Tuesday, September 16, 2014

2014 September (Second Edition)

Just to warn you - this is a LONG edition with moderate, technical reading.
Last edition I left you at a 'cliffhanger' by telling you that eight (8) new hosta that had arrived; and yet not telling you which ones.  In this edition I discuss Hosta Aesthetics as I look at everything I have.

Northern Minnesota has had its first frost warning of the season, soon the Minneapolis and St, Paul metro area will have facing freezing conditions soon.  I think were early this year.  Autumn will move fast this year and find winter close behind.  This year I have been given permission from the buildings management company to put a plastic sheet over the hosta bed during the late fall and early spring to try to reduce the chances of crown rot.  It may not be the most appropriate thing to use, but that's what I have permission for.  Sometimes we have to use what we can.

OK You Guys

BOTH 'Empress Wu' AND a 'Princess Wu Wu'
Both Really Exist!

There seems to be some confusion about the fact that BOTH of these plants are registered with the American Hosta Society.  Even I have to admit that for 18 months I did not realize this myself, and so thought I had purchased the Empress when in fact it was the Princess.  After some hunting I have found some generalized information about each.  PLEASE NOTE: the base information for both is from the American Hosta Society's Registration Database found online.  This author amended the diameter and width information in this reading with other references from across the internet.

'Empress Wu'  B. & V. Skaggs (OIR) B. & B. Skaggs (N)  2008
  • Plant: 48in. to 72in./122cm. to 183cm. diameter, 28in. to 54in./71cm. to 137cm. high; mound-like; fast.
  • Leaf: 28 in. (71 cm) long, 25 in. (64 cm) wide; 17 to 18 pairs of veins; dark green; flat; slightly shiny on top; glaucous bloom underneath; moderately flat; broadly ovate; cordate base;
  • Scape: 46 to 58 in. (117 cm) long; green.
  • Flower: 3 in. (8.12 cm) long; feint veining; tubular; Lowell, IN - June 1 to July 15; 6/7-6/14-7/7; *codes 1, 2, 4;
  • Seed: sets viable seed;green seed pod;
  • Clump History: the original seedling; 6 yrs old; Lowell, IN;
  • Notable Characteristics: Huge size, less mature plants quite upright, upon maturity center leaves push outer leaves to sweep the ground.
  • Seasonal Variation: slightly glaucous coat on top in spring
  • [H. 'Big John' × H. 'Big John']

'Princess Wu Wu'  L. Port (ONIR)  2013
  • Plant: 76 in. (193 cm) diameter, 28 in. (71 cm) high; mound like; fast.
  • Leaf: 15 in. (38 cm) long, 12 in. (31 cm) wide; slightly blue-green; flat;
  • Flower: Morrison, IL - June 1 to July 15;
  • Seed: sets viable seed;green seed pod;
  • Clump History: original seedling; 7 yrs old; Morrison, IL;
  • Notable Characteristics: huge mound of pale yellow green changing to blue gray leaves
  • Seasonal Variation: starts greenish yellow, changes to blue gray
  • [H. 'Empress Wu' × unknown]

Note the documented difference in leaf color.  Immature leaves of Princess Wu Wu might be crowned in a lighter green (on its outer edge).  Consider this to be a possible tall tail sign of which plant you have your hands on if it is a younger plant.  Another difference that I can cite is that Empress Wu is a patented plant with the ID of PP 20774 CPBRAF.  Also take note leaf sizes of both.  As I have watched Princess Wu Wu for a year I can confirm that the hosta has strong potential for 'fast growth'.  The confusion for these two plants runs so deep that photos of both have been inter-changeably used for both online which drives the confusion even further.

My Hosta … With Consideration to Aesthetics

Aesthetics.  They drive our perception of beauty and arrangement of things from the place setting at your eating table, to the building down the street, to the plants in the vase, to what's in the garden.  Aesthetics.  They are/can be very personal opinions.  Sometimes controversial and sometimes very agreeable.

In this edition we look at MY aesthetics from my garden.  I am quite certain that there are a group of persons who do not understand the aesthetics for my garden.  Some aesthetics have rules and there have been unspoken rules to design my garden.  By understanding my rules you might understand my garden practices better.

