Diversity in the Hosta Garden,

MstrPBK(4)June 9, 2014

WARNING: This question may require some research and some deep thinking,

We all know that hostas come in a near dizzying array of forms. The question here is: If you had only ONE hosta you could add to your garden to increase the diversity of your collection which hosta would it be ... and why? Try to be specific about the why.

Peter Kelley
St .Paul, MN USA

(I'll add my response to this next)

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Babka NorCal 9b

Diversity???? I already have ruffled, serrated, skinny leaved, fat leaved, dark green, light green green with white, white with green, gold, small, large, upright, tight, thin, thick, tall. short, misted and streaked... and I only have about 100 of them.. No deep thinking here. Red petioles might be next but I like green for now. Are you looking to hybridize something new?


    Bookmark   June 9, 2014 at 1:48AM
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In my case I currently have hostas on the theme of Chaos and Destruction:

- Xanadu Empress Wu PP 20774 CPBRAF
- Sum and Substance
- T-Rex
- Blue Mammoth
- Dancing Queen
- Emerald Tiara
- Gorgon
- June
- Golden Tiara
- Vulcan
- Popcorn
- Holy Mouse Ears
- Frosted Mouse Ears
- X-Ray
- Dragon Tails
- Little Devil
- Little Sunspot
- Itsy Bitsy Spider
- Lemon Lime
- Dixie Chickadee
- 'venusta'

I am considering adding ONE of the following to my garden:

- Designer Genes
- Foiled Plot
- Jaws
- Mini Skirt
- Nougat
- Total Eclipse
- Totally Twisted
- White Feather
- Zebra Stripes

Any of the nine above could add something quiet different to my garden, I am leaning towards White Feather for three reasons:

1) It starts white, and from what I have read online holds the white as long as it can, and then transitions to green (the whole leaf not one part or another).

2) The symbolism of a white feather can be confusing/chaotic if one does not know the intent for why it is given or offered. In some settings it can signal the destruction of one's position of work, or rank in society (specifically in the military).

3) I believe that my garden gets a bit more than 60% sunlight and I think that would be conducive to growing this variety of hosta.

Peter Kelley
St. Paul, MN USA

    Bookmark   June 9, 2014 at 2:02AM
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Babka -

No ... I am asking because I am curious about how others think about their garden(s). And yes i am thinking about adding one last hosta, No hidden agendas here.

Sounds like you have worked hard on making sure you have the diversity in your garden. Red petioles are indeed one point I am missing it would seem,

Peter Kelley
St. Paul, MN USA

    Bookmark   June 9, 2014 at 2:12AM
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funnthsun z7A - Southern VA

How about Seducer? Seducer is very unique in that it has the brassy-colored edge instead of golden. Nothing else like it in my garden, although there are a few others that have similar brassy color, none do it as well as Seducer does and it's quite vigorous. A mature one will knock your socks off.

    Bookmark   June 9, 2014 at 7:53AM
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Speaking of diversity....yesterday I purchased a huge Old Glory and a tiny Mouse one (can't recall the name). When I opened the car trunk when I got home,I was struck by the diversity of my purchases!

    Bookmark   June 9, 2014 at 8:04AM
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I covet Purple Haze.

    Bookmark   June 9, 2014 at 8:36AM
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jadie88(7 MD)

Hmm...Sir Richard would be a good one for me, since I don't have streakers. I also haven't gotten into strap-leaved varieties or minis. Years of hosta farming ahead to get there (what I have to tell myself to control the impulse to BUY BUY BUY! :)

    Bookmark   June 9, 2014 at 9:22AM
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I don't think you'll get too many votes for White Feather on this Forum, although I really like mine. It's starting to go green now so it will be rather blah in a couple of weeks. I just bought RED OCTOBER and mature specimens are spectacular with those red petioles. I'd go with that.

    Bookmark   June 9, 2014 at 9:31AM
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'Red October' has indeed red petioles but it also is said to have another diversity point of having white backed leaves.

