Knowing the Names?

IowaGmaMay 25, 2011

Do all of you pretty much know all the names of your different hostas? I've always just picked out ones that I thought were pretty, or that friends have given me, without keeping track of the names . . . but it's interesting on here to find everyone talking about them by name . . . if I want to catch up and learn the names of what I have, can anyone suggest a good online resource that would help with identification?

I probably could also just post pictures of all of them too, but that might get a little wearisome for everyone! :-)


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Yep--I know them all in my garden and can pretty well bore everyone to death naming them as we
walk along!

The Hosta Library is an excellent resource for learning the names of your hosta. Just start with the A's
and work your way through! I also bet you'll also become even more addicted to the plant by the time you reach
the E's !

Here is a link that might be useful: The Hosta Library

    Bookmark   May 25, 2011 at 9:22AM
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hosta_freak(z6 NC)

I keep records of all hostas I have,and always put a plant tag beside every new one. But I know all my hostas by sight,and you will too,if you look at them every day,the way I do. I recently had a garden tour of my gardens,and people kept asking,"how so you remember all their names?" Well,that is the way I do it. Phil

    Bookmark   May 25, 2011 at 9:30AM
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Welcome IowaGma - you've noticed there's are a lot of hosta fanatics here. One good place to start looking for names is the alphabet discussions that happen here a couple of times a year. Beware - you may find yourself making lists of new hosta to buy.

Another good resource is the Hosta Library though this site is better if you have a name and want to see varied pics of what it looks like.

Starting a topic with pics to ID works good, though I would probably limit about 3 hosta in each topic. How many hosta do you have that need ID's?

Again Welcome to Hosta Forum.


Here is a link that might be useful: Hosta Alphabet search

    Bookmark   May 25, 2011 at 9:48AM
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When you take photos to get ID's, use something in the picture so that people can gauge what size the plant and leaves are. Some people use a coin, ink pen, tape measure/ruler, soda can.

The sooner you start memorizing the names of your hostas, making up your Have and Want lists, documenting with named and dated photos, keeping up on having readable plant mmarkers for each hosta the easier things will be for you once you become fully obsessed.

    Bookmark   May 25, 2011 at 10:14AM
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bkay2000(8a TX)

We don't all know all their names, but most folks know most of their varieties. How would you know what you wanted to order if you don't have a name? Some are so "driven" will give away those they can't put a name on.

There are thousands of hosta varieties. You can't always identify them after the fact. There are tons of green hosta, for instance. In that case, it helps to take your photo when it's blooming. Another thing - sometimes seeing the backside of the leaf is helpful. Some are immediately identifiable on first look, though. Generally, people like to play, "name that hosta", so post away.

Welcome to "hosta nut" land.


    Bookmark   May 25, 2011 at 11:41AM
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flowerchild59(z6b IL)

I am guilty of giving away plants that I don't know the name. I label them all with metal markers and UV resistant labels made from my PT brother label maker. BTW, if you start caring about the names you are infected with the disease called hostamania.

    Bookmark   May 25, 2011 at 12:09PM
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ademink(z5a-5b Indianapolis)

I used to have all of mine labeled and memorized. Then over the last few years I went through a divorce...almost lost my house...and then was carjacked at gunpoint. Along the way, the tags were lost, plants were moved without tages and I forgot half of the names. LOL

I truly wish I could ID them all but I don't even know what I don't know at the moment .......if that just made any sense.

Maybe someday I'll get them squared away again. :)

    Bookmark   May 25, 2011 at 12:20PM
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You aren't alone in trying to find out names. I have had hostas for years but did not label them. I am in the process now of trying to determine what I have and get them labelled. This group is so knowledgeable and have helped me with several.

    Bookmark   May 25, 2011 at 12:22PM
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Steve Massachusetts Zone 5b


Get some good photos of your noIDs and some data (i.e. leaf size, vein pair count, flower color and time) and then post them here. You should get a good idea of what the names are from that. With that trauma you experienced, it's no wonder the names of your hosta became unimportant. I'm glad you are fine now.


    Bookmark   May 25, 2011 at 12:40PM
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flowerchild59(z6b IL)

Dang, ademink, I don't think I would care about the names either. LOL. There are more important things in life other than a name of a plant.

    Bookmark   May 25, 2011 at 12:42PM
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Gesila(MI Z5)

Yes Flowerchild, that's how I got hooked. I thought a hosta was a hosta, I knew they had names, but didn't place any significance in them. Yes, one day it hit me, that they were all different.

Ademink, hope things are better with you, I've been through some tough times but can't even imagine having someone point a gun at me.

