Help me plan for Spring (a request for pictures)

Ludi _PA_7aNovember 4, 2012

Now that fall has finally settled here in Philly I don't have much to play with outside since everything is well on its way to sleep.

Living in this house almost three years this was my first real year of gardening. Old unattended shrubs, random perennials buried underneath them, and no sense of up-keep or maintenance are pretty much what I am working with. I have fondly taken to calling it my jungle. But we all heard the story back in June so I won't rehash it here :p

Now that the leaves are almost down, the perennials gooey, and the overgrowth has died back (we did some serious pruning too) I can see the layout of the original beds better versus back in June.

I have started to map out the old landscaping versus what I would like to see it become in the following years. Naturally, you like to know what the plant you intend to garden with will look like. In the case of hostas that is not hard since there is so much documentation in the way of photos.

As we all know, this forum is great for viewing hosta photos. We are also lucky enough to have the hostalibrary. There are some hosta that I have looked at the library/stock photos and then I see the same hosta posted here on the forums and it will change my mind completely (Mctavish's Frosted Jade).

I have found though, some are not as well documented as others. This may be due to popularity, commercial availability, or the cultivar is very old.

I acquired about 30+ new hosta this year, most of which were decided upon based off picture alone but some were due to the description of mature growth ,or I saw a one-of picture that sold it on the spot (Mikado in this case).

I find that some of you out there are sitting on some beautiful mature clumps but we never see them either because the topic doesn't come up, or it did at one point and has been pushed back too far to search on the forums (the winter 2012 alphabet for example).

The request in all of this is for pictures of specific cultivars I have either acquired or are on my wishlist. If you have them and don't mind sharing I would greatly appreciate it. By all means though please link other pics of your favorites so as to enable me.

Thank you in advance to all those that share. I appreciate the generosity and will surely update you with thoughts and photos next year as I tame the jungle.



Fluted Fountain - I first saw UK's pic and thought it had great potential. After some research it seems it's a slow grower, but the ruffled edges and vase shape are what enticed me to buy it. If it grows up the way I anticipate I would like to group it with Frank Lloyd Wright and Krugerrand.

Mikado - I found (through google search) a forum post on GW back from May of 2009 where a member posted pics of their Mikado and I was SOLD. After research I found out it was registered in 1982 by Aden (I wasn't even alive yet). So, this one has been around for quite some time. Link below of referenced Mikado post.

Regal Supreme - We had a post about this guy back in July 2012 where there were two pics posted. I also managed to find a pic of UK's and I think I had asked about it as well in a separate post of mine. This one seems to be elusive and under performing.

The rest are on my wishlist:

Choo Choo Train

Gemstone - stumbled upon this one in the library - anyone growing it ?


Nancy - everyone raved about this one in a poll for yellows earlier this year - whatever became of that poll anyway ???

Nigrescens - HH has a great pic

Peacock Strut

Proud Sentry - only ever seen Naylor's catalog pic

Royal Flush - is this a look a like for Goodness Gracious ?

Smooth Sailing - Mocc first showed me this one

Winter Snow - Bevie Schmidt's pics on the library are what made me add this one to the list.

Here is a link that might be useful: Mikado

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Ludi, great list.

First off, Smooth Sailing continues to grow and look lovely, and I have one photo of it taken yesterday which shows its strength and fullness. It is one of my all-season favorites.

I have Royal Flush too, of course not a clump yet, just a first year container. I've noticed several of the petioles breaking at the base, so I must check into its health before dormancy reaches it.

I also have a Winter Snow, which is really fine looking, but not so much right now. Up until mid October it was fine though. Really planted in the ground beside Blue Angel, mostly in shade, when a beam of sunlight strikes it, Winter Snow fairly GLOWS. It is making a nicely rounded mound too, and holds its soft green/gold with white border beautifully. It is supposed to be a large, as is Blue Angel, and after growing in the ground from May 2011, going dormant last year in place, and living under the threat of HVX until I got around to testing it, I was very pleased it got a clean bill of health. Thankfully, my three ground-planted hosta, even the two from Lowes, were clean of any virus. Whew!

Blue Angel will also become a Large hosta, and it is absolutely perfect in leaf right now. I don't think it has a single spot on it, no slug bites, and heaven knows it has not been very sheltered from any elements. It also stayed really blue for a long time, even now it is a deep dark blue green, always well groomed even though it is surrounded by fallen brown pecan leaves. If you don't get something like that, my vote is for Clear Fork River Valley, by Van Wade, it's gonna be a big manly tough-substanced hosta.