Rule #1:  The objective of my garden has been to create a living quilt to honer my mother who gave me both my love of gardening, and my love of art.  She, herself, used to quilt, and garden but because of age related issues she no longer can do either.

Rule #2: The plants must be unique to each other to be easily identifiable,  The 12 foot rule works we'll  That adage  says a good hosta choice is one where you can identify the plant from 12 feet away.

Rule #3: The hosta must present themselves to being able to look squarish when they grow into their space.  This means they will need to be a little larger than the space provided for them.  This is a challenge as hosta grow in circles - not squares (smile).

Rule #4: To keep the interest to non-family members I assigned a theme of my own liking of Chaos and Destruction.

Objective #5: I decided along the way that 20 hosta would be a safe, comfy, number of hosta to have in this garden.   This number has risen dangerously to 34 varieties.  At some point I will need to edit these plants back down to 20, or so.   Even when I have asked those wanting to give hosta to hold to a specified list they seem to think they can deviate from that expected list.  They mean well, but it makes it hard on me.  To receive a gift one can not be rude; one must say thank you very much and smile.

                                                                                                         New    Height          Diameter
Variety of Hosta        2014   Small  Large    Small  Large

Brooklynn's Baby Doll   Yes     4      6       --     12

  • Aesthetic Value: This hosta has the thickest leaves in this garden which have one wondering if it really is real!   Reported to have the appearance of a miniature version of June when it matures.
  • Theme Relationship: None Directly.  While there are numerous horror movies about dolls being a menace this garden is not about horror.

Blue Mammoth                   28     36       42     65
  • Aesthetic Value: This marvelous large, blue hosta that has highly textured leaves (known as corrugation) would make anyone stop and look its way.
  • Theme Relationship: A stampede of any kind is dangerous; probably even more dangerous with a heard of sad extinct elephants.

Chartreuse Wiggles      Yes     4     10        9     12
  • Aesthetic Value: Tightly, thin, wavy leaves makes this a very distinctive chartreuse hosta.
  • Theme Relationship: None Known.

Dancing Queen                  10     28       24     40
  • Aesthetic Value: Tightly wavy leaves that are wider makes this a very distinctive chartreuse hosta which holds its color though must of the growing season.
  • Theme Relationship: If a Queen can't dance then there's certainly going to be chaos.

Dixie Chickadee                 4      6        6      9
  • Aesthetic Value: Has a classic spear like leaf.  The yellow to white centers are not solid but rather flecked.
  • Theme Relationship: Let's start with Dixie.  That is what you might expect as the geographic region south of a civil engineering line known as the Mason-Dixon Line.  Chickadee is a small seed eating bird that has six subspecies; however, in this case, we’re not talking about 'those birds'.  In this case were talking about the slang of how the word chickadee might be used.  We know that a Dixie Chick might be known is a southern belle with attitude.  So, a Dixie Chickadee might be a young southern lady with attitude.  IF we can accept that interpretation of the name then one might fathom the chaos and destruction that a Dixie Chickadee might do!

Dragon Tails                    4      6        8     21
  • Aesthetic Value: This smaller spear like leaf that holds its bold chartreuse leaves for the summer.
  • Theme Relationship: Imagine, if you will, an exceedingly happy dragon sitting on the ground wagging its tail uncontrollably - much like a dog would..

Emerald Tiara                  10     18       24     36
  • Aesthetic Value: A roundish leaf which has a Kelly Green edge with a lighter green center.
  • Theme Relationship: I have two tiaras in my garden.  Together they represent the conflict that occurs between people: social, religious, and political.

Faithful Heart          Yes     5     11       12     24
  • Aesthetic Value: This hosta is known for its classic heart shaped leaves that are Kelly Green on the outside and vibrant yellow in the center.
  • Theme Relationship: None.known.

Frosted Mouse Ears              6     10       15     18
  • Aesthetic Value:  These small roundish leaves come up all green and then change to white and green by the end of the summer.  These leaves also nearly bend 180º backwards.
  • Theme Relationship: This hosta honers Jerry, the Mouse, from animation along with the chaos and destruction he inflicted on Tom, the Cat.

