Sunday, September 1, 2013

September (First Edition)

We've had a string 50º nights followed by a second stretch of 90º days since I posted here last …
and the Hosta are suffering from both!

This is one of those editions where I am unsure what to report (even to myself).  No. No, this is not a case of writers block because I know of several topics to discuss; but there season has not come.  I suppose it is more of a case of it being September and the there are about 45 days left in the growing season.  It is the time of the year when I begin to make guess' about what will fail and what will survive the winter; and yet it is still to early to share those thoughts with others.

Maybe some basic house cleaning needs to be done …

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"Hostas by Kelley"?
What's in the name, that's what I was going to write about here but then I came face to face with what seemed to be a simple question of what was the correct plural for the term Hosta.   However I soon found myself within one of the most unexpected debates I could have imagined within the hosta community!  Let me try to explain …

Many of us playing with hosta might assume that the term Hosta is both its singular and plural form of the same word; and we would be content to believe that.  But wait a moment your friends and mine at the American Hosta Society (AHS) some time back declared that the correct plural of Hosta was … h o s t a s.  Well ok … that seems logical.  Using the term Hostas seems to be acceptable.  But … then the thought comes running through my mind that wasn't the name Hosta derived from an Austrian botanist named Nicholas Thomas Host?  If that is correct than isn't the conversion of Host to Hosta a flux latinization of the name and as such shouldn't the proper plural be … H o s t a e?  That's it, we have it now!

"Hold on you whippersnapper!  In my day we called 'em plants Hostas so the PROPER plural is H o s t a s e s !  Now get that right sonny!" Now whose gonna argue with that genteel, old, neighborly lady.  Nope not me!

So which is the correct plural of Hosta?
  • Hosta
  • Hostas
  • Hostae
  • Hostases
The proper solution might be in who's talking at the time.  The common gardener might use Hosta, the more serious aficionado of hosta might use Hostas, the biologist or hybridizer who is discussing the +43 subspecies of hosta might use the term Hostae to suggest this collective grouping, and from those who have known the plants for quite some time you might still hear the term Hostases.

I just won't remind anyone that these plants have previously been known as  Corfu Lily, Day Lily, Funkia, or even Plantain Lily.  In some listings they are still known as such even when the official name for them is … Hosta.

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Part of the Neighborhood is Missing!
The second byline of Hostas by Kelley is 'Round the Neighborhood'. This Science-Fiction/Fantasy story was started during 2013 at the beginning of the season.  The story began out as one where the author just added two carefully planned lines per edition.  As the year wore on the writing became cumbersome from that format.  So in the August 2013 (First Edition) the author moved to a more standard writing format.  In this issue I provide both Act 1 and Act 2 of this story so that everyone can see what has previously occurred.  I assure you the antics within the story's world are JUST getting started!

It should be observed that the author thinks this story would be much better served in a graphic comic book format.  It would convey the feel of tomatoes falling from the sky, and the stories mad scientist using some contraptions much better.  The problem is that the author is by no means an artist!  IF your an artist, and can take directions, and would like to take on the graphic work on like this, please speak up.  In the mean time I will keep writing.  One more thing about the writing task is that each and every Act consists of 200 words OR less.  This compels the author's skill at arranging words to convey an image of a scene with concise and precise skill.

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Musician(s) sought!
Why would a gardener ever want a musician?  Well on my Macintosh … there is a file of 60 some images of my plants during the 2013 season.  i-photo (lower case I intended; a mac program) has this delightful slideshow option that can calibrate the number of images to the length of the music.  It would be nice to work with a musician to have a composition created to match the presentation of these plants.  In turn any good musician can at this point can discern that I value ownership and copyrights of intellectual materials (music in this case).  Full acknowledgements will be given on this project.  Conceptually the gardener is thinking of piece on the theme of water that lasts about 18 minutes.

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The Plant Notes:
Dixie Chickadee: I think has sent one very last spike of leaves out for the year.  It has been a polite growing season for his plant.

Gorgon: Continues to grow briskly with its three new spikes of growth which suggest its diameter for next years season.   I am unsure if Gorgon and Vulcan are having a competition for leaf growth!  What ever the case may be the growth is welcomed.

Popcorn: The 50º evenings we had a few weeks back has certainly made this plant think it is fall.  The leaves look like they have firmly faded into fall, and I have mixed thoughts about what the 90º days will do to it.  I may have to cut this back during September before the rest of the hostas find fall.