Your instincts are good, so just go with your impulses. I saw at least one shrub in your garden which could be pulled out with no loss, but won't tell you what it is. Making an old garden come alive is a project for you young women. And as an older woman, I can tell you, it takes time for those shrubs to get mature and some of us just don't have the time left to see young plants grow up. Plan any shrubbery moves for the off season, and then plan on a lot of watering next spring. Some things do not like to be moved, but you can find that out in some great gardening books from the library.

    Bookmark   November 4, 2012 at 3:49PM
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Here is Blue Angel. Not on your list, but I think you'll find a spot where it will look good. This one came from Lowes and was planted around May 2011, spent last winter in the ground, and has looked lovely all year. This shot taken Nov 3, 2012.

    Bookmark   November 4, 2012 at 3:53PM
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Winter Snow last May 2012.

Blue Angel in July

,,,,AND here is the leaf shot of Clear Fork River Valley
in July

My photos since July got sort of messed up when my computer went nuts.

    Bookmark   November 4, 2012 at 4:02PM
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I am interested in the responses to your request as I don't have any on your list and some are on my "list" as well. For example Royal Flush. I fell for this one when I saw it in Cornelia Holland's garden in Nashville Tenn. It probably does well in warmer climates; not all hosta do.

Leaf shot of Royal Flush

Clump of Royal Flush

Good Luck, Beverly

    Bookmark   November 4, 2012 at 4:41PM
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gogirlterri(5 IL)

Moc, you had Nancy, or did you send it up to your friend Nancy up north? And wait until you see your Blue Angel next year. Yours is looking great and ready to leap.
Sorry no photographs Ludi. Bro doesn't have any of those on your list.

    Bookmark   November 5, 2012 at 7:45AM
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Steve Massachusetts Zone 5b


You probably know that Winter Snow is a sport of Sum and Substance. It shares many of the same characteristics of its mom plant (vigorous, sun tolerant growth, unruly mound) with the difference being the white slightly rippled margin. Here's what it looks like when it's well grown.


    Bookmark   November 5, 2012 at 8:11AM
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I sent My Friend Nancy TO "my friend Nancy." And I also chose it for my garden at the same time I chose Smooth Sailing. Both came from Mason Hollow up in New Hampshire. So far I have not seen just plain Nancy, but as often as it is mentioned, it must be pretty special too.

I plain lucked out on the two hosta from Lowes, they were healthy and are growing good. For months I agonized over having invited HVX into my garden soil, before I got the Agdia test kits and found out for sure. It was such a relief to know I could touch Winter Snow and Blue Angel, and not try to alleviate the effects of HVX hereafter.

Thanks for the nice photos of Royal Flush and Winter Snow. Hope mine look well grown one day.

    Bookmark   November 5, 2012 at 9:58AM
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Jon 6a SE MA


I would print out some pictures of each hosta you have and using the pictures and desciptions for size (use a tape measure to establish mature area covered, or pace each out) and habit (vase, low, etc). Stick the pictures on wooden skewers or something similar. Step back and see if each area is what you would like.

Some people like to set hosta as waves, some (like me) like to allow for each plant to grow to a natural shape without what I consider crowding. This will determine how much coverage you have with your selections.

Some people claim that you should avoid placing to many variagated or lighter hosta into fields of darker green (or blue) as it has the eye dancing from one highlight to another (mixing it up too much). They would say that lighter colors and darker colors should be grouped together so the entire bed is given closer attention. A few variations can really stand out as specimens. I think there is some validity to this, but, each to their own taste.

I would also take into consideration how much sun each gets in each location. Darker green and blues, and large thin leafed hosta do better in shadier locations. Lighter greens and variagated hosta need more sun.

I think once you have (1)accounted for the sun and needs of each hosta, (2)your choice of wave or specimen spacing, (3)taken into account whether you subscribe to dictates of not mixing it up too much....or not and (4)visualized the height and form for best placement and presentation you will have 99% of your planning done. You can then determine if you need or want some particular color, height, form or other attribute to fill in the blanks.

You will find plenty of suggestions on what you might like once you reach this point and you will have a far better idea of what you want/need at that point. I think you could easily set up some really nice areas with your current selections. I also think you might be surprised at how much area you will cover when you take mature sizes into consideration.

