Hosta la vista baby......

Or 'For a few hostas more'

At this time I have to take a deep intake of breath and admit, I don't like hostas.  I don't, I have said it before and said it quite often.  Except, except.....
Most years when I go to RHS Chelsea with my friend and we stand for a while in front of the hosta stand in the Great Pavilion and we have pretty much the same conversation.  My friend tries to convince me that hostas are good and I point out the ones I really do not like, but then also point to some that I do.  For I have also said often that you cannot dismiss a whole plant family as there is always at least one where you can find a point of attraction.

Add into this mix my very good friends Colin and Karan Ward taking over the stewardship of the National Collection of Hostas at their nursery in Market Deeping.   I watched with interest as they started to prepare the hosta garden they were going to create and looked forward to going to visit when the hostas were doing their thing.  I decided the other day it was time to visit and see how they were getting on.
Well it is all looking very good.  I really liked the garden display, it is the product of a lot of hard work and this shows.  The beds are lined with dead tree ferns that died a few years ago in a bad winter.  As I am still the proud owner of two dead tree ferns from the same winter, that I also cannot quite let go of, I really like this re-use of them.

I also love this eagle sculpture.  Isn't it great?  As the garden grows up around it, it will look even better.  What I love about this garden is that it is clearly work in progress but there is a lot of other planting being set out as well.
Colin explained that he wanted to create natural dappled shade for the hostas the same as you would want to place them in in your own gardens.  Colin sells some great trees and shrubs so this all adds to it being a living catalogue for the nursery.
I went on a tour of the poly tunnels, always dangerous as I always see things I want.  I paused briefly in the hosta tunnel as there I found for the Trekkies:
and for the twitterers out there:
I love the acer tunnel, these specimens are so well grown, acers are just such good garden trees as there is always one that will suit pretty much any garden (in my opinion anyway).
But I had not gone there for acers, it was a hosta visit so it was hostas I took home with me.
This is Tea at Bettys,  I like tea at Bettys and I liked this hosta.  Good colour, good leaf shape.
June Fever - this is destined for a pot, I love the colour and the strappy leaves,

Lakestorm Watch, this has dark purple flowers.  Hosta flowers can be variable, but this one sounds good.
This is Red Alert, I love the red stems.
and this one jumped off the shelf at me, Rainbow's End, which is also destined to live in a pot.  This is my absolute favourite.

Then this also jumped off the shelf at me, it caught my eye and I had to have it:
Yucca gloriosa Bright Star, and just so we are clear, I don't like yuccas either, but look at the leaf shape and look at the shadow it casts - just brilliant.  Apparently it will turn apricot as it gets colder, personally I turn blue.

The more observant amongst you will note that there is a similarity between all that I have bought today.  Yes, strappy leaves and not a glaucous one amongst them.  I cannot explain why I do not like the broad paddle leaved hostas, or the glaucous ones, but I don't.  I don't have a general issue with big leaves, I love some big leaved plants (some of my best friends are big leafed plants.....) I also like some glaucous leaves.  There is just something about them in hostas that I do not like.......... maybe I should add the word yet in there......

.........I have never said I am consistent, it is just so dull!


  1. It's a soft introduction, but I reckon you'll have glaucous and paddle leaf ones in your garden soon :) great to hear of Colin and Karan taking on the national collection!

  2. For many years I despised hosta's and impatiens. Since I was a little boy. I think if you had asked me why back then, I couldn't have told you. It wasn't until I was listening to an interview with a gardener (I am so mad I can't remember her name) and she said something that really clicked for me.

    She was asked by the interviewer what plants she hates. Her response was:

    "It's not the plants I hate, it's what people do with them..."

    That's when it clicked. I had grown up in a North American suburb with people where their primary focus wasn't creating a beautiful garden but to maintain the space, ensure they have curb appeal so that their neighbours wouldn't get mad. Every house on my street growing up had impatiens and hostas because they were easy to grow and because they worked in shade and in sun.

    You would see beds full of hostas ringed with impatiens it was ugly, had no thought to it, and looking back I realize that this is where my distaste for them developed.

    I still don't use hostas or impatiens unless they are absolutely necessary or work in the space. But I don't gag when I see them now.

  3. Enjoyed this post & congratulations on your new garden additions

  4. I adore Hostas and am gradually building up a (very) small collection which I'll be planting in my shady/woodland corner. I've joined the Hosta society so I can learn a bit more about them. There's an extremely good chance I'll be bringing one home with me from Tatton.


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