    Bookmark   May 25, 2011 at 12:59PM
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Trying to identify the name of a hosta that a friend gave me hooked me as well. Looking online and in books made me realize how many different types there are and I got the hosta bug. The New Encyclopedia of Hostas is great because it breaks them down to color and variegation. I'm a little old fashioned because I still prefer books:) This is my first post but I've been reading for a few months. Thanks for all the info. Gail

    Bookmark   May 25, 2011 at 1:21PM
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I read somewhere that there are COLLECTORS and there are GARDENERS.

Being a collector oftentimes means you want just 1 of each of your hostas. (unlike stamps, these suckers take up SPACE!).... so, many of us do know the names of what we have just so we don't acquire more than one.

However, gardeners often purchase whatever it is that they like or would "go nicely in that spot" with less regard to what it is called.

In my hosta garden, I try hard to not acquire 2 of the same thing. That's not saying I don't have duplicates, but, in my garden, only about 3% of what I have is a duplicate. But then when I acquire new plants, I usually try to group it with some of its relatives as long as it will look good in that spot.

    Bookmark   May 25, 2011 at 2:15PM
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I know their names. I know all of their names. I put markers by them mostly so I can keep track of where they're planted when they're dormant, and not really so I can remember what they are. I pretty much dote over every single hosta I own. I also keep a spreadsheet with their names, growth habits, locations, etc.

As to what Melissa said, I'd have to say that I'd be classified as a collector (although I hate the thought of not being a "gardener"...maybe what I'm not is a "landscape designer.") I always say that hostas are like Pokemon to me--gotta catch 'em all!

    Bookmark   May 25, 2011 at 3:54PM
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hostarookie(6 WV)

I like the descriptions of Collector and Gardener Melissa! I'm one of those that does NOT want any duplicates. Last year I wanted First Frost, which I found on the auction BUT you got 3 of them. I went ahead and bought them, but 2 of them will be history sometime. :-)

It's addicting IowaGma and the folks here on GW are ENABLERS, which doesn't help matters!! LoL

    Bookmark   May 25, 2011 at 4:01PM
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Babka NorCal 9b

Hosta Freak wrote: "But I know all my hostas by sight,and you will too,if you look at them every day,the way I do." How true.

Yup everyday, sometimes caressing leaves and talking to them, as "My you are beginning to color up well",or "When did you begin to get so wonderfully corrugated?".

For various reasons, I didn't pay much attention to them in 2005-6, and began to forget some names. It's the frequent interaction with them.

I even have a binder with a page for each one, and I print out a wallet sized photo each year to paste on that page to watch the progression over the years.

Consumed by hostas? Yessssirrreeee.


    Bookmark   May 25, 2011 at 4:18PM
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dhaven(z5 IA)

Gail, welcome to the forum. It's always wonderful to have a new hosta lover to add to the fun.

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.

I'm firmly in group five. Where are you???

    Bookmark   May 25, 2011 at 6:02PM
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I purchased a good many of mine, and I'd like to keep their names and evaluate them under those names.
Besides, names add to the fun.
Isn't 'Striptease' more fun to remember than that green and yellow one under that there tree over there?

    Bookmark   May 25, 2011 at 6:19PM
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ademink(z5a-5b Indianapolis)

thanks everyone... :)'s a happier year this year! I will start to post NOIDs soon

    Bookmark   May 25, 2011 at 9:43PM
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Gesila(MI Z5)

dhaven.... OMG, group three .... What I did last summer! I have graduated group three and am working my way through group four.

There's comfort in knowing you're not alone!

    Bookmark   May 26, 2011 at 2:12AM
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67 hostas here, firmly in group three! lol

    Bookmark   May 26, 2011 at 4:24AM
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squirejohn zone4 VT

37 hostas and guess I'd be classified in group 2 1/2. I don't plan on expanding - too much work cutting down trees and grubbing out roots.
I do have several NOIDS that were given to us a number of years ago and will post photos when they are more easily identfied.

    Bookmark   May 26, 2011 at 6:20AM
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So fun to read all the responses - - I'd have to say I'm pretty close to still being in the first group of dhaven's categories!! Not too long ago, I would have been one of those proud people because not only did I have both solid green hostas & some with white, but I also got some that had yellow edging! AND I have hostas in a ring around our trees! AND I have more than one of several of my kinds! AND probably the only reason I don't have some lining a sidewalk is because I don't have a sidewalk that would work for that! So I hope that doesn't ban me from the forum! :-)

It looks like it's finally going to be a nice day outside today, so I'll try to get some pictures taken & put them on for ID.

Here's a picture of my "shady corner" last year - don't think I could fit 500 kinds in there, but I can always try!!
Would love to have a more woodland, naturalized look like I've seen in some of your pictures, but gotta get started somewhere!

    Bookmark   May 26, 2011 at 8:28AM
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dhaven, those are some brilliant and scarily accurate observations you've made. And I do mean scarily accurate. I was stunned by how well you hit the nail on the head.

