fun to create their own hostas. They are often fixated on streakers, and will spend vast amounts of money to obtain a really nice one. They have lost all interest in the common, commercially available hostas, and buy and trade only with other hybridizers to obtain new genetics. They rarely open their gardens to visitors, because who has time for that? But it is thanks to some of these people that all the new, wonderful hostas become available, so they are to be appreciated."