Do you have a system for deciding how to arrange hosta colors?

bettylu_zone6aJune 13, 2012

I spent the better part of Saturday trying to rearrange the colors in my front bed to a more pleasing look and I could not believe how hard it was!!! I swear I spent more time just standing and looking at them than I did actually digging and moving them. There has GOT to be a better way LOL!

So, how do you decide who goes where? I had the hardest time with the blues - I ended up trying to group them somewhat, but I don't know if that looks right or not.

To top it off - my best spot for hosta is this front bed and I already know I have too many for them all to stay there permanently. I am hoping that the increasing reach of the shade from this tree will allow me to utilize an area that is slowly getting more hosta-friendly shade.

If you have any guidelines - I'm sure there are others besides myself who would love to know what they are!


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Steve Massachusetts Zone 5b

I usually copy others. Like this one.

or this one.

or this. See how Sunpower shines with a green fern background and a blue spruce in front.


    Bookmark   June 13, 2012 at 2:02PM
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I just move things around until they look right. As my garden matures, I find am veering away from always going for contrast in favor of putting hosta together (as well as hosta + other plants) that have similarities. I still have areas of contrast, but I find drifts of one color family pleasing and important.

    Bookmark   June 13, 2012 at 2:44PM
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hosta_freak(z6 NC)

I don't have a system. I don't have the luxury of having many hostas at any one given time to arrange,and rearrange as my whim says. When I get a new hosta,I just move it(singular) ,to wherever it looks good,dig a hole and plant it. That's the way I have done my entire garden,for the last nine years. Very few people have ever been in my garden,so I never get any comments,negative,ot otherwise. Phil

    Bookmark   June 13, 2012 at 4:53PM
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bernd ny zone5(5)

My system is simple, create varying interests. I never put together two of the same color. My plantings change between green, yellow, blue colors, outer and center variegation. Within those I also put some plants with piecrust and corrugation on leaves.

    Bookmark   June 13, 2012 at 5:48PM
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I love contrast, like serious contrast. Yellow, Blue, and wicked dark green hosta with red astilbe in the back and dark purple heuchera in the front. I also like opposite hostas and I also copy other people:) I read somewhere about planting in groups of three or five. My husband has finally helped me with my stone walls so now I find moving around half my hostas very daunting too. But I don't feel as overwhelmed when I just think of three hostas at a time. I also am trying to draw it on paper first so if I don't like it I can just erase it.

    Bookmark   June 13, 2012 at 9:21PM
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We decide on the size and shape of the bed to fit in with it's area. Then we do all the tilling, soil amendment and so forth. Then, and here's the easy part, we place the Hosta still in pots around the new bed until we like the look, then plant.

Of course there's considerations such as smaller in 'front', then medium, then large 'out back'.

A few years ago I made the 'Horseshoe Bed' after looking up the 'clump size' and all that jive.

Today it is wonderful except for one BIG OOPS. I didn't consider plant height, so all around the horseshoe are like sized (vertically) plants 'cept one 'low-rider'. To fix it properly I'd need to swap two plants in the horseshoe, but they are all doing so well I hesitate to mess with them.

I'll probably leave it and point it out to tours as something to think about when they are planning.

I'll try to get and post a shot of said bed later this week.


    Bookmark   June 13, 2012 at 9:39PM
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HH, I suppose there will be lots of BIG OOPS in my garden. However, if I can lug the pots, I might just scoot it to another spot, or raise/shorten the surface it sits on.

Personally, I like to see the gradations of golds, which can take more sun, and then the waves of greens. Lately I've moved together the variegated plants according to the margins being light or dark. I have a few things which the rains of last week have not totally destroyed the blue coating, and remembering which ones start blue is something I'll have to attempt. My Lederhosen, for instance (I have two which are not in sync) are not compatible with the green and blue they become. Now that is a hard one to fix.

I have a liking for things such as Sagae and Liberty with their soft yellow and grayish blue, so I'll have to figure something out to present them as beautifully as they deserve.

Here it is half way through June and August is coming sooner than I'd like, but maybe before then I'll get it set in place. Mercy, I do have a LOT of flower pots!!!