T-Rex: The scape for the flowers has dried and has been gently twisted off for the season.  I think the seasons growth has come to an end.   I doubt we will see anymore from this hosta this season.

Vulcan: The last leaves have been sent out on this plant for the season.  What was only 6 leaves when It was planted has become a storm of smaller growth leaves establishing it nicely as a round for next year!.

X-Ray: has grown with new smaller leaves at its base.  There seems to be an additional growth.  This is being watched; maybe a late season flower?  Well see.

Xanadu Empress Wu - PP20774 CPBRAF: It would seem that this newly added lovely has adapted, and is sending out its first new leaves; hoping more will come before the fall cutting.  Maybe it is joining the contest of leaves with Gorgon and Vulcan?

Those are the high lights for now,  Next issue I tell the saga of the Blue Mammoth so that everyone can understand the issues behind that endeavor; and answer the question what do Hosta leaves look like when the first come up!

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Comments from Readers
One of the long time readers of this commentary gave me a compliment this week.  She called me "The Master Gardener of Hosta".  Her intentions were placed to acknowledge my skill and knowledge of growing hosta; but unfortunately this is one title I cannot and should not accept. 


Because technically the title of Master Gardener is bestowed to someone who has at least 2 years of education in agriculture at the college or university level.  I on the other hand have learned my hosta understanding over 16+ years of growing these addictive little plants, reading literature about them,  and observing these plants on my own.  I am not perfect at what I know; nor do I know everything about them as readers will discover next spring when I write about the failures of plants not coming up this year will be looked back on!

So you may call me 'Hosta Man Kelley', or a 'mad gardener' or even a 'passionate hosta gardener', but to call me a Master Gardener would be incorrect.  Sorry folks.

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Round the Neighborhood
Season 1: Act 1
The Best Place to Start - At the Beginning …

A man is standing over a hosta garden with a light weight contraption on his head.  An evil maniacal laugh rises over the landscape from him ... He turns the device on: “Grow my Hosta, Grow! And take over the world!”

Hosta turn their attention to him; *Nope.  Nope, no can do! Can't be done.  Nope.  Quite impossible, Nope. Nope!*

"Wait a moment - you heard that!?" says the man back.

*Of course we heard that; we hear EVERYTHING!  What's more surprising is that YOU can hear US … and understand US!* the hosta respond with some surprise.

"The planmunicator works! Yaahoooo!"  His shout is heard throughout the neighborhood.  The man performs a jig of happiness.  He comes to his senses with an uneasy pause coming about ... in a sightly calmer voice “What do you mean you CAN’T take over the world‽”

The leaves rustle back and forth. Hosta: *We already have!* followed by light, polite giggling between the plants.

An uncomfortable pause settles in … In a bit more cautious voice. "If you can't take over the world then why are you here?"

Hosta: *We've come to take YOU over!*

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Season 1: Act 2
The Introductions Begin …

"Mr K, who was that running down your drive scamming about hosta taking over the world?"

"Nothing to worry about Anna, just Mr. Muir Glen, the neighborhood mad scientist running amok … I think.  I have to remind him these are MY plants not his sometime.  So what brings your over?"

"I'm nineteen years old and still calling you Mr. K; it's Kelley right?

"Peter will be fine."

"Papa needed silence so he cleared the house out.  So I came over to see what you were doing."

"My condolences on the loss of your mother.  She was a very dedicated person.

"With 26 children she had her own style of dedication."

"Was just thinking that maybe I ought to send your father a present."

"What could you possibly get Papa that he can't get himself.  He probably has as much money as the whole of this town."

"Probably Anna.  Don't be hard on him   Your father, Papa Bullion, earned it promoting the peace movement in this country."

"True.  Our college textbooks have his name all over them.  Seems I can't open one without finding his name somewhere in it.  Did you just hear something? … "

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Season 1: Act 3

Can be found at the end of the August (Second Edition).
The remaining acts of this story will be found chronologically by month and edition.

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HostaByKelley Stats
This blog began on: August 15, 2013
This months totals are as follows in alphabetical order:

                           2013            Country                     Aug 
Australia                    1
Belgium                      3
Canada                       3
Japan                        1
Netherlands                  2
Russia                       1
Ukraine                      3
Switzerland                  1
United Kingdom               6
United States               41*

   Total Visits:            62
   Average Visits per day: 3.88

Information taken from HostasByKelley Stat Page on August 31st at 1:45 CST.

* Adjusted to account for the writer's visits; this has been corrected for future reports to be more accurate.

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