YOUR first introduction to the world of Hosta..stories

josephines123 z5 ON CanadaJuly 19, 2013

How did you first get introduced to hosta? Can you remember your first reaction?

I'd love to hear your would be interesting to hear about your recollections.

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  1. Bought a property. Wanted to fix up the yard. Got interested in gardening. Loved roses. Had shade. Bought roses. Roses died a painfully slow death. Hired a landscaper for advice. He said "hostas". I said "Meh..." I wanted flowers. He told me to garden some more until I got over it and eventually come to appreciate texture, line and leaf shape in the garden much more that a showy flower. It took another year of killing roses until I got on board. Now I look at roses and go, "Meh..."
    Bookmark   July 19, 2013 at 12:43PM
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I think it was 2004. We had just bought our first house and I was fairly new to the whole gardening thing. I loved iris flowers, so I drove out to the Salem, OR area to tour Mid-America Garden and pick out some iris I liked. They also happened to have several hosta gardens on the grounds (which are now Sebright Gardens) with fantastic, large hosta specimens. I think I was like, "Wow, those are awesome" and I purchased a couple that day. Well, as everyone knows, no one can buy just a couple and be done with it. I was hooked. Now, it's funny because I only have about 5 irises and almost 80 hostas!

    Bookmark   July 19, 2013 at 1:08PM
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It was HERE!
I bought a home that had only the usual common varieties, some of which were dying a slow death around a large maple in the front yard. I got online and searched for answers why, and found the GardenWeb Hosta forum!

Scrolling through the pictures here and reading the friendly advice from all of you was all it took to get hooked. I then visited a local nursery, bought Sum & Substance, Blue Mammoth and Sun Power and now - about six years later, I have about 45 varieties and if I could afford to get rid of the maples (HUGE ones), and replace with more hosta friendly shade trees, I would cover my entire lot!

I just love, love, love hosta and never get tired of seeing everyones beautiful photos!

    Bookmark   July 19, 2013 at 1:37PM
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robo (z6a)

I also love hosta! I have been interested in and visiting Japanese gardens in North America for about 15 years. Buying my first house, then finding out the yard had part shade, shade, deep shade and more shade to offer has made me reluctantly give up most all the conifers I wish I could grow and investigate shade plants instead. I always liked hostas and hey, even if they don't predominate in tea gardens over here they're still Japanese!

Also my parents hate all hosta and most everything that's not a native or heritage cottage garden maybe a little childhood rebellion?

    Bookmark   July 19, 2013 at 3:39PM
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tsugajunkie z5 SE WI

In the early 90's a brother of mine got into hosta and tried to "talk" me into trying some. "Those plain green things?", I said, "No way". Then he gave me a piece of his montana 'Aureomarginata' and I saw the light...well, the variegation, anyway.


    Bookmark   July 19, 2013 at 4:22PM
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ilovetogrow z9 Jax Florida

I was at Kmart and they were selling cute plants in a 4" pot. Later that summer I was at Lowes and they had this green plant that was cute so I bought that. End of summer they all died. Put pots in back and wintered. February clean up and OMG they were still here and with nibs (pips). I fell in love with pips. They came back and had names, tags with names like Show Boat and Patriot.: Hostas even the little green guy, Blue Mouse Ears.. Hosta it rang so nicely to my ears. Hosta I said I need more of these. They have pips. I love pips. Than I was told 'they do not grow in the South'. So I came here where I always come Garden Web to learn what is a Hosta. 200+ hostas later I am still here with Show Boat, Patriot and Blue mouse ears 4 years old now. I love the pips. Paula

    Bookmark   July 19, 2013 at 4:56PM
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Jo, it started for me when I bought this 'Fortunei Aureomarginata' as a tiny plant back in 2009. When it came up last spring, I guess it was it's 'leap year' and it came up with some mature characteristics. I said 'Wow, that's a nice plant! I wonder if there are other kinds of hosta available for the garden'? Oh, there sure are! Shortly after, I placed my first-ever online hosta order with NH Hostas, stumbled across this forum, and now I have about 150 different kinds, and still acquiring more. : )

Don B.

