I’m more and more impressed with Hosta ‘Miss America’ each year. Not only is this white-centered hosta amazingly vigorous, but it has one of the finest floral shows we’ve ever seen on a hosta. The steel rod-like upright flower stalks on our plant have reached 4′ tall, but as the plant grows larger, they will eventually top 6′ in height. Not wind, rain, or post office vehicle can knock down these super sturdy stalks, and the great show they provide for weeks. Our plant is 100′ from our back porch, and it shows up like a floral beacon even from that distance.
He’re a shot from our garden that we see every morning, featuring a drift of the giant, sun-loving Hosta ‘Sum and Substance’…and much more.
Below is another shot from the same location in the garden, but looking north. Who said summer gardens need to be boring?
Looking great in the crevice garden this month is the Pacific Northwest native, Dichelostemma ida-maia This odd little bulb is a member of the Asparagus family…so that makes it as cousin to agaves, hostas, and asparagus. In the wild, it is only found in coastal meadows and into forest edges and partial woodland openings in Northern California and Southern Oregon. As a rule, California natives typically aren’t climatically welcomed in the rainy Southeast US, but Dichelostemma ida-maia is an exception.
We often hear and read that hostas won’t grow well in the mid and deep south, so we thought we should share a few garden photos from this week at JLBG (Zone: 7b), to bust yet another garden myth.
Starting with some small/miniature hostas, the first is Doug Beilstein’s Hosta ‘Baby Booties’, a superbly vigorous dwarf that has really been exceptional.
Hosta ‘Blue Fingers’ is a PDN/JLBG introduction of one of the very few tiny blue-leaf hostas with excellent vigor and a good multiplication rate.
Hosta ‘Wriggles and Squiggles’ is an exceptionally wavy-leaf, small, gold introduction from plant breeder, Hans Hansen.
Hosta ‘Fire and Ice’ is another Hans Hansen introduction that was a reverse sport of Hosta ‘Patriot’. It fares much better when given more light, even a few hours of sun in the morning.
Hosta ‘Swamp Thing’ is a PDN/JLBG introduction with great vigor and glossy foliage
Hosta ‘Beyond Glory’ is a Hans Hansen sport from Hosta ‘Glory’. This is just one exceptional hosta, which also benefits from a bit of morning sun or very open shade.
Hosta ‘Diamond Lake’ is a stunning new Hans Hansen creation with large blue corrugated leaves with exceptional leaf rippling.
Hosta ‘Gold Meadows’ is one of our favorite sports of Hosta sieboldiana ‘Elegans’. When the weather warms, the central pattern fades to solid blue, but in spring, it’s absolutely stunning. It has also shown great vigor in the Southeastern US.
Hosta ‘One Last Dance’ is a Hans Hansen/Walters Gardens sport of Hosta ‘Dancing Queen’. We think it’s hard to beat this amazing plant. The vigor is evident in our photo.
We’ve been working on upgrading many of the temporary gates throughout the garden, our first few, which went in this year are all designed by NC sculptor Jim Gallucci, from photos we took in the JLBG Gardens. We all need more art in our gardens…Enjoy!
There’s a reason hostas are the #1 perennial in the US. The incredible diversity of leaf shapes, sizes, and colors are one, combined with the array of climates in which they thrive. It’s long been rumored that hostas don’t grow well here in Zone 7b, but that simply isn’t the case if you prepare your soil properly (lots of compost) and allow for plenty of summer moisture.
Below are a few hosta cultivars that are looking particularly nice this week at JLBG. Of course, the proverbial deer-in-the-room is that hosta make quite the tasty buffet for both humans and wood rats. Deer fences and organic sprays all work, but the breakthrough will come when CRISPR technology is used to implant the Capsaicin (pepper) gene in hostas, rendering them too hot for most deer.
Here are a few of our favorites this week. Hosta ‘California Gold Rush’ has shown incredible vigor.
Love the over-the-top waviness of Hosta ‘Wheee!’
Hosta ‘One Last Dance’ has it all…vigor, size, ruffles, a nice flower show, and great leaf coloration. Did I mentioned that it’s also very sun tolerant if the soil is moist?
Hosta ‘Coast to Coast’ is also very sun tolerant with amazingly corrugated leaves and great vigor on a fairly large clump.
Hosta ‘Do Wap’ is one of our yet to be introduced hybrids from our work to create blue hostas that hold the color well into the summer.
Hosta ‘Pie ala Mode’ didn’t get a lot of fanfare when it was introduced, but this has been exceptional in our gardens at JLBG. Hope these entice you to explore this amazing genus.
We just snapped this photo of our 2006 Hosta introduction, H. ‘Swamp Thing’, looking quite divine. Sadly, this was one of those plants that just didn’t sell well, which is a shame, since we think it’s one of our best hosta introductions in terms of both vigor, and visual interest. We named it after the Creature from the Black Lagoon, since the foliage is so shiny, it looks like it just emerged from being under water. Hard to figure out the buying public sometimes.