I'm group three with strong group four tendencies. The fast collection gathering, the labels, the maps...all me. But I also belong to a hosta society, am starting to familiarize myself with (and meet) some hosta hybridizers, and have attended one convention (two by the time this year's over!)

This is a progressive "disease." I'm loving every minute of it. ;)

    Bookmark   May 26, 2011 at 9:09AM
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dhaven(z5 IA)

IowaGma--There is absolutely nothing wrong with being in any of the categories, and I happen to like hostas in rings around trees and lining sidewalks. I think that Lancifolia is a wonderful hosta, even though it's a very old variety and much maligned (for no particular reason other than that it's common), and I also have a number of Fortunei Albomarginata scattered around my place, and most of the common older varieties as well.

I see a lot of grass in your lovely picture, so obviously you could fit in quite a lot more hostas if you just get rid of that lawn. I don't mow one blade of grass at my place anymore, because it's all either hosta beds or naturalized areas, with mulched paths between the hosta beds.

    Bookmark   May 26, 2011 at 9:13AM
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Oh my goodness! dhaven cracked me up. I used to be group 4, but we moved. Now I'm starting over. Goodbye grass


    Bookmark   May 26, 2011 at 9:56AM
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I guess I have a little multiple personality disorder.

I'm officially in stage 4 of this disease, but will likely progress to stage 5 within a year. I'm still displaying some tendencies common to stage 3.

I'd be digging up a lot more sod if hubby would let me!

    Bookmark   May 26, 2011 at 9:59AM
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ademink(z5a-5b Indianapolis)

I'm in group 5 in numbers and knowledge...just not names at this juncture LOL

I think I only have two or more specimens of a few varieties...good ol' Krossa Regal, Gunther's Prize and Jade Cascade (the best hosta ever).

    Bookmark   May 26, 2011 at 10:10AM
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squirejohn zone4 VT

Oh wait...I think I'm 2 3/4 not 2 1/2 as I have 55 different hostas not 37 and if I get rid of a big patch of Cimicifuga I can add some more. But that's it...well there's always the north side of the garage.

    Bookmark   May 26, 2011 at 2:00PM
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I'm in group 3 with 59 different varieties. We still have some grass on the property so I can keep collecting. At this point I am only buying what I can find at local nurseries. It is the only thing that is keeping my obsession in check.

    Bookmark   May 26, 2011 at 3:20PM
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Steve Massachusetts Zone 5b

Group 3 with a bullet. Last year at this time I had 6 different hostas. Right now I have 65 and I'm planning to buy more. I will be at this year's convention, and of course will be visiting the vendors. By fall I'll have two new beds and I'm not half done yet. Too much grass.


    Bookmark   May 26, 2011 at 6:11PM
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gayle0000(zone 5-Normal IL)

To answer your Q about how to ID, I would take some pics of the individual plants & leaves closer up and post them. Flower color is nice to know. Be sure to give some info on time of the year the pic was taken (colors change as the season goes by), and generally how much shade or sun it gets (colors are different based on that too).

You may get different guesses/answers, but it would be some good info to get you on a research path you may have not gone on your own.

In the pic you did post (still too far away)...I believe the 2 yellow ones in the middle are Gold Standard that get a decent amount of sun. Just my guess at the moment.

I don't fit into any of the groups above. Ha!


    Bookmark   May 26, 2011 at 7:14PM
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Oh Oh ! I see I maybe am in a list dhaven has listed. This is such a wonderful site and worth bringing it forward to the present time for us "almost hooked" hosta collectors. Yes I should change my name as so many have suggested and yes I am in group 3. I better stay there a while and see how large some of my hosta get. If I remove any more lawn I think my DH will take away my shovel or possibly wack me over the head with it to bring me back to reality.( Not really as he never says anything about it)
I still have them all labelled and do know some by sight but have collected 225 different ones in 1 1/2 yrs. I do remember what I have most of the time but have to search for where I put it( or ask Myrle)

    Bookmark   October 10, 2012 at 10:58PM
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gogirlterri(5 IL)

so why not bump this up into new life?
Theresa at level one,
and for Les at level 3.

    Bookmark   October 11, 2012 at 4:58AM
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squirejohn zone4 VT

I have a little over 100 different hostas, and although I know the names of all of them in MY garden I really know only about 10% of my hosta varieties by name. I have unintentionally learned their names by WHERE they are and not by WHAT they are.

    Bookmark   October 11, 2012 at 8:06AM
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bernd ny zone5

Oh no, now I am in the "fourth group is composed of the major hostaholics who have 200+ varieties" per dhaven. The seedlings of new named plants which I grew this year added to my 190 different hostas and made me that dreaded "major hostaholic". But luckily my DW watches that I do not dig up more lawn, so the 200 to 210 will be max. Bernd

    Bookmark   October 11, 2012 at 8:52AM
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MadPlanter1 zone 5

Guess I'm schizoid. I still have groups of the same hosta in the older and more visible part of the garden, dug up a big new area for specimens last year, have over 200 in everything from giants to minis, and know most of the names, so group 2-4.

