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Seven Levels of Hosta Gardeners

Posted by funnthsun 7B - NC (My Page) on
Sun, Jan 26, 14 at 22:57

The following was posted by dhaven on 5-25-11 and now resurrected for our enjoyment. Thanks so much for originally posting this, dhaven:

"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."


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Seven Levels of Hosta Gardeners

sounds about right to me..this can be said for a number of plant groups from palms to begonias. is it possible to be part of multiple groups lol?


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RE: Seven Levels of Hosta Gardeners

sounds about right to me..this can be said for a number of plant groups from palms to begonias. is it possible to be part of multiple groups lol?


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RE: Seven Levels of Hosta Gardeners

Thanks for bringing this back funnthsun (and d haven for the original post.) Most of us will identify with a place on this list! This summer I shall attempt to reach the next milestone by getting to the 200 mark - after digging up some grass of course. I will be 'major hostaholic' - something to report in the Xmas letter lol!
Jan


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RE: Seven Levels of Hosta Gardeners

LOL right there with you, Jan. Addition of hostas by subtraction of lawn = Don also reaching 200+ hostas this season as well.

Looking forward to it!

Don B.


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RE: Seven Levels of Hosta Gardeners

So, is it possible to skip through the first six phases and go straight to seven? I went from about 12 that I knew the names of a few, to over 75 and now know the lineage of a lot of them, to growing seedlings and thinking about what I have that I could hybridize next year.


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RE: Seven Levels of Hosta Gardeners

LOL Devon, I'd say you're pretty firmly in Group 3 for the moment (as am I), but certainly are aspiring to higher levels. That seems to be normal, and we usually settle on a comfortable pace to get to those higher phases, after we sprint out of our starting gates. Nothing wrong with looking ahead, though! : )

Group 3 (With eyes on Group 4 this season),
Don B.


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RE: Seven Levels of Hosta Gardeners

Pace yourself. You are in it for the long haul. No cure for what ails you in this case.


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RE: Seven Levels of Hosta Gardeners

I'm in the third group with a little over 100 varieties. Although I plan on expanding hosta beds I'll stick to the varieties I already have; too many "look alikes" for my clouded vision.


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RE: Seven Levels of Hosta Gardeners

I didn't realize it was a progressive disease. That makes the thought I had about hybridizing the slippery slope. I am firmly in group three and would like to stay there.
Kathy


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RE: Seven Levels of Hosta Gardeners

You would like to stay there? That's funny! Kind of like saying you are going to stay out of the strip clubs, yet hang out with the Beibs! You might not want to return to this forum, ever again!


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RE: Seven Levels of Hosta Gardeners

Good luck staying at level 3 Kathy! Unfortunately it is inevitable that you will make the progression to superstar hybridizer. And you will have lots of fun along the way!


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RE: Seven Levels of Hosta Gardeners

I think I went too quickly from level 3 to 7. I have seedlings growing but my labels are still in a box in the basement.


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RE: Seven Levels of Hosta Gardeners

I'm a 4 borderline on tipping into level 5...

Who am I kidding?


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RE: Seven Levels of Hosta Gardeners

"I didn't realize it was a progressive disease"-- ZKathy

I didn't either. Too late!! Heh heh heh heh heh...

Don B.


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RE: Seven Levels of Hosta Gardeners

Well,
It's not my only addiction and I'm managing the rest of them OK.
Kathy


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RE: Seven Levels of Hosta Gardeners

It's OK Kathy; It's not a bad thing. There is no 12-step program, because, who the heck wants to quit hostas?? : )

Don B.


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RE: Seven Levels of Hosta Gardeners

I think I'm a no. 3, with about 20 planted and about 35 waiting in the garage for spring. Planted about 65-70 at the SPCA this past fall and they have 3 more nice "islands" I wish I could plant. Unfortunately, they are in the "dog walk" area and the dog walkers think nothing of letting the animals "fertilize" those areas. Besides they are moving to a larger facility in the next yr. or so, and I will have to ask my Hosta club to help me dig them up and transplant them at the new facility about 15 miles away. But my wish lists are growing every day. Pretty soon my family & friends will start avoiding me due do my "addiction". Already plan on pulling my pavers in the front lawn to extend my bed.


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RE: Seven Levels of Hosta Gardeners

I'm firmly in Group 4, where I plan to rest. Unlike most of you,. I went slowly - aperiod of about 15 years. I broke down and counted how many I have last fall, and I've just gone over the 300 mark. That's enough.
That's enough for the nonce


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RE: Seven Levels of Hosta Gardeners

You can always curtail your addiction by letting your back and knees have a say too. Mine refuse to take part in any digging up more lawn. Bernd


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RE: Seven Levels of Hosta Gardeners

I fall into group 3, I only had four or five before last autumn when I discovered the world of hosta and have become a little obsessed lol.

I am finalising a list to order soon and have some questions so I'll start a new thread for that.

I am interested in getting some seed growing but I don't have any of the lights and stuff so will have to look into this for next winter.


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RE: Seven Levels of Hosta Gardeners

I don't believe I'm a member of any of those groups.

First, I don't know how many hostas I have, so that makes categorizing difficult. I also don't know how many varieties. Neither ot those numbers interests me at all.

What interests me is the beauty the hostas bring to the yard. I tend to believe the more hostas, the more beauty. And I love duplicates and triplicates and quadruplicates of the greatest hostas.

And I hybridize. Of course I'm interested in streakers but also cool plain ones.

I think the categories have a lot of truth to them, but I suppose I'm just a square peg that doesn't fit into any of the round holes.


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RE: Seven Levels of Hosta Gardeners

I'm delighted that people are enjoying this old posting again. I only rarely check this forum these days, so it's sheer luck that I saw this, and it's brightened my day. Thanks, funnthsun!


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RE: Seven Levels of Hosta Gardeners

mountainy_man, from now on it will always happen that you make this list in winter, then order these hostas, but thereafter you notice that other nursery and order some more, then in summer and early fall you visit nurseries and buy more. Then the next winter you will promise not to buy anymore hostas, but then buy 35 anyway over the year. That's how it happened to me. Now I have those 100 seedlings growing in my basement, but that is not much, others have thousands.....
Bernd


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RE: Seven Levels of Hosta Gardeners

Yes Bernd, it seems that I'm on that slippery slope of no return................

Luckily/unluckily hosta nurseries in Ireland are like hens teeth.

The thought of culling seedlings terifies me lol. how can people throw away their babies!


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