The Japanese Arisaema sikokianum (Jack-in-the-pulpit) posing with Hosta ‘Kabitan in this glamour shot.
Hostas are incredibly tough plants and will get along fine in almost any garden…but they look their absolute best with just a little extra attention. Here are some tips to grow beautiful hostas in your garden.
Despite hostas durable nature, there are many myths circulating about growing hostas, one of which is the term Originator’s Stock. Originator’s stock is simply a superfluous term for saying that the plant in question is the correctly named clone. Click here for more debunking!
Our hostas have happy roots!
Hostas are often touted as the best shade-loving plants for the perennial garden. At Plant Delights Nursery our hostas are all container-grown and are multiple-division plants that you can immediately divide.
All of the hostas that appear in this post are from our own breeding program at Juniper Level Botanic Garden. Learn more about our breeding program here.
One of the most rewarding parts of our work is being able to introduce a plant we’ve taken from idea (branched flower scapes) to reality. We are finally able to share our latest creation this week with the introduction of Hosta ‘Branching Out’. The first cross in the long road from creation to market took place here in 1989. A seedling was selected that was later crossed with another 1995 seedling, which was later crossed with a 1999 seedling, which in 2004 was crossed with the blue-leaved Hosta ‘Pewterware’, after we noticed that both hostas would occasionally produce a single-branched flower scape. We evaluated the resulting 2004 seedlings for several years before paring down their numbers in the semi-final cut. We were looking for good branching, attractive flowers, and sturdy stems. Once the final selection was made, we watched it for four more years to make sure it consistently branched in the garden, during which time, we also sent it north to evaluate its performance in colder climates. Not wanting to significantly disturb the main clump, we removed a single division in 2012, which was divided annually. Finally, in 2016, we are pleased to release our new baby to gardeners around the world. We hope you find this as exciting in your garden as we do in ours.
Thanks for the great feedback on the hosta image. Since most folks don’t have experience in plant breeding, we thought it might be interesting to share the crosses and parents involved to get to this point. Our Hosta is PDN#10-004 and is a cross of PDN07-0793 x ((PDN05-156 x PDN04-180) (kikutii x ‘Gemstone’ (venusta ‘Minima’ x ‘Dorset Blue’) (longipes ‘Tardiflora’ x sieboldiana) x (venusta ‘Minima’ x self)) x PDN07-0100 ((‘Faith’ (‘Evening Magic’ (montana gold x sieboldiana) x ‘Big Daddy’ (‘Fortunei Robusta’) x PDN04-182) (kikutii x ‘Gemstone’) venusta ‘Minima’ x ‘Dorset Blue’ (longipes ‘Tardiflora x sieboldiana) x ‘Blue Mouse Ears’ (Blue Cadet sport)) So, the species included in creating this are Hosta venusta, sieboldiana, kikutii, longipes, and montana.
Without question one of our favorite hostas and certainly one of the most unique and vigorous hostas ever introduced. Here’s a new image we took in our gardens recently of Hosta ‘Wheee’...aptly named for its roller coaster-like leaf edges.
One of our favorite new hostas is Hosta ‘Pocketful of Sunshine’. The longer we grow it, the better we like it…here’s a new photo. It originated as a sport, originally from Hosta ‘Maui Buttercups’. Hosta ‘Pocketful of Sunshine’ has very thick, corrugated leaves, with a dramatic gold and dark green pattern on a small-medium sized clump.
I’ve got hostas on the brain today, since in a few hours, we’ll soon be hosting 420 hosta friends for an intimate dinner, as part of the 2015 American Hosta Society National Convention.
I’m also just back from a road trip to Walters Gardens in Michigan to visit one of the top perennial plant breeders in the world, our friend Hans Hansen. While there, I snapped quite a few hosta photos, and here are some of my personal favorites.
Hosta ‘Happy Dayz‘ is a sport of the difficult to grow Hosta ‘Orange Marmalade’…a plant that grows fine in a pot, but sulks in the ground. This mutation has dramatically more vigor and makes a superb garden specimen.
Hosta ‘Key West’ is an enormous gold-leaf hosta with great vigor from our friend, Indiana hosta breeder, Olga Petryszyn.
Hosta ‘Bridal Falls’ is a stunning, ruffled leaf introduction from Holland’s Jan van den Top that I just adore.
Here’s one more or Olga’s best hosta creations, Hosta ‘Brother Stefan’, with superb seersuckered leaves. Hosta ‘Brother Stefan’ was recently voted the hosta of the year for 2017!
Here are some new hosta images from the garden, starting with the miniature Hosta ‘Church Mouse’…very cool ruffled edges.
Here is Hosta ‘Rainbow’s End’…a stunning favorite that just glows.
Another superb small hosta, Hosta ‘Virginia Reel’. Love this plant
Here’s a fascinating hosta image just captured by staff member Jim Burgan, who noticed the light coming through the fern onto the hosta leaf…pretty cool.