Sunday, June 21, 2015

June 2015 Third Edition

By June 20th this blog crossed several statistical milestones –
Visitors keep coming, and coming, and coming! 
Keep telling your friends and thanks for being here!

Opening Words

True it's a minor thing in the cosmic scheme of things, but to me reaching the middle of the year with an average of 100 persons visiting this minor blog is very satisfying.  There is hope, even if it is a bit small, that this blog can keep this average for the entire year.  What's more with the exception of April, each month you've pass the word so much that the numbers have DOUBLED from last years counts.  So far this month there have been 172 visitors, and 661 visitors for the year.  That's the good news.

The second half of the year may be harder since the monthly totals from last year all over 100 for each month … and the totals during second half of 2013 are in the several hundred since Google assisted with pushing persons here during that time period.  But I feel somewhat confident that with me writing interesting material, and you with your interest in Hosta, we can both keep attracting 100 persons per month.  That's still a safe goal.

In addition this blog was first posted in August of 2013.  Since then this blog has attracted over 3200 visitors.  Thanks for reading the blog.  It makes me feel like I am appreciated and that someone somewhere is appreciating what I have to write.  Thanks again!

Finally a special acknowledgement to our first South American visitor.  On June 20, 2015 I noticed that a visitor from Bolivia passed by this site.   I welcome them as our first South American to visit this site.  This, in turn, means that all generally habitable continents have visited this blog!  I know that Antarctica has research stations, and the International Space Station has a internet node; but I doubt that either of these would show up independently as they probably would be shown with their respective nations.

Recap For Those Who Arrived Late … 

This year I had a 76% success rate with 26 of 34 hosta surviving.  In the next months I will be removing 6 hosta, replacing 3 other hosta, and adding 3 others,  Currently I've got a raised bed going (21 plants), and a retaining wall (5 plants).  I think that comes to … 34 - 6 + 3 … 31 plants … I think.

There is probably at least one of you out there thinking something to the effect of, "Peter, I THOUGHT you were going to down size your garden by 14 plants this year."  And for anyone who says that, you would be right I did say that last year.  Even more I even said any hosta that did not survive this year would NOT be replaced.  Your welcomed to pull out your ACME hammers and pound me a few times …  THERE … Now that your done, let me try to show you how all this fits together,

Let's start with what is being removed because they did not survive:

Pib   Hosta Name               x
3.    Princess Wu Wu     Removed
7.    T-Rex
8.    Blue Mammoth
30.   Itsy Bitsy Spider  Removed
31.   Baby Doll
33.   Irish Mist

Next let's look at what is being replaced from what was supposed to come up this year:

Pib   Hosta Name                        x
12.   Dancing Queen      Planted
19.   Vulcan       
     Pending arrival
32.   Dixie Chickadee    Planted

And next let's look at what is being added to the bed this year:

Pib   Hosta Name                       x
35.   Empress Wu         Planted
36.   Liberty            Planted
37.   Pandora's Box      Pending arrival

Lastly let's look at what was moved to a retaining wall this year:

Pib   Hosta Name   x
1.    Imp
5.    Faithful Heart
16.   June
18.   Golden Tiara
27.   Little Sunspot

As I was processing through what needed to be moved I realized that Rainbow's End IS a Patented Plant.  I consulted the Patent Holder to see what limits they had on the plant.  In this case Rainbow's End can be moved or transferred in ownership PROVIDING that the plant is not divided or sold for money.  I considered who this plant could go to as this is one that did not fit my garden theme.  The more I thought the more I realized that THERE was no-one I could trust with this plant.  This means that the plant has to stay within the raised bed for legal reasons, and another plant must be given up.  One plant that I thought about adding during this shift was Fire and Ice.  I have opted to drop this addition to make way for this legal exception and problem..  Also note that a Patented Plants can not be used for plant propagation either; so I will need to cut the scapes before flowers open to prevent this scenario of the problem.

When you re-examine what is happening you have a total of 13 hosta being taken OUT of the garden.  At least on that point I've kept my promise.   When I recount the revised diagram I count … 26 hosta in the raised bed, and 5 on a retaining wall.  With a total of … 30 varieties (there is one duplicate hosta).