Gemstone                Yes     5     10       12     24
  • Aesthetic Value:  This pure green hosts at first looks bland, however as it ages the outer third of its leaves become bent to the left, or to the right.
  • Theme Relationship: Throughout history gemstones have been sought by the wealthy, and the not so wealthy. In a few cases gems have a mystique of bringing chaos or destruction to their owner or to their thieves.  From science fiction let's start with the ... Pink Panther!

Golden Tiara                   10     18       24     36
  • Aesthetic Value: this roundish leaf has a yellow green edge with a darker green center,
  • Theme Relationship: This is the second tiara in my garden.  Together they represent the conflict that occurs between people: social, religious, and political conflict.

Gorgon                          5     15       12     36
  • Aesthetic Value: These dark green spears produce a polite round of longish spear-like leaves.  There's nothing fancy here.
  • Theme Relationship: This is one of the lessor known Greek mythologies.  The Gorgon were three sisters, the best known being Medusa.  Dependent on the version of the story you read the Gorgon were all fated to turn men to stone, or they were fated to be exceptionally, terribly ugly beings.  Regardless of the version of the story, mythology suggests that each sister eventually had a penchant to kill humans.

Hacksaw                 Yes    --     9       6      20
  • Aesthetic Value: What looks like a mundane clump of narrow spears actually has three characteristics worth noting: 1) These medium green spears do not have a straight edges like most other hosta, instead they have a serrated edge like a bread or steak knife might have when the leaves mature.  2) The leaf spears descend all the way to the crown of the hosta.  3) Finally, this plant seems to be able to produce TWO flower scapes per each division.
  • Theme Relationship: This hosta represents the tools of deconstruction of man made objects.  Sometimes the deconstruction can be as destructive as the construction of somethings.

Holy Mouse Ears                 4      6       12     15
  • Aesthetic Value: This hosta has the reversed coloring of Frosted Mouse Ears.  Green outer edge with a white center.  It demonstrates that hosta can have 'reversed coloration'.
  • Theme Relationship: In the 1997 comedy move “Mouse Hunt” a mouse, by divine guilt, is compelled to make up for the chaos and destruction it commits on two brothers, an exterminator, a cat, and an unseen past individual.

Imp                    Yes     --      3       6      7
  • Aesthetic Value: At first this looks exactly like Little Devil (below), but as one watches it over the summer it comes up with a yellow edge and a green center which becomes a white edge by the end of the summer making these two look identical by the end of the summer.
  • Theme Relationship: Watch out what you wish for!  Devils, imps, demons, and genies from mythology and religion have been portrayed as chaotic and destructive.

Irish Mist              Yes     3      9       --      9
  • Aesthetic Value:  When the leaves emerge from the eye of the hosta they start out all green and flat.  As the leaf ages the center slowly turns titanium white as they pass thought a stage where the green of the veins look like zebra  stripes.  These leaves also go from flat to non-consistant curls and waves of bending at their ends.
  • Theme Relationship: None known.

Itsy Bitsy Spider               2      4        3      8
  • Aesthetic Value: This is the smallest hosta available on the retail market.  It has lance like leaves that also look like blades of grass in circular patterns.
  • Theme Relationship: This hosta reminds us that there are phobias, fears and anxieties that people have to deal with.

June                           10     18       36     48
  • Aesthetic Value: This hosta has a dark green edge and a center which may range from mediun green to yellow.
  • Theme Relationship: In Minnesota June is the start of the hot weather.  Many persons can be negatively impacted by warmer temperatures.

'Kinbotan'              Yes     4      9        8     20
  • Aesthetic Value: These leaves have a yellow edge and a medium green center.  These centers have a subtle feathering which make them distinct.
  • Theme Relationship: Translated from Japanese (Kin Botan) this means "little button",  Could this be that little red (well o.k. this one is green) button that everyone tells you NOT to push!?

Lemon Lime                      4      6        6     12
  • Aesthetic Value: A small, easy to grow. chartreuse. spear leafed hosta.
  • Theme Relationship: This plant reminds us the genetic engineering can be good or bad.

Little Devil                    4      5       --     12
  • Aesthetic Value: At furst glance this hosta may look like Imp (see above).  The difference is that the spear like  leaves come up white and green,  The green is slightly darker than the Imp, and it grows about 1/3 larger as well.
  • Theme Relationship: Watch out what you wish for!  Devils, imps, demons, and genies from mythology and religion have been portrayed as chaotic and destructive.