'Seducer' does have a wonderfully unique yellow to it. The spear shape leaves seem to accent it further. Another hosta that I think has an unique yellow is 'Buttered Popcorn'.

ALL three of which are on my ñ300 count wish list in fact!

jared88 wrote the phrase, "strap-leaved varieties". Is this another way of saying streaked leaves or ... is this another aspect of hosta diversity I am not aware of?

Peter Kelley
St Paul, MN USA

    Bookmark   June 9, 2014 at 1:52PM
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bkay2000(8a TX)

Strap shaped versus heart shaped, round, arrowhead, etc. Literally, it means in the shape of a strap.


The one on the front right has strap shaped leaves.

    Bookmark   June 9, 2014 at 3:22PM
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Thank you bkay2000 for providing clarification of the phrase.

Peter Kelley
St. Paul, MN USA

    Bookmark   June 9, 2014 at 3:41PM
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Gesila(MI Z5)

Out of your list, I would recommend Lakeside Foiled Plot. I love the color of the green leaves and the silver backs. The leaves have great substance, and I like the height it obtains. I'm fortunate to have a piece from the original.

White Feathers is beautiful in the spring, but turns into the ugliest hosta in the garden. I lost mine over the winter and I'm glad that I no longer have to find a place to hide it after its initial showing.


    Bookmark   June 9, 2014 at 8:11PM
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A few persons here seem to think that the late green color of 'White Feather' is undesirable.

i am going to try to present a counter opinion to that subject without even seeing that late season coloration. Each person has the right to their opinion mind you, I really do respect the opinions to those who posted previously,

Last season, as I watched 'Little Devil' make its way through the season, I remarked to myself what an ugly, army, light green that becomes. Over the winter I looked at the photos I had of it and began to realize that why should I hate something that has such a distinctive coloring against the OTHER greens among the hosta. There are over 1,000,000 greens that the human eye can distinguish. Why not celebrate this hosta rather than diminish it? Color diversity in a garden is just as important as other visible characteristics.

If 'Little Devil' comes up ... I gonna tell it it was a 'good boy' (pat pat pat)!

Peter Kelley
St, Paul, MN USA

    Bookmark   June 9, 2014 at 9:29PM
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eclecticcottage(6b wny)

Blue Ivory, I like the colors. I have a lot of green and green/white.

I have a white feather and love it. Got it at a plant swap last year and I still consider it one of my better scores. It's something different. I'm actually thinking I might be able to split an eye or two out and plant it somewhere else in the garden too.

    Bookmark   June 9, 2014 at 9:48PM
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To eclecticcottage:

Blue Ivory always catches my eye in photos. Very stunning and attentions getting.

(smirk; 100% kidding) if an eye of your 'White Feather' goes missing you'll know where it went to (ducks fast). Seriously: I'll find my own.

Peter Kelley
St. Paul, MN USA

    Bookmark   June 9, 2014 at 10:17PM
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mstrecke(z8 Seattle)

In keeping with your "Chaos and Destruction" theme, how about War Paint?

Stunning plant that starts off variegated then ends up Niagara falls.

What's not to love?!?!


    Bookmark   June 9, 2014 at 10:54PM
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bragu_DSM 5

I could make a lengthy argument as to how h. grand prize could be nominated to join your chaos theme.

... other than that, it stays small, and adds its own visible 'quiet riot' to the garden ... spreads nicely, and is a tiara ... oh yeah, it grows well here in the Iowa-Minnesota corridor

dave *the enabler*

    Bookmark   June 9, 2014 at 11:01PM
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Looking very very closely to that picture of 'Grand Prize' (in the center) ... IS THAT A WEED TRYING TO STEAL THE SHOW ... AND THE PRIZE???


Peter Kelley
St. Paul, MN USA

    Bookmark   June 10, 2014 at 12:56AM
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War Paint ... Now there's a hosta that might start a fight between two hosta lovers! Yes, it is on my Chaos and Destruction wish list (about ñ150 some hostas for that half of my wish list).

