Sunday, June 1, 2014

June 2014 (First Edition)

I was just sittin’ here enjoyin’ the company.  Plants got a lot to say. if you take the time to listen.
- Eeyore; A.A. Milne

Eeyore and A.A. Milne, were right!  On May 22 I had come to the point of silent despair with my gardening.  During the 2013 year I had 18 hosta and only 10 came up; and this year I have 21 hosta and only 13 have come up.  While I have an improvement of three (3) from last year, the despair arouse because during both seasons there were eight (8) hosta that did not survive (at least have not to this point for 2014).

I then noted that fact that the first season plantings of Holy Mouse Ears and Vulcan both had two divisions planted last year and both successfully pulled through by May 22.  Both my friend B.E., and my roommate, have both quietly reminded me that the first of the really warm summer heat is about to arrive over the next few days, with thunderstorms even.  Some how I need to take a step back and realize that in the next few days the eight hosta in question might still pull through.

So which eight arm I fearing over (refer to the March 2014 Basic Diagram)?
  • Blue Mammoth
  • Dixie Chickadee
  • Frosted Mouse Ears
  • Itsy Bitsy Spider
  • Little Devil
  • Little Sunspot
  • Popcorn
  • T-Rex

For those who have less gardening experience than others a further explanation might be needed.   Some plants need 'x' set of conditions before they will (re-)grow for a season.  Hosta are genetically predisposition for the southwest coast of Japan, Korea, and east coast of China,  Their temperatures are distinctly warmer than Minnesota.  Those areas of the world also get in the neighborhood of 80+ inches rain a year where as Minnesota get about ±23 inches a year.  So it is possible that these plants are actually waiting for their turn/moment to come up.  With the change of Minnesota weather to a warmer, summer like pattern these conditions maybe setting the stage for this final burst of emergence to occur.

How many of the eight will emerge is unknown at this moment of my writing.  But I must compel myself to be patient a little longer to see what happens to those not up.

Some passing thoughts on each plant in question: Blue Mammoth I have tried for 3 years and this season is the third to see if Blue Mammoth can start it's herd - all it takes is one spike to come up (see 'the Saga of the Blue Mammoth': September 2013 (Second Edition).  Itsy Bitsy Spider is very small variety, and was dealt a set back last year with the severe heat during late summer (see December 2013 issue link to the video on U-Tube.  The video will burp but also continue if your patient).  If the hosta does not come up I am willing to understand that one.  Littl Devil  sent a flush of growth out at the very last moment last year and I would have thought that was a good sign for things to come (this year).  Little Sunspot came up two previous years and that seemed promising for this year … although I did purchase a second planting of this and I may have not have planted it deep enough.   None-the-less the first plant ought to still come up.  Popcorn is said to be one of those 1 in 50 gardener hostas that is more difficult to grow.  Frosted Mouse Ears I have no idea what is going on.  It lost one leaf last year but it pumped out new ones too.  Dixie Chickadee has survived for 2 years in my garden and it feels odd that it has not been seen yet.

Again any of these might survive, I just need to be patient to see,  Eeyore was right I just have to listen to Vulcan and Holy Mouse Ears when they suggest that plants will grow when they are ready to grow.

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Written after May 25th:

With both mouse hosta surviving the winter the horde will begin to grow this year (what would you expect in a garden themed as Chaos and Destruction)!  I had planted them to display how hosta can have coloration that is reversed to one another.   Holy Mouse Ears has a Dark Green 'halo' and Frosted Mouse Ears has a white 'halo'.  Both of these hosta intensify their white as the season progresses to become nearly snow white in color.  I get to see their full routine this year from spiking to fading.

May 29th:

Little Sunspot (my third year planting) is sending up a second spike.  I had wondered why it stopped at one spike the other day.  There's the reason (he he he he).  One might say that the sunspot is growing.  Still nothing on the larger section that was added last year.  For the size it was when it was planted and the depth of its rhizomes I still have to wonder why nothing has come of it.  Yes I do admit that I may have planted to high from the ground but ... my instinct says that there's still time to see things happen.

X-Ray ... the leaves that it is sending up are not the leaves one would expect to find ON X-Ray.  A sport ...  maybe.  This will have to be watched carefully over the years.  The leaves are the shortest in width that I have ever seen in any photograph; even smaller than Itsy Bitsy Spider and I have seen that first hand.  Did some checking on X-Ray and find that what I am seeing may be more normal than  not.  It just looks so different from the mature plant!

A leading question for next month.  If you only could buy ONE hosta for your garden what would it be and why?

Plant Review
Plant Count: 16 of 21 Plants ... with 5 to go

I can add 5 more plants to my success list for 2014:

  • Dixie Chickadee (May 30th; third year plant)
  • Dragon Tails (first year survivor)
  • Frosted Mouse Ears (first year survivor)
  • Gorgon (first year survivor)
  • Little Sunspot (May 26th; my third year plant)
Dancing Queen looked different from the other spikes as its spike nearly looked ruffled just before unfurling.  The leaves this year ought to be politely impressive.  It finally has a year of dignity to grow and show its beauty.

Vulcan you can see the green and white even at this early stage of growth.  Both the original and secondary plantings survived.  It looks innocent now but I think back to last years planting and I know there's gonna be leaves all over the place in a few weeks.

X-Ray's small leaves have the classic white and green coloration.  The very narrow leaves looking disorganized (curled) at this point.  I am hoping this is a maturity stage 'thing' as the leaves generally are seen as flat, and gently rippling,

Xanadu Empress Wu is starting to look as it did when it was cut back last fall.  I am still only seeing two spikes of growth.  No sign of the third (3) one at this time,  I am having no doubts about it growing this season   The Astillbe next to it is trying to 'protect' it, and I know eventually my lone Astillbe will have a rude awakening when the XEW grows larger than it someday.

Cultivation Note
Varieties mentioned below come up AFTER Sum and Substance opens its spikes
and with temperatures above 70ºF - at least according to this years observations.

Little Sunspot. One very small pin point sized spot seen on the original planting that was acquired from Kelley & Kelley three years ago.  Spotting a second spike of growth as well.  No indications as to what will happen to the extra round that I purchased last year. 

Frosted Mouse Ears rose with two spikes.  At first I thought it was its growth pattern but after checking my year to year records I found that I had planted two replacements last year when I thought I only had put in one.  In the end this is good because BOTH came up!

Dixie Chickadee has sent a single spike up.  Nearly missed it as I was looking on the 30th;  and for a second thought it was a weed!  If my recollection is right it came up at the same time last year relative to Sum and Substance's growth.

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