Good luck and have fun.


    Bookmark   November 5, 2012 at 1:36PM
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Ludi _PA_7a

Mocc - You intrigue me with me your riddle of which shrub you would pull.

I have plans to remove all the Azaleas, and that obnoxious boxwood. The Rhody's will get pruned down and left to grow back so that I can manage them into a reasonable shape.

The name escapes me at the moment, but the lower growing shrub that gets all the little fennel style purple flower clumps is coming out too. They are aggressive when not pruned and its current placement is not optimal for the pathway I am planning.

We also had a hoard of Skimmia that I yanked out. Nasty creeping shrub that will root anywhere it can get a branch down. The berries are cute, but it was just out of control.

Your Smooth Sailing looks like it's on its way to sleep, but still strong. I am excited to see it in the spring when the subtle variegation shows more :)

That Clear Fork River Valley is impressive, but you and I both know that Elegans would never allow me to introduce another type of large blue . . . she rules the roost around here :p Although my wandering eyes stray to Blue Angel A LOT when looking through catalogs.

I see your Elegans in the latter pic looking matronly and strong. I hope you enjoy her as much as I do :)

Winter Snow is fantastic. Between you and Steve's pics I am that much more convinced.

Thank you Steve. Your stash of pics never fails to impress.

Beverly - thank you for sharing Royal Flush :) I did some more research and in my opinion I find Royal Flush to have a slicker leaf and a wider yellow margin than Goodness Gracious. Your pics make me think I am more inclined to the narrow band of green and shinier leaf of Royal Flush.

Jon - Thank you for the generous ideas and thoughts:) I have started to keep a database where I detail the vendor, origin, year bought and (if registered) mature measurements. All that I obtained this year are in pots so I will in essence be using your picture stake method this spring. I think to hold me over though I will take a page from McTavish's book and overlay stock photos onto my pics and see if I can't picture stake digitally :)

Fortunately, we have an arborist coming in about a month to trim back some of the sycamores and take out two maples that are close to the garage and house. He will be cleaning up other trees as well which will greatly improve the amount of light that hits the ground next year. I have a feeling though it will still be pretty shady, but certain areas should open up more for the yellows and sun tolerant variants.

Thanks again everyone :) I have all winter to think about it . . . which could be good and bad :p


    Bookmark   November 6, 2012 at 7:54PM
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OK, Bevie's pics on HL of Winter Snow you liked. Here's two VERY similar shots of the same plant, but from a few years later. You may note it has not grown all that much larger, and that seems typical for one in a lot of shade as this one is.

These shots are from late June and late July 2010, respectively, and I am pretty sure they are her shots, since the EXIF data shows they were taken with the camera she was using then, but then again, back then I used her camera because I didn't have one of my own, teehee. Anyway, she was taking way more pics than me that year, so they're most likely hers, but she lets me use them when I can't find one of my own. I just hollar out to her computer room, 'Hey Hon, have ya got a good shot of . . .' ;-)

I'd bet a free Hosta that this one would grow much faster with some actual direct sun,


    Bookmark   November 6, 2012 at 9:52PM
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We have Choo Choo Train, but find, at least here, that a very similar one, Hosta 'Squash Casserole' is by far more robust in the same very shady conditions, rare for a 'yellow-ish' Hosta:

I checked EXIF on these shots, they're mine ;-)


    Bookmark   November 6, 2012 at 10:16PM
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Ludi, the one I meant is, I think, the one you referred to as obnoxious.....but the one closer to the house is an aucuba, which can be moved and kept cut short and recover nicely in another spot. It might look nice behind some gold hosta,and it responds well to pruning. Or, you can root cuttings of it for anotehr spot.

Love HH's photos of Winter Snow and Squash Casserole. I have the Squash guy too, and it is still looking fine, not down for the count yet. However, our weather is getting cooler, meaning somewhere in the 40s at the lowest, and we had a wee bit of rain last night. I bought 30 more bags of mulch to carpet the ground of the hosta winter that is, like your garden, a work in progress.

Yes indeed, I love the Elegans, think of you, Ludi, when I look at it. She doesn't seem to be envious of my other blues, perhaps because I have her elevated on a pedestal, as all real ladies should be.

