Thursday, June 11, 2015

June 2015 Second Edition

In this edition I play catch-up to what occurred in my garden from June 12th.
I've move some hosta out, and others have begun to scape.
But first, before anything else, I needed to face some truth…

The Truth …

I began to look carefully at my garden when I returned home on May 25th.  There had been changes but not where I thought they might be.  The following Hosta had not shown any signs of growth or even leaves:

Baby Doll           Front Edge
Blue Mammoth        Right Edge
Dancing Queen       Left Edge
Little Chickadee    Front Edge
Irish Mist          Front Edge
Itsy BItsy Spider   Left Corner
T-Rex               Right Edge
Vulcan              Right Edge

The common factor for all these were that they were all on the outside edge of the garden.  The following hosta had emerged, and grown during the same time. 

Mighty Mouse        Right Edge
Popcorn             Left center

So what might account for these eight losses.  I turned to to my friends at HostasDirect to get their thoughts.  I mentioned to them about those that had not come up I could still feel the tufts and roots at the surface where the plants had been last fall. They also asked about if they had been covered.  Their assessment was as follows:
  • Their are cases where freezing can take a plant out without causing crown rot.  This seems to happen when the plant has NOT been adequately watered before the winter.
  • There is some evidence that the comment might be right as I did cut my plants back nearly 30 days prior the actual first winter freeze, and water was withdrawn at the same time.
    • The reader must also understand that the 24 hour forecast was pretty clear about frost in the next 48 hours that October afternoon I cut them back.
  • The HostasDirect staff equated this to being like withholding the late season Tropical Monsoon rains from the native hosta in Asia.
What this suggests is that there is balance been freezing by surrounding water and insuring there is moisture for the plants over the winter.  This gardener's challenge now must turn to understanding how far into fall one ought to water plants … without coming face to face with freezing the water at the last moment.  This might be the very reason why my hosta success has been so erratic over the years — lack of winter water.  The records from the last few years read as thus:

2013    10 out of 18   56%
2014    19 : 21        91%
2015    26 : 34        77%

Over the three years the average stands at a 75% success rate.  If the folks at HostasDirect are right; and there is a good chance they are; then I must work harder on the late season watering cycle to improve my success rate in the future.  If I can face this reality then I have a chance of doing better NEXT spring.

It is very true that their is a small chance that some of the eight still might spike before I really get into rearranging what I have to fill in those empty spots.  Hosta in Minnesota have been known to spike as late as July.  So there is that very slim chance of hope.  My I suggest that Dixie Chickadee and Vulcan get their acts together … soon.  We'll see where all this leads in the coming weeks.

This Months Poll …  

To the right I have added Question #4 for you to answer.  This month I ask a simple question: "By July 1st most hosta growers know what survived in their garden  This year what will YOU do?"  The question is not directed at my garden but your very own garden.  Most gardeners by this time have either acted on the question, or are about to.  I've already given my answer.  Come on join me, and tell the whole world what you plan on doing, or have done, this year in your garden!

I Moved Some Hosta …

Every now and then hosta growers have to move things a round a bit.  This year to begin the GREAT transition of my garden I moved five hosta to a retaining wall.  This raised wall as even less protection than the raised bed.  What this wall gets that the raised bed does not is FULL SUNLIGHT for about 5 hours.  The goal here is to see if I can get 5 hosta to produce strong white, or yellow coloration.  The five that were moved are:

  • June (Yellow)
  • Golden Tiara (Yellow)
  • Faithful Heart (Yellow)
  • Little Sunspot (Yellow)
  • Imp (White)
To date the experiment seems to be pulling the yellows and white out.  I will be watching this closely as excessive light can also cause bleaching of leaves.  There is one other drawback to his location which I will save for discussion later this fall.

There are also plans to do hosta in containers this summer too.  In Japan and many parts of the USA hosta are grown in planters and containers with great success.  I will discuss that in a later edition as well.

... and Noted Some Hosta Survival …

A few moments ago I indicated that both Popcorn, and Mighty Mouse emerged (see composite photo below).  These are wonderful surprises for me.

Two of my smaller plants this year.  The upper right leaf on Popcorn has already has its classic bowl shape!

Popcorn is suggested to be one of those 1 in 50 garden hosta where it has a lower success rate than most.  IT is GREAT it see it come up.  I am ecstatic over its survival.  This small less than 3 inch diameter plant I hope will keep growing and become bigger and stronger in future months and years to come.

Mighty Mouse went in as a very small single division.  It seemed nearly too small.  That too has came up, but as a very small, 'grain of rice' sized, single leaf at this point.  Hoping more will come.

  • 6/10/15: Leaf has grown, second leaf may be coming,

X-Ray also also was small at first but now has a thin 1 inch long leaf.  Again hoping that will produce more leaves.

Since I am talking about small plants my second division of Frosted Mouse Ears also is very small too this year,  It started out with an albino leaf (which plants are not supposed to produce) and then followed that with 3 other very small green leaves only to drop the first albino leaf on the June 8th.  Looking forward to more leaves on this second plant.
  • 6/10/15: Two new leaves seen on the smaller Frosted Mouse Ears.

… and I Have Also Seen Some Scapes!

The "cute' season has come to my garden.  What's the cute season you might ask.  Some years ago my friend R.E. (Winthrop, MN) came by to drive me somewhere.  As they walked down the steps to my place they looked down to say "Say, that's kinda cute."

R.E. had looked down to notice Hosta 'venusta' just starting to open its blooms.  So every year since I say to myself when 'venusta' begins to scape, "The cute season is almost here!"

And yes scapes are coming on 'venusta'.  This hosta is also passing though Fairy Ring stage and has reach a 10 inch/45.72 centimeter radius this summer.  (see the June 2015 article on Fairy Rings).
  • 6/10/15: Scapes on this plant suggest that what was ONE round in 2014 has divided itself (not me) into 4 rounds of hosts.  Thus continuing to demonstrate that Hosta do know how to manage themselves.  The three rounds to the inside of the raised bed and the single (solitary) division in the corner of the raised bed which will grow into its own division over the coming years.
After having Little Sunspot for 4 years it finally has scaped, and is now growing tall and soon will have flowers.

Lemon Lime also has a single scape.

I guess I can't keep the secret any longer.  I have a one gallon nursery container of some Liberty.  The plant is in the process of growing a scape of serpentine behavior.  As this hosta can grow to +3 feet in height I am waiting with baited breath to see just how tall this scape will be after it flowers.
  • 6/8/15: The pod on the scape has some interesting red coloration.
  • 6/10/15: Flower pod is now opening to separate the bracts and reveal the flowers which will open later.

6/10/15: Emerald Tiara's scape can now be seen.  I  think that it has been growing for about a week and suddenly came over the foliage height.

------ ----- -----

As July nears. and as I procrastinate moving my plants, we'll see if any 'extra' hosta spike.  There are 4 other hosta that I will be introducing to my garden to take up the space of the 8 hosta that will be removed this year.  Which also means there will still be more diagrams to be published and the survival list to continue to be up dated.  Gardening is a never ending process!  I'll see you next time with more Hosta growing.

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