Wednesday, October 1, 2014

2014 October (First Edition)

Over the last few editions I have taken an unusual path of storytelling, to poetry, to garden aesthetics.  This edition I want to take gardening to still another extreme.  The worst case scenario extreme!  In this extreme you the reader need to be a participate, give feed back, become part of this discussion to make this an effective edition.

 General Comments
So what is the worst case scenario for a gardener?  From my view point being told your incapable of gardening by the less than polite neighbor.  To be honest I've had this happen twice in no uncertain terms!  It is hard to decide what to do or even say to the person in question at that moment.  Do you … draw the line and say any number of polite but yet firmly defensive things, … or … do you let the comment go to the side and keep going?

Have you ever had this happen to you?  What did you do?

Let's me take this one step further to the next extreme.  What would you do if the same person challenged you to grow ONLY ONE variety of hosta … for say … 10 years?  Would you kindly ask that person to leave and never come back … OR … would you discuss the challenge more closely  … OR … would you accept the challenge point blank.  If so on what terms would you want?  Now to be honest this gardener has never had this situation placed before them, although I think it could have happened if I had 'pushed the right buttons' on one of the two persons I have in mind.  At that time I was in no mood to be pushed around.  But the imagined scenario has since lingered in my mind.

Since we're on the topic of changing someone's garden, let's look at a more real problem.  In the last months I mentioned that my garden will need to be edited back by 14 hosta.  As some readers are aware my garden theme is: Chaos and Destruction, and my garden is 3ft. x 6ft.  By name alone which 14 would you consider removing from my garden?  You may want to review the 2014 September (Second Edition) for hosta names, and a few of the 'outside of the box' interpretations I have for the names vs. theme.

As always if you share your thoughts; I'll share more of mine!

Hosta Itsy Bitsy Spider as a Late Emerger?

A few times a year I will look at the records for 'All Time Visits' to this blog.  At some point someone … somewhere … had asked themselves if Itsy Bitsy Spider emerged late.  I wish I could answer that question even now many months after the online inquiry.  What I do know at this point about this plant is not much, but here is what I have on it.  This is all premised on the fact that I have attempted to grow this for two seasons; 2014 being my second.  This means I have only seen first season, immature divisions (under 3 years) of it.

The plant has the reputation for being a slow grower.  The rate of leaf production seems to be one new leaf per month.  Remember that plants will "Rest, Renew, Regrow" after they are transplanted.  In my garden this variety will hold its color through the season with a dark christmas green color to it.  The plants lay close to the ground and have limited mounding probability.  The growth that I have seen suggests they lean towards being smaller than larger than the reported sizes for this variety.  Leaves seem to be nearly, but not perfectly, straight.  They seem to hold their color late in the growing season to past the second 50ºF/10ºC temperatures.  I cut hosta back at the previous temperature stage as it is easier to work in that environment - but these plants are so small I don't cut these back.  I think … the leaves turn brown after the temperature firmly goes below 45ºF/7.22ºC.  The leaves will also easily brown in temperatures that are recurrently above 90º/32.22ºC.

Is this a late emerging hosta?  I can't answer that yet, but when I replanted this I know I did not see a rhizome set where last was planted.  We'll see next year if it rises from its winter sleep.

The Hosta Report

Most of the Hosta in the garden are now exhibiting signs of fall change.  Gorgon and 'venusta' both seem to be leading the group with their scruffy browns and yellows at this point.  Temperatures are trying to stay above the 40's.  And a number of hosta venders are still selling hosta here in Minnesota!

Blue Mammoth is still standing tall, with signs of some leaves still supporting themselves.  I am becoming curious about what will happen when the tomato cage is removed for the final cut back in a few weeks.

Little Devil has a scape!  These are probably the smallest flowers I have seen to come on a scape - there is still time for them to grow.  An unexpected surprise this season.  (see the: something extra edition).  The scape has risen to a good 12 inches from its original appearance of 4 inches!

Princess Wu Wu has slowly been given new homes.  One went to P.J. in Long Lake, MN, and two more went to M.W. and A.W. in Northeast Minneapolis, MN.  The remaining one (the new division that came up this season) I discovered to have 'lost its rhizomes' during a routine gentle cleaning off of leaves.  The growth bud for next year also seems to be intact with the leaves.  I have replanted it in the half hopes new rhizomes will be regrown - which can happen.  On the other hand IF the original rhizomes are still below ground they too might survive the winter and regrow as a new plant as an bonus! So getting rid of the Princess is turning into an adventure in itself - she seems to be a very stubborn young … hosta …!
    September 26, 2014: The last bit of Princess Wu Wu  is still holding on.
    September 27, 2014: Seasonal change seems to be beginning on this plant.

Dragon Tails has added to the excitement this fall by sending up its own scape.

Dixie Chickadee and Itsy Bitsy Spider continue to pump out leaves.

Popcorn is still looking good.  It would seem that a rhizome is trying to be more comfortable and acting like a new spike.

New hosta Stiletto and The Razor's Edge both are sending out new foliage.
    September 27, 2014: Foliage confirmed on both.
Hosta Imp may be doing the same.

And finally, still no scapes on Sum and Substance

Closing Thoughts

The growing season is down to less than a month.  While Little Devil thought it might have a last laugh with a scape; Dragon Tails has a later laugh with its own scape.  I can't imagine any other hosta trying later this year; although it is possible.  Last year I trimmed Emerald Tiara with blooms that were just ending on October 15th.  The forecast suggests … more temperatures above freezing.  AND IF I were a glutton for punishment I would go after more Hosta Itsy Bitsy Spider, Popcorn and Frosted Mouse Ears as I know where I could get each … cheep … however I am not going trust the weather THAT much!

In the next edition … I will try to begin the long internal debate as to how to reduce my garden back down to only 20 hosta.  Again I would like to hear your thoughts about how you might do it!?

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