Umm … this isn't … exactly … where I wanted to end up.  Umm.  Well … I did achieve removing 11 hosta from the raised bed, while pulling it back to it's theme of Chaos and Destruction.  The raised bed has been returned to its symmetry that I had envisioned, and even with 26 hosta it still looks decent and not so crowded.  A few small minor achievements.

Lastly you might wonder why I am replacing three this garden that don't fully meet the theme of Chaos and Destruction.  Let's look at them and see what they have to offer as hosta.

Dancing Queen:  This hosta has a classic ruffle on it's leaf.  The ruffle is extremely symmetrical to each side of the leaf's edge.   The plant also has the trait of holding its bright chartreuse color for the entire season; some say it even lightens a little.  Thus making it an worthy variety to demonstrate hosta diversity.

Dixie Chickadee:  This hosta is somewhat unique in the hosta world as it's leaves are flecked in color.  Yellow background with green flecks with solid green edges.  Again this makes it a desired variety to show hosta diversity.  The green in my garden becomes a Greenish-Black by the way.

Vulcan:  When the center color and the outside color of hosta meet it sometimes is known as the 'feather line".  Many hosta have a more random feathering in their coloration; others have a very distinct line.  With Vulcan the feathering is a bit more regular in pattern.  This pattern I believe is important to show some guests.  In addition the Vulcan leaves while predominately Green and White when immature, become Green, White, with a hint of yellow between the two colors thus making this a 'three colored' hosta at maturity.

Liberty may also seem like an odd inclusion to this theme.  Liberty is a human belief or concept.  It is the type of belief or concept that will become a disruption to those who refuse to accept the other persons, or peoples, claim to Liberty.  For example the American Revolutionary War declared the American Liberty (and Freedom) from England.  At the time it was chaos to the English government system; and social mind set of some Europeans.  The name Liberty can also be turned around to be a tempering effect to the theme where Chaos and Destruction does have a right to co-exist along side of order and creation.  Besides how can you not accept a hosta that has 3 inch white/cream edge that simply screams, "I need attention; look at me!" when they are mature.

Those are the reasons why these three I feel ought to be returned to this garden.  While Dancing Queen and Vulcan are not strictly on theme; Dixie Chickadee can now be justified as being on theme.  According to my librarian friend M.G. of Minneapolis, MN the term "Dixie Chickadee" was used in reference to the Confederate spies during the American Civil War.  No doubt any spy would want to work towards Chaos and Destruction of their opposition.

So that's where my garden is, folks, or at least where it is moving towards!  It has being a strange rearrangement of plants but that's where things stand.

Plans for the Winter Plant Stakes

YES it is nearly the middle of the year and I am already thinking about NEXT winter!  Last year I used 8 inch wooden meat spears for markers in the garden.  They came with the meat we ate last fall from the deli.  While they lasted though the winter they are … were … hard to see against the ground.  My goal for the 2015 - 2016 winter was to find something that might last longer and be seen better.  After a lot of creative thinking, and even seriously considering paying approximately $1000. for some very nice custom made ones; I also found myself being in the hospital and will soon to face large medical bills.  Naturally the game plan had to change fast to reduce gardening costs.  What I came up with was an outside of the box solution.  Paint mixing sticks.  You know those flat wooden sticks used for mixing paint by hand you get from the paint store?  I plan to make laser, adhesive labels, and then seal them in using some of that clear packing tape.  I figure they will be pretty near water and winter resistant … I already know that the exact same precess works with those aluminum plant stakes wonderfully.

Rather then using hosta names on the stakes I will be using my diagram Pib Numbers (1 to 40).  That way I can use them year after year.  The cost at this point is looking like $40 USD … with the following supplies of 1 inch wide paint sticks [70 ordered], Laser printed labels, 3 inch wide packing tape; AND one late summer afternoon of redundant assembly.

Maybe after I get the medical bills dealt with; in about three years(?); I can go back to get those very nice stakes made.

Hosta Replacement Process Begins

Hosta Dancing Queen, and Dixie Chickadee have arrived and are now planted.  Hosta Pandora's Box, and Vulcan have been requested as donations from my generous Twin Cities friend.  (Trying being pragmatic) If the gift of donations come - they come; if they don't, I won't worry about it.