Little Sunspot                  4      6        9     12
  • Aesthetic Value: These ruffled leaves which stand up when mature have a bright yellow center and a bright green edge,
  • Theme Relationship: Here is the acknowledgement of our sun's chaotic and distractive power.  Sunspots have a cycle of 22 years, and affect the weather on Earth.  There is now evidence that suggests that there is a second more longer cycle of about 308 years.  IF that is not enough for you then consider that in about 3 to 4 billion years from now the sun will have expanded to destroy the earth as we know it, and maybe even 'eat' it!

                        New    Height          Diameter
Variety of Hosta        2014   Small  Large    Small  Large
Masquerade              Yes*    4     11       12     18
  • Aesthetic Value: This green and strongly white hosta has gently wavy leaves.
  • Theme Relationship: A masquerade ball (dance) is special in that all the guests arrive in costume and many times with a mask.  It is also becomes an art to act like their character during the evening.  The chaos might begin at the end the ball when everyone reveals who they really are!

Mighty Mouse            Yes     5      8       12     19
  • Aesthetic Value: This hosta might also be confused with Frosted Mouse Ears with its round curled leaves which arch 180º backwards.  The difference lies in the larger leaves and that the leaves emerge as yellow and green and then turn white and green as the summer progresses.
  • Theme Relationship: Here's the animation character who literally saved the day for Mickey Mouse!  Walt Disney, it is said, nearly scrapped Mickey when he thought that there was no future for a mouse in animation.  He decided to go see a movie; and the trailer animation changed his mind when he saw Mighty Mouse!  Mighty Mouse was always there to save his mouse friends from chaos and destruction as well.

Popcorn                         6     10       24     30
  • Aesthetic Value: Another green and white hosta but this one become seersuckered (bowl like) when it matures.
  • Theme Relationship: This represents the pop, bang, boom, and kabooms of life.

Princess Wu Wu                              (no data offered)
  • This plant is/was removed during 2014 to make way for other hosta.

Rainbow's End           Yes     4     10       12     24
  • Aesthetic Value: This vibrant green and yellow hosta tops itself with scapes that are black and seed pods that are red.
  • Theme Relationship: None Known.

Stiletto                Yes     4     10        6     28
  • Aesthetic Value:  While having the characteristics of both Imp and Little Devil, as it has a white edged leaf with a green center; this differs with its politely wavy, almost noble, edge.
  • Theme Relationship: While these high heals can be destructive to the feet that wear them, this name has a second meaning.  The stiletto is also a small, concealed knife, sometimes known as the thugs or thieves knife.  This knife is generally considered illegal in many countries.

Sum and Substance              —-     28       72    108
  • Aesthetic Value: This year round chartreuse hosta is well with in the large category for these plants.  With leaves that are 13 in. x 10 in. and a diameters that can reach to 9 feet this plant becomes a garden statement rather than just another plant!
  • Theme Relationship: This reference is for writing.  For an author to express the essence of chaos and destruction they must use the right words to convey the sum and substance of the scene they are writing about - or else the writing itself would be chaotic!

T-Rex                          28     36       36     96
  • Aesthetic Value:  This not so innocent large green hosta has smoother leaves than than Blue Mammoth (above).  While smaller than Sum and Substance, but larger than Blue Mammoth, it still holds it own as a full fledged garden statement!
  • Theme Relationship: It is suggested that T-Rexes were probably some of the most ferocious, aggressive creatures to live on earth.  Just remember that this Hosta was actually named for Tom Rex.

The Razor's Edge        Yes     6     10       10     24
  • Aesthetic Value:  Blood red petioles (stems) support these very wavy medium green leaves that are narrow spears.
  • Theme Relationship: Razors have done their share of chaos and destruction.  From the small nick on the chin, to suicide.

'venusta'                       4      6        6     12
  • Aesthetic Value:  Small dark green spears which look something like Lemon Lime.
  • Theme Relationship: This plant has a Latin name.  The Latin is said to mean Venus; the goddess of love.  I think we all know how chaotic and sometimes destructive love can be.  A few examples might be Cleopatra and Mark Antony, Romeo and Juliet, Lancelot and Guinevere,  Orpheus and Eurydice, and Paris and Helena, to name a just a few.