    Bookmark   July 21, 2013 at 5:27PM
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cyn427(z7aN. VA)

My story is pretty much the same as Hostanista's. Moved into this house in 1997 and there were a few of the ubiquitous green and white hostas out front and nothing but ivy, vinca, and bamboo in the back. Discovered GW and the Hosta forum when I finally killed the ivy and bamboo. I even began to label the Hosta, but when we adopted the two galloping gardeners (mother/son tag team), that stopped. Now, I have more than 200 Hosta and room for any more actually. I will never be as knowledgeable as most of you and I can't give you the names of very many of mine, but the addiction is definitely here to stay. Thank you all for leading me to the dark (shady) side! ;)


ps. I made the mistake of glancing at the Hosta Auction and am expecting three new ones (Tea Time, Strawberry Parfait, and Smoke Signals) this week-yes, I am completely nuts.

    Bookmark   July 21, 2013 at 8:01PM
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The year was 2009....I had only a few 'hairs' of grass growing under our tree in the front yard....It was August, and I was at K-Mart and they had these cute little hostas call "Krossa" I bought 5 of them for $1.00 each, and planted then under this tree....and mulched them...I figured that if they make it fine, if not, they are the old evergreens in the back are trimmed up high, and this year I went bananas planting all sorts of hostas....I guess when the hosta bug sets in....look out! I am beyond hooked!

    Bookmark   July 22, 2013 at 10:48AM
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Summer 2010, I wanted to "beautify" my yard. But flowers were a problem because of the big oak tree overshadowing everything... Not even grass grows there! So I went to Walmart and I was looking at the shade plants. The garden guy said that hostas are quite popular and easy to care for (I have problems keeping indoor plants and goldfish alive). I was looking at the hosta (my undulate albomarginata) thinking "This is pretty" so I bought it on the spot. We had a lot of rain that year so it got more than it's fair share of rain. But when it came back more stunning and larger than the previous year, I bought 4 more and was given my mama mia... This year, I've gone a little crazy and bought twice as much as I intended to.

    Bookmark   July 22, 2013 at 11:45AM
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In 1997 my wife and I bought our first home. We had a large deck on the back with a large shade tree. There was absolutely no landscaping around the house. I started at the back around the deck. While shopping my local big box stores I picked up a few hostas because they were labeled as shade plants. By the time they came back the next year, they were looking pretty interesting so I added a few more. By the next year I was smitten and started looking online to see if there were more varieties available. I found the Hosta Library and we started going broke after that. By the time we moved from TN to VT I had accumulated 100+ varieties. Needless to say I brought them all with me to VT. Now I have over 400 and I am trying to get back down to about 100. It's much easier to add than subtract.

    Bookmark   July 22, 2013 at 12:37PM
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kalija(6 WNY)

I started out like Don, with Fortunai Aureomarginata. I needed something for a shady spot next to my deck stairs. At the time I was concentrating on my rose beds in the front of the house so I more or less left it to its own devices in the back. After a couple years I started noticing how nice it was looking, seemingly without any effort from me. Then last year my dh asked if there was anything we could plant behind the house under our Japanese maple tree. Its pretty shady there and the grass never did well. So I started researching shade plants and I found the hosta forum on gardenweb and discovered a whole new world.... one of the first threads I stumbled into was full of pics of Montana Aureomarginata - I was smitten and ordered one that week.

    Bookmark   July 22, 2013 at 7:02PM
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hosta_freak(z6 NC)

I've told this story before a few times. It started in 2002,when I decided to plant a few hostas,because I live in the woods,and flowers are not an option. I heard about hostas somewhere,so I bought 9 of them at a local nursery,and made a planting bed at the north side of my house. I amended the soil,and added oak leaves for more acid,and put in rocks to keep the dirt from washing downhill. They looked good for awhile,before I realized voles moved in,and ate 6 of my original hostas. I almost gave up then,but I still had some of them. In 2003,I built steps from pressure-treated lumber down to where my first garden path began. It is 11 steps down from my driveway. There was what seemed to be a natural path down the hill to a little creek at tha bottom of the hill. I covered the path with cypress mulch,and began planting hostas all along the path, That is now the 'old' part of the garden. In 2006,the power company came along,and cleared a lot of small trees away from what is now the newest part of the garden. I cleared out tons of wild honeysuckle vines,and I am still battling them. This area is under Dogwood trees,and seems to be the perfect area for hostas. There are native ferns,and Trilliums also in there,and I just garden around them. I now have over 350 hostas and seedlings out there. Phil