And, I say this quietly (in a whisper) I placed an "early bird" order with Naylor Creek, delivery to be week of March 23, 2013......including some nice hosta.....Poseidon (fragrant sport of Athena).....Catch Of The Day (fragrant sport of Royal Standard).....and the lovely Bridal Falls. And about a dozen more. (Now, BKay, do not worry, we'll have room because of attrition.....and hanging the small pots on the fence.)

Come on spring!!!

    Bookmark   November 6, 2012 at 11:10PM
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You mentioned nigrescens. Here's a serious look-alike that can replace it if it's easier to find for you.

Hosta 'Tenryu':

Sorry for the not-so-clear shot. It was taken just before dusk and it gets dark fast in this very shady garden.

The pic was taken with Bevie's 'then' camera, but I distinctly remember taking the shot. After all and besides, Bevie isn't dumb enough to try to shoot a dark Hosta in the dark ;-)

On our last visit to Wade Botanical Gardens I challenged Mr. Wade (in a friendly fashion) to show me the difference between nigrescens and Tenryu. We jumped on one of his golf carts and went to harvest leaves. By the time we got back to 'the shop' we couldn't remember which ones were from which plant. Hmmmm, eh? He was undaunted, though, and back we went to collect specimens. We made sure to keep them seperate the second time around. We still couldn't prove anything definitive different between them.

I'm still completely open to anyone who can help with this!

happy trails,



oh, here's our nigrescens:

    Bookmark   November 7, 2012 at 12:18AM
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Ludi _PA_7a

How in the world did I miss HH and Mocc's replies ?!?!?!?!?!

Forums don't move as fast down the list this time of year but STILL, I am flabbergasted that I missed these.

I'm sorry :(

First off, thank you HH for all the great pics and suggestions. After seeing your pics of Winter Snow in shade and Steve's in more light I actually think I prefer the denser shade version better (both are beautiful don't get me wrong).

I am in love with your Nigrescens but good to know that Tenryu is a look a like. I noticed Bridgewood sells Nigresecens, was planning on picking it up in the spring, but if bump into Tenryu I might snag him up as well.

Squash Casserole huh ? Would have never given it a second look. I know you have pretty dense shade in certain parts and for a yellow to be as full as yours is something of note. My shade is not nearly as dense so I imagine I would have a more yellowish color . . . or is this a softer chartreuse hosta by nature ?

Thanks again for taking the time to respond, shame I was so late with my response :(

Ohhh Mocc the Boxwood is indeed the obnoxious one. It will be removed whenever I get around to that side of the garden. The Aucuba on the other hand is a fantastic bush and I adore it's character. I would prefer to move it to a more architecturally pleasing spot, and figured out of all the established shrubs it would probably fair the best for a transplant. I'm not sure that I will be getting to that section of the yard next year. I am breaking it off in quadrants and that is set to be quadrant 3 which according to my game plan would be my third year of gardening.

I too have placed my spring Naylor order and Bridal Falls was of course on there. Some others I chose were Hearts on Fire, Frisian Wavey Steel, Forest Firefly, Parisian Silk, Gretchen's Grace and Dark Shadows. Mine are set to arrive the second week in May (already excited). I also ordered a second Sharp Dressed Man. I have decided to put one on either side of the stairs up to the front porch. I would have put two Liberty's but the space is too small and they would have eventually out grown it.

And now I wait . . . I have all these ideas and a good 4 months before I can get my hands dirty again.

::Sighs at Winter::


    Bookmark   November 14, 2012 at 12:12AM
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Ludi, it is a pretty good thing you cannot get your hands dirty sometimes. That's what saved me from many mistakes, during the years I was gone from home for sometimes six months at a stretch. While gone, I drew up all kinds of plans, for the garden, for the house, and thankfully I usually came to my senses before time came to do the job.

I have a project going now, what I am calling the Hosta Sanctuary, where they will overwinter in the shadiest spot of my garden. And perhaps next spring more will come back from dormancy refreshed and vigorous. Here is one of the shots of that sanctuary. I think it will be a place for me to sit as well.

BTW, I just ordered 4 pounds of ground cayenne pepper, 90,000hu so it is pretty hot, due for delivery today. I will wear latex gloves to shake it all over the surface of my hosta pots, where the danged squirrels are burying the pecans. And maybe a wee bit on the leaves as well, just to determine if anything can be deterred from nibbling leaves before dormancy sets in.

Anyway, here is one of the pictures. I'll start a thread later when I upload to Flickr.

    Bookmark   November 14, 2012 at 1:21PM
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