Monday, September 1, 2014

2014 September (First Edition)

 The garden is doing some fun things in the last 2 weeks.
And plans for fall are dropping into place this year!

This is the time of year when hosta bring unexpected surprises.  They did last year and they are doing it again this year!  One of the common things between these plants right now is that they are standing as tall as they can!  This is partly due to all the available water.

Fall Plans for Better Hosta!

I think I have mentioned in the past that my garden is not precisely my own - as I rent; although the management company is very giving about the space.  Starting on August .. .err when the rain stops falling and the ground has had a day or two to dry … I will begin to do ammonia/water spray of the surface of the garden.  As this is a small area of space this ought not be to difficult (3ft x 6ft).  What this mixture of 1:10 ammonia and water will do is to take on the slugs and eradicate the 'younger' ones.  I must remind gardeners who use this method of slug removal that ammonia CAN bleach plants.  While bleaching stresses the plants but they will more than likely survive.  It is better to take reasonable care of your plants and avoid spraying to close or on to the plant.  This spray has to come in contact with the slug to be effective; and it has no effect if the slug does not come in concoct with it after it has dried.

This is not a one time application process, but rather one that must be repeated several times to put slugs into check.  From this gardeners judgement, the process is performed when the ground is dry and BEFORE the general watering, or just preceding that next rain, for about 2 to 3 weeks.  In my case I water my plants three (3) days after the last watering (naturally or when done by hand).

  • AFTER the solution has dried the ammonia will decompose and leave nitrogen [and hydrogen] which fertilizes the plant.  IF done correctly this becomes a win/win arrangement but time consuming for the gardener.  For those who might be into chemistry the chemical notation for ammonia is NH3.
  • If you have a kid(s) who like squirt guns fill it with this solution and tell them to go after ONLY the slugs.  If you work together this makes for a good parent/child moment too.
  • Next spring, when I have the process fully understood; I will explain in greater detail with the math and the process about this defense system against slugs.  Yes, my garden is being your guinea pig

An Unexpected Hosta in My Garden

A while back the American Hosta Society (AHS) added an internet version of their Hosta Registry.  These are the people who handle the official registration of Hostas [proper plural] internationally.   I found, with some surprise, that there was both a Empress Wu and a Princess Wu Wu listed among their records.  This suggests that I may have Princess Wu Wu rather than Empress Wu in my garden; and in turn I have to face personal, but small disappointment, as I had hoped to have had Empress Wu with its 23in. by 28in./58cm. by 71cm. leaves; its 3 in./8 cm. length flowers; and its 54in./137cm. record height.   A certain hosta purveyor has received an apology from me as well.

For novices this is a perfect example of how one MUST be sure of what your getting is really what you think it is.  In this case this was an error made by the buyer (myself) before purchase.

The Hosta Report

Little Sunspot: after 4 years this plant gives a scape and flowers.  Although this is not the first time I have seen Little Sunspot with flowers; it is the first for this clump.  Last years attempted addition had some flowers.   As I recall they were very very small flowers,  All most bowl like.

Rainbow's End has black scapes and as this is a first year planting of it brings that surprise. If the flowers are pollinated I will get to see their RED seed pods.  Black scapes with red seed pods are not common in the hosta world so this is what makes this plant special.  The flowers have opened.

X-Ray: This first season year plant has opened its flower which looks classic, hosta, lavender.

Emerald Tiara the flower's open!

Popcorn earlier this year sent out one leaf which was ceremoniously eaten by slugs.  The other three leaves, which were on the original plant, are currently standing as straight up as they can.  If they stand any taller the plant's gonna get up and walk off.  Maybe this will bring new growth to this first season plant; and in turn set the stage for its return next year!?  It will be watched at its base to see what happens.  Last year Vulcan was planted and it grow rampantly at its base, maybe Popcorn might to do the same before the season is out.

Dixie Chickadee, while still sending new leaves out, is letting go of the leaves that It arrived with.  I am uncertain if this is normal for this variety, but the new leaves are more than generously making up for those that are being let go.

Even in the rain I look at my plants.  The other day I finally measured the length of the Sum and Substance leaves and found that some have reached the 13in./33cm. mark; which is the expected length.  Maybe next year they will widen to 11in./28cm.!  The plant as noted before is still only standing 15in. to 17in./38cm. to 43cm tall.  The potential height for Sum and Substance is 28in./71cm.  Flowers were supposed to come in July but never came; that is new puzzle for this year.

Looking Forward to 2015 - Already

After a hosta is planted I've talked about how it 'rests' for the remainder of the season.  Hosta can also settle in after being planted [or become relaxed].  It is one of those growth states that is a little hard to explain to a novice grower.  The best example I can give is … when you go visit that new place you've never been to.  You might be on edge and a little nervous about who, and what might be around you.  As you become more accustomed to the setting you relax a bit.  The same is sort of true for hosta.  The gardener plants the Hosta, and it tries to find all the nutrients it had before; and for that year - it rests.  As it rests it also becomes comfortable with its surroundings.  At some point you might see it 'relax' and begin to find itself where it is.

It is also true that when hosta are about to send a scape out the plant stretches out to let the scape stalk through its foliage.  In these cases the leaves many times will again stand up to enclose the base of the scape after it is up.

The behavior of Blue Mammoth is suggesting that it is settling in.  Their leaves are moving up and down with water availability.

Rainbow's End also is looking like it is reaching out, not just because of the scapes, but because it looks 'comfortable' where it is.  That relaxed look also seems to be on IItsy Bitsy Spider as it slowly sends out new leaves.

I am hoping that these are the positive indicators for their return NEXT year.  Admittedly we have nearly 6 months to see if that happens.  Gardeners are always optimists.  Finely … another eight (8) new hosta landed on my doorstep on 8/31/14.  If my garden wasn't full before - it certainly is now.  Will have to wait for the next blog entry to tell about that!

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