I haven’t done a post in my own garden since April 19, when the hosta spikes appear above ground. Why? Too busy gardening. The day in mid-April when the hostas poke through is a day I look forward to every year, but the day in early June when they’re all done spreading out is a day to celebrate. And it’s a day by which most of the work in the garden is done. The rains this year made everyone’s gardens more lush and luxuriant. Things got big, fast, and there was less planting to do, but more weeding. Now it’s time to relax a bit and enjoy the results:
In a garden like ours, shady and rocky (and with deer fencing), various cultivars of Hosta plantaginea (sometimes labled in nurseries as Plantain Lily or Funkia) are the stars of the show. Several years ago, a (former) friend came by and sniffed, “Your garden isn’t very colorful, is it?” That’s when I started paying more attention to leaf sizes and shapes and shades of green. You can find them all in the hosta universe.
“Perfect for brightening up dark corners,” advise the catalogs. All I’ve got (except the deck) are dark corners, so there are hostas in the borders, under trees, under the deck, grouped around rocks. They’ve been divided over and over and have spread into masses of ground cover. The oldest ones, Decorata—green with white edges—now surround single specimens of specimens like Band of Gold, dark green with gold bolders, and Fragrant Queen, with big white streaks. The really cool new ones aren’t green and white, but dark teal with chartreuse. Here and there, I’ve planted Blue Diamond, small, non-variegated and almost turquoise; and Faith, with light green crinkly leaves.
“Big blue,” our enormous Sieboldiana Elegans, with huge, quilted leaves, remains my favorite. And his offspring are all over the place.
You can check out 7,000 species and cultivars on hostasdirect.com, which has a database for comparisons by size, leaf length and width, color, margin size and width, streaks, mottles, type of furrows, corrugation, etc.