A two colored hosta that tries to stay a 3 colored hosta (he he he). As were on the subject of garden diversity (not just my own garden, everyone's garden); this might actually be a great example of coloration change because normally you have color A and color B; and one or the other makes the change but 'War Paint' seems to deviate from that sightly because you get to see THIRD color being used as the transition color. ... Or so it seems.

Thank you for pointing that variety out.

Peter Kelley
St. Paul, MN USA

    Bookmark   June 10, 2014 at 1:27AM
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bragu_DSM 5

Why yes, weeds are always wreaking havoc, creating chaos, in the garden.

    Bookmark   June 11, 2014 at 5:16AM
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mary4b(4b WI)

Peter, very interesting question, indeed. How others see their gardens? While you are trying to create chaos, I find myself designing a garden bed for calm this year. I have been filling in a new bed, and instead of doing one of this, one of that, I have been forcing myself to create waves of the same hosta, in order to create a mood of calm and tranquility. Mostly blues are going in.
I have about 10-12 hostas in pots that need to be put in the ground but NONE of them can go in that area, or they will disturb the peace....the only one I allowed in there was Regal Splendor, which doesn't have a lot of white.

The "collector" in my personality says it does not matter where they go, just get them in the ground near anything that looks good at the moment, diversity-wise. However, every time I consider placing one, my gut tells me not to do it, and I am trying to listen to my inner gardener!
Now, another area of my garden will get all of those lovely potted ones, most are beauties with yellow or white margins, so they will look gorgeous somewhere else...
Best of luck finding your desired chaos! I thought War Paint was a great suggestion, and man, that IS a HOSTA.

    Bookmark   June 11, 2014 at 8:17AM
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irawon(5a Ottawa)

Hi Peter Kelly,

A hosta that I find unique in my garden is Mystic Star, which is still unfurling here, but I don't know whether it goes with your chaos theme? I like it for its soft shiny colour and down- turned leaves. It's the weeds that are creating chaos in my gardens. God, I wish my hubby liked weeding. I've weeded my beds once this year ( as this pic shows) but they're unrelenting. I should be out there right now doing just that but it's raining.

    Bookmark   June 11, 2014 at 1:57PM
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mary4b -

IF I HAD THE SPACE ... I probably would do 6 beds based on color alone to really emphasis the full range of coloration of hosta. Designing gardens by gut feeling is not a bad way to do arrangements of plants. I originally wanted to be an artist but my art skill was ... questionable; my gardening skills are thousands of times better and so I use hosta as my pigments and textures; and ground as my canvas. I understand designing by gut feeling.

I am a gardener who is limited by a 3 foot x 6 foot gardening area. I could focus on Theme, Aesthetics, or Design for my gardening. I seem to lean towards theme and aesthetics, and let the design happen as it does.

As I looked up from examining my Blue Mammoth the other day I was compelled to notice/realize that much of my garden is solid colored hosta(!). At this point I need to understand what that observation means to myself (and my garden), Just like you moving the wrong hosta in the wrong place may create an image that was not intended - my chaos and destruction has to have some order so persons at least look at the garden,

    Bookmark   June 11, 2014 at 4:06PM
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irawon -

Thumbing through my astronomy history, Super Novas probably come in that category of Mystic Star. To the Ancients they were seen as BRIGHT stars that existed for just a few days in the sky - presuming they were seen at all. Depending on the culture they were signs of great things to come; in others they were warnings to man to change course. IF I am not wrong many cultures did not affix the notion of good or bad with them. (comets and eclipses were quite different). The name does not quiet fit with my first theme.

However I do have two wish lists; the second list is for Aesthetic Quality of Hosta. From what I am seeing in pictures of Mystic Star is that its main characteristic seems be a yellow to white streak running down the leaf's main veun and into the petiole. That characteristic would permit it to be recognized 12 feet away.

For me that might be worth remembering as my garden needs change in the future. Thank you for pointing it out.

Peter Kelley
St. Paul, MN USA

    Bookmark   June 11, 2014 at 4:37PM
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