    Bookmark   July 22, 2013 at 8:40PM
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I never had interest in gardening when I moved here, but the large blue hostas outside my inlaws front door always caught my eye. When we bought our house, I still didn't have much interest in gardening, mostly because I was intimidated by the science. Finally one day I threw my dog's frisbee into the wild, weedy, prickly mess once too often and decided to start ripping that crap out and think about making something nice out there. I grilled my FIL for info on what I could grow with our conditions p, and was so thrilled that I had the right conditions to grow those big blue things. His son may have no interest in them, but my FIL and I share the bond of the love of hostas and he helped me get started.

This is the hosta by his front door that got me hooked

This post was edited by coll_123 on Mon, Jul 22, 13 at 22:14

    Bookmark   July 22, 2013 at 9:30PM
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Unbeknownst to me at the time I purchased Wide Brim and Gold Standard at a neighborhood plant sale. That was probably 15 years ago. I may only have 86 different hostas, but I have many WB and GS. Still two of my favorites. WW

    Bookmark   July 22, 2013 at 10:30PM
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ademink(z5a-5b Indianapolis)

15 or 16 years ago, a friend of my split her "green plant" (lancifolia) and gave me a chunk. I planted it under a grape arbor in the rental I was living in. I didn't have the first clue about gardening at that time and so EVERY night I watered it with Miracle Gro. You've never SEEN such a big lancifolia in your LIFE. lol

When I moved into my present house 11 years ago, I brought it with me. I figured out how to divide it and "make more". Went on a garden tour the next year and saw Sum and Substance. It was the beginning of obsession.

Now...over 500-some varieties later...

    Bookmark   July 22, 2013 at 10:44PM
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I bought a box of hosta undulata Mediovariegata roots way back in the early 90's, when I first started gardening in our newly built house. I didn't even know what hostas were at the time. These ones are still around, but I've added about 50 more to my collection.

    Bookmark   July 23, 2013 at 3:37PM
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josephines123 z5 ON Canada

Am loving these stories, thanks! keep them coming...
Ademink...EVERY Night!!?? Lol I'll just bet it was huge! You're up to 500???
Sheesh, kinda makes me humble with my little gang of 70 plus but by the end of this week, it'll be more....keeping SOME in pots to try this out, just afraid I'll be neglectful about watering. Easy thing with buying and leaving in pot is that you don't have to dig! And move them around to get a new look, and protect them from too much sun...that whole portable garden idea is sounding better and better if I listen to myself LOL

I like to read about the progression in your stories. For me it was an instant appreciation visually, of Lancifolia, but when she survived the winter in a garbage bag...that was when it really started for me.

From 1980 to 1993 I got into perennial gardening. Hosta? Well, I had H. lancifolia! Frances Williams, Halcyon (my second hosta I believe), Hyacinthina, then along came Sum and Substance, Undulata and her ilk, Krossa Regal......I remember having 13 at some point, but don't recall the rest of them as well as I do now.

My hosta "collecting" reads amassing started getting into swing about 5 years ago and now I'm in full stride! I just have to curb my enthusiasm somewhat due to limited space.....I hate restraint and make no bones about it. Lol

Even though I have name tags with my hosta, I don't need them, they are there for friends and relatives, neighbours. I'm no different from all of you, I know all the names and will know them all even as the numbers's just a thing we hosta lovers have, yes?

    Bookmark   July 23, 2013 at 4:39PM
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gogirlterri(5 IL)

Jo-as a little girl playing in the shade between 2-flats in the Chicago NW side on hot summer days. The entire space was planted with Lancifolia by our grandmother Anna. (That where I have my middle name Ann from).

It isn't an exciting story like many of you, but it's place in my heart is AWESOME!