I've got several that were mislabeled or that I wanted but didn't have a label. If I like it, I get it, then hope to find the name. The newest addition is one I stole from my son's yard. I'm fairly sure it's ventricosa, very common but very pretty. I also moved his plants around to where the automatic sprinklers would get them and lectured him on watering. One poor hosta had shriveled away to almost nothing and the rest hadn't grown in three years. I'm sure he's glad we live too far away to visit often.

Hey, Bernd, my DH's theory is he does the lawn and anything in a flowerbed is mine. He's always happy to say "Dig away, less for me to take care of. Just remember it's yours."

    Bookmark   October 11, 2012 at 9:22AM
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I hadn't read this post for a long time,but I am in group 4,with 224 varieties,and many more duplicates,plus many seedlings with no name,but they are attractive enough to keep,since they are free! Interesting to see this post again. BTW,where is Ademink(Andrea);haven't seen her posting for a long time,and also Janice,who seems to have disappeared for this entire year? Phil

    Bookmark   October 11, 2012 at 9:32AM
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bernd ny zone5

MadPlanter, I do all work outside, except my grandson does his vegetable garden. I do lawn and plantings, also all painting, etc. I seem to have a doable balance in lawn, hostas, other perennials, bushes and trees, try to reduce work. Hostas are good for interest, and also keeping weeds down. Tomorrow we will have first killing frost at 29 dgrs, leaves are falling steadily!

In respect to the subject, I know all names of hostas, have also them written down and have a map. Most have labels outside.

    Bookmark   October 11, 2012 at 2:22PM
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I suppose by some freak of luck, I am in group four, since I have more than 200 hosta....yea, verily, I think I am closer to 275 by now. However, since it all happened so quickly, I do not know what hit me, I am not able to look at all my greenies and tell which is which with any hope of accuracy. Just make sure I keep all the name tags visible, both the original ones which came with the plant, and the newer metal ones, sort of like being a belt and suspenders kind of hostaholic.

Oh definitely I accept that hosta addiction has me in its spell, that hosta habit that we know so well. Those icy fingers up and down the page-when I view new pics of the latest hosta rage.

By next June, I hope to be a full fledged fourth stage hostaholic. If possible to skip a few stages, or choose perks at random, I'd choose to have a display quality garden like the gent in Britain with his container hosta garden, and to at least understand how to hybridize. I might like a few streakers--however, my passion is for fragrant hosta, and for outstanding flowers.

Great thread. Just think...when it started last year in May, I had less than 15 hosta....3 in Alabama, about 8 in Massachusetts.

    Bookmark   October 11, 2012 at 11:29PM
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MadPlanter1 zone 5

Bernd, when I started putting in a lot of hostas, I thought they'd be less work than the beds of daylilies. Boy, was I wrong. Maybe if I added a 6 ft. fence, spin out bags, and an automatic watering system...

I have to redo my maps and will count hosta varieties when I'm done. Right now I have no idea how many I've got. This summer I "lost" several when I realized they aren't what the label said they were, but also added many new ones. To be on topic, I'll be looking for help identifying the NOIDs, but intend to keep almost all of them. I say almost because I suspect 5-6 of being Wide Brim, and I already have a couple.

    Bookmark   October 12, 2012 at 9:32AM
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Might as well bump it up.
Myself, I find myself clearly in group 3 with tendencies toward group 4. So far no conventions, but I've joined AHS and participate in the First Look Auctions. I also lusted after a particular hosta which I finally WON AT AUCTION this year, soon to be delivered.

My count is high for a #3, like somewhere around 324 by the time this year's orders are delivered....and that does not count the ones with multiples. Like 8 plantaginea species just because she is the beginning of my addiction.

When I read the Seven Stages to my DH just now, not admitting where I myself was on this continuum, he said, "You are involved in a CULT." Well, hmmmm, I wonder if that is so. He was smiling when he said it. Incidentally, I container hosta garden. Even so, I spread mulch over my entire new area which is 25' x 100' and there my pots are arrayed at my whim. One week they are arranged by the nursery they came from. Next week they are arranged by the family. Then as the season progresses, they get moved by which are doing the best, look the prettiest, or I cluster all the ones in bloom near one another to make for easy pollenation. Or so I hope. Also, I'm learning who created the hosta I'm fondest of, and I see what others came from his/her hybridization program. At first I avoided blues, and giants, thinking I had to restrict myself....but that has gone out the window and now it is just those hosta with a lot of white that I am hesitant to try.

This year, 2013, will be my second year of addiction. Somehow it grabbed me at the beginning of last spring, and I barely caught my breath from March through November. Now let's see what happens this year.

    Bookmark   March 13, 2013 at 11:02PM
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