Vulcan                         10     18       24     36
  • Aesthetic Value:  These broadly spear like leaves have green edges and a titanium white centers.  Before the leaves mature the white looks like a pastel yellow.  Mature leaves have a classic pointed center with two feathers of white at the base which might suggest the ears of Gene Roddenberry's race of the Vulcan from Star Trek series.
  • Theme Relationship: There are three references here: (Star Trek reference) Sometimes simple logic can be the most destructive thing known.  (Trojan Mythology)  The God of Metallurgy and creator of ALL metal implements - including the computer!?  (Astronomy)  The debunked planet that was said to be between the Sun and Mercury,

X-Ray                           4      8        9     12
  • Aesthetic Value:  Small spear like hosta has a ghost white center early in the season when it matures!.  Immature hosta have very curly, heavily ruffled. thin, white and green leaves that flatten out and become broader, smooth, and green over the summer.
  • Theme Relationship: These medical images can bring chaos and destruction if not taken with correct precautions, or when they become bearers of bad news.
Yes*     Hosta 'Masquerade' makes a return to my garden after being absent for some years.
Names in Red indicate that the hosta is being moved out of the garden to make space for other hosta.

Readers may notice that I have 3 mice in my garden: Frosted Mouse Ears, Holy Mouse Ears, and Mighty Mouse.  These three 'side by side' represent a horde of mice.  Hordes of mice have been cited in religion, fantasy, and even real life for their chaos and destruction.

Even without a untrained eye readers might also notice that Imp. Little Devil, Stiletto look remarkably the same; and that's not an illusion - they really do!  These three make a strong case for keeping remarkably good records of what you buy, and where you put it as to not to confuse it later.  It could take 2 or 3 years to unravel that confusion if it occurs in anyone's garden.  With a little, or no work, one might find other hosta that also look very much the same as these three.

The Hosta Review

Blue Mammoth was one of the hosta that was reinforced during the process of adding plants.  The plant that was added has so far not wilted or drooped from being planted.  The plant is still standing tall and I am hoping that this condition will lead to its survival over the winter.  The Saga of the Blue Mammoth continues!  Read the full story at this link.

Dancing Queen is sending out leaves.  If  the scape could be found these would be the 'bracts' that go with the scape … but … there's no scape to be seen.

Emerald Tiara has come to the end of its flower.

Hacksaw (which is new) had two scapes.  One of them mysteriously fell off.  Needed to trim the rest of the scape back

After planting Imp I realized that there were two gifted to me; and what was labeled as 'Thankful' was really Kimbotan.  A moment of confusion, but it all worked out.  FYI: There is no hosta at this time named 'Thankful'.

Irish Mist is sending a leaf out.  Will watch it for the color change.  This may be the last of the dramatic leaves before the fall cut back.

Itsy Bitsy Spider sending leaves out.  These two are still looking good as fall begins to come to Minnesota.

Little Chickadee continues to send new leaves out.  For a hosta that is classified at a slow grower this is growing … fast.

Little Sunspot is about to open its flower.

Masquerade is sending out mixed signals as to if it will survive, or if it will collapse.

Xanadu Empress Wu I have finally accepted as probably being Princess Wu Wu.  The Princess is being the first plant to be moved out to make space for some of the other 7 new plants added.  This is not because it was mis-intensified plant but because the four plants are small, and easily divided.  Maybe some day i can have the REAL Empress in my garden.

In the last two weeks the temperature had passed into the 30ºF/-1.11ºC range - without freezing.  Hints of winter are early this year.  Gorgon and 'venusta' are starting to show signs of the cool weather.  Stiletto (another new plant)  might also be showing sighs of the cool weather,  Popcorn has not been effected - yet.  Last year this hosta fell into its fall colors at the first 50ºF/10ºC temperature. This weather feels more like early October to me.

Readers may want to note that the entire page of Garden Diagrams [<-- that is a link] for this blog has been overhauled for clarity and readability.  It was a major rewrite.

My garden now has 34 hosta varieties which is to many because of the sizes they grow and the amount of space I have to grow plants.  Next spring I WILL have to edit this garden down 13 plants.  This will not be easy since I am going be doing a balancing act between gifts, and my theme, and the aesthetic value of my plants.

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