You would not believe the big smile that always brings in my heart. Here is one for all of you hosta-lovers, :o)


    Bookmark   July 24, 2013 at 8:37AM
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janann(zone 5)

Moved back to IA from TX 15 years ago. Bought a house that said in the listing something about a lot of perennials and gardens. I was disappointed when we saw it. There was a row of green and white hostas in the front, a row of iris on one side, bushes on the other and two small beds in the back with daylilies, sedums and peonies and not much else. Bought a hosta grab bag by mail, it arrived as a bag of unmarked roots. Planted them in and around the line of green and whities. Years later tore off the deck, built a porch and decided it was time to do something about the patch under the maples without grass. Was told to plant hostas, lamium and perennial geraniums. (found out later it was because it was so dry because of the hard maples. Now I just water every second or third day.) So I split the ones i had and thought all was well until a friend gave me Guacamole. I thought I didn't have room, she said there is always room for another hosta. I didn't know there were so many varieties, started looking online. Ordered a bunch online with same friend, thought I would never care about names, threw out all the tags. (I can hear you all groaning!) Next year saw Blue Shadows online, searched and couldn't find it. Ordered a bunch more, cared about their names, painted all their names on rocks. Still don't know some of the first ones. :( Ended up with two of some of them. :) Saw Blue Shadows, searched high and low for it online. Ordered it, not Blue Shadows. :( Kept searching..... Met a great lady at the Des Moines farmers market, who has become a dear friend, and have learned so much more from her. Found the forum, learned more. Bought more, planted more, bought more, planted more....haven't counted lately, but close to 400 varieties, or maybe over. (I also have a duplicates of some of my favorites. Some examples... June is a lot of different places and is one whole tree ring in the back. I have a tree ring of Golden Meadows and a row of daylilies with a rainforest sunrise in between each one. ) And then I finally found Blue Shadows thanks to Paul putting me in touch with JIm. It is as gorgeous as the photo I saw. And now my yard is becoming what I had envisioned that day I read the listing. It isn't all hostas, there are a lot of clematis, daylilies, and other sun perennials around the edges. But it is funny as the sun lovers are all blooming out trying to find the sun since I have a lot of trees. I should have just planted all hostas. he he he

    Bookmark   July 24, 2013 at 8:09PM
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bernd ny zone5

I started with hostas when we moved into our present house in 1987. I always liked to garden, but it was vegetables and fruits and all kinds of perennials. I learned soon that the perennials which grow well in shade and need little upkeep are hostas. I bought hostas from mail order nurseries which send paper catalogs in the mail and from a local large nursery. That nursery sold all perennials in fall finally at $1 a pot, and I bought 30 pots several times over the years. After many years I had borders of hostas in the shady back of the house, 2009 I had 35 varieties and a lot of duplicates.

Then in 2009 my grandson went to pre-K school in a town which had a liitle park where we often parked before picking him up after school. There they had a montana 'Aureomarginata' or h.'Atlantis' growing which really got me thinking in looking into all the new hosta varieties. So I found this forum and the Hosta Library, am a member of hosta societies, and now have 200 varieties plus 30 streaked seedlings and do hybridize hostas. A lot of those duplicates I had in 2009 were replaced with the new cultivars. I did not dig up new lawn.
In addition I also have 60 dwarf conifers, but they grow in full sun in the front of my house.

    Bookmark   July 25, 2013 at 6:54PM
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Eleven(Metro Detroit 6A)

I moved into my first house about 15 years ago. I had monster bleeding hearts along one shady side and added a sidewalk border of my own out front. My purchases included a couple rose bushes, a couple yellow hostas, moss roses, snapdragons, and some dianthus. Everything grew well, except the hostas always burned in the summer. As you can imagine with that mix, I had them planted in quite a lot of sun.

Then 5 years ago, we bought our forever home with huge hundred year old oak trees and gobs of understory trees and shrubs. The old homeowner used to garden, so I found about a dozen older varieties of hostas in the overgrowth. Inniswood got me hooked, but Sum and Substance, Regal Splendor, Gold Standard, Frances Williams, Royal Standard, Hyacinthina, Fragrant Bouquet, Francee, and Fortunei Aureomarginata all helped. Oh, guess I shouldn't forget all the Undulata Albomarginata and Univitatta. I still use those to ring trees (for now).

I think I knew I was a hosta person the day I realized that a mix of solid green hostas was actually two different kinds. I can now differentiate Royal Standard and Erromena on sight, lol.

    Bookmark   July 26, 2013 at 11:29AM
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