However, today, my last order for the SEASON arrived, and they are all smalls and minis, so you might hear a big sigh of relief from south Alabama!! I'll post those from Savory's tomorrow some time.

    Bookmark   June 13, 2012 at 9:56PM
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kskaren(z5 MO)

I was glad to read Bernd's post, because that is what I do, lots of contrast and never 2 that look the same together. Not sure that is always going to work, because I've discovered, for instance, I have Great Expectations in a spot that never gets direct sun. I have Guardian Angel where it gets lots of morning sun, etc....

It is a little disheartening to plant something and then find you have to move it because of the light requirements. Silly me, I thought hostas were shade plants, period!

    Bookmark   June 14, 2012 at 10:14AM
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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

yellow next to a blue it a UM thing..

no two similar patterns together.. no 2 green.. 2 yellows.. 2 centered.. etc ...


    Bookmark   June 14, 2012 at 10:31AM
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Ken, what is "a UM thing"? You mean yellow and blue for U.Mi?

Well, as a beginner hostalier, I find it helps learn identities to have the similars together---IN THEIR POTS--but later I can move them where the light is best, and light has so much to do with the appearance of the plant. Light has color, as you become aware when you take photographs at different times of the day. Our eyes take it all in and the brain doesn't even realize what is happening. I think it is due to our preferences for the morning or evening light that we become morning or evening people.

If anyone is like me, I am an all night person, who loves to be awake for the way things look at predawn, and up until the sun stands a little ways in the sky. Have a cup of coffee watching this, and then go to bed. I did that for 20 years as a boat captain, and watching the light change at dawn over the water is one thing I miss about the job.
Sorry I digress

    Bookmark   June 14, 2012 at 10:48AM
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irawon(5a Ottawa)

Bettylu, I think that you achieved a very pretty hosta bed. You have a variety of plant heights, shapes and a repitition of other plant material and colours which all add interest. I also like the use of stones.

I've made my share of hosta blunders in the past and am still dealing with my first hosta bed in which I arranged the hostas according to bloom colours. This resulted in most of the hostas being the same size and colour ...a bed that frankly is blah.

After studying my hosta arrangements and those of others, I have come to the following conclusions as to what I like:

In regard to contrast I like the look of solid yellow hostas against solid blue hostas, but when it comes to solid yellow hostas and solid green hostas, I find it easier on the eye to transition from solid yellows to solid greens by means of an intermediary variegated green/yellow hosta, especially if the solid yellow and solid green have the same form. I think Steve Mass' 'Sun Power' arrangement is lovely beacaue of the varying shapes, textures and colours of the ferns, spruce and hosta.

Like coll 123 I have been trying to transition from one hosta to another by picking up a c0lour from the first hosta into the second hosta or by means of drifts of companion plants. I'm experimenting with shade tolerance of other perennials besides hostas. I've found sedums and festuca more shade tolerant than I anticipated.

In my sun borders, I try to use repetition of plant material by either shape or colour. I experimented with planting in threes, one tall vertical plant , a medium sized plant and a small plant. I found that most spring flowering plants are low to the ground, medium plants are summer flowering and tall plnts have fall blooms, at least in my garden. I don't like too many vertical plants too close together, because it looks too busy to me. Because most hosta collectors have limited space, it is often difficult to repeat the same hosta, so I think this can be achieved by using the tall big hostas as vertical accents and by using smaller hostas in groups of three or more.

In my newest hosta bed I planted my biggest (by mature size) hostas first and filled in with smaller hostas and other perennials, which can be easily moved around if i don't find the effect pleasing.

With garden art, I try not to use more than one piece in any one location. I like the use of rocks to draw attention to any one hosta. Once again, I find threes pleasing to the eye- a hosta towering over a rock and then a smaller hosta nestled into the rock, for example.

As with anything beauty is in the eye of the beholder AND rules, when it comes to gardening, I break all the time. Sometimes I like the effect and at other times I don't.

Thanks for asking your question, Bettylu as it's helped me clarify the rules I TRY to follow.

    Bookmark   June 14, 2012 at 12:12PM
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