6/18/15: Hosta Dancing Queen, Empress Wu, Dixie and Chickadee have been planted.  Princess Wu Wu and Itsy Bitsy Spider have officially been removed.  All look good at this moment.  The received Dancing Queen and Dixie Chickadee had extensive rhizome systems.  I would expect that these plants will do exceptionally well.  The entirety of the soil from Empress Wu was planted with it as none of it fell from the plant when it was planted.  Most of the manure sludge that went in with Empress Wu was on the west side if it.

Hosta Observations 

Chartreuse Wiggles
  • 16/16/15: After a long spring of trying to survive this plant is just beginning to look like it has some strength to go with it.  It may be small but it's looking good.
Emerald Tiara
  • 6/16/15: Has begun to look really nice where it is.  it is now at the stage where I need to let it be to see if I can nurture it to something larger than 18 inches/45.72 centimeters.  Normally it is at this point that I start thinking about dividing this plant.  This time I need/must to let it just grow because it can get to be 36 inches/91.44 centimeters in diameter.  I should not fear LARGE hosta; they need to be embraced.
Empress Wu
  • 6/18/15: Was purchased with 4 leaves.  Upon planting the count was 9.  That's impressive growth for any hosta.  We'll see what comes as the summer keeps going.
Golden Tiara
  • 6/12/15: West end of the section seems a little ratty.  May be due to transplanting.
  • 6/16/15: Who would have ever thought that after two winters this plant would be sitting close to 2 feet/.61 Meters in diameter!  The plant looks spectacular.  Even the larger leaves look like serpents.  This hosta CAN grow to be 36 inches/91.44 centimeters in diameter.  It's well on it's way … give it a year or two and I'll have a monster on my hands!
Frosted Mouse Ears
  • 6/14/15: This hosta has now technically reached 5 divisions.  More new spikes may appear as the summer progresses,  The newest spike is extremely small.
  • 6/12/15: Coloration to yellow is being slow but slowly shifting in that direction.

Mighty Mouse
  • 6/12/15: Now has it's third leaf - YIPPIE!
  • 6/12/15: 1 inch leaf appears to be having trouble.  Hoping it is not fading early.  Watching this carefully.  Other leaves ought to follow but seeing none.
  • 6/14/15: I have fears of losing X-Ray during mid-season.
  • 6/16/15: No new leaves on this plant as its primary leaf is nearly gone.
  • 6/17/15: The hosta is surviving by its very tiny emergent leaves.  Trying to keep them clear of compost that keeps falling on them over each 24 hour period.  I am unsure what will come next for this hosta.

Scapes and Flowers

Emerald Tiara
  • 6/12/15: Scape still growing.
  • 6/19/15: With the new plants being added around it this scape has had trauma, and is bent over at a 90º angle.
  • 6/20/15: Scape seems to be trying to correct itself.  It's got a fight but it may actually succeed!
Golden Tiara
  • 6/15/15: First spike has been seen on Retaining Wall,
  • 6/14/15: First Scape has been the Raised Bed,
  • 6/15/15: First Scape has been the Retaining Wall.
  • 6/18/15: I am beginning to wonder if the Retaining Wall Imp really is Imp.  It kinda looks more like Kinbotan.
Lemon Lime
  • 6/12/15: scape is now openly in the sunlight.
  • 6/12/15: scape is beginning to show the separate bracts on it.
  • 6/14/15: With Liberty being planted into the garden the scape is now standing straight up.  Very long rhizome system noted during planting.  That seems promising.
  • 6/14/15: Scape is again pointing southerly.  No further signs of it being serpent like in movement.  Scape seems to follow the sun during the day, and then when the sum is not abundant it stands straight up.
  • 6/18/15: The first unopened blossom is seen openly  They're gonna be HUGE when they open,
Little Sunspot
  • 6/12/15: has begun separating its flowers - nothing open yet.  Blooming is coming soon!

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The garden rearranging is coming along slowly.  I am trying to avoid flowers, scapes. and other developments along the way.  What I think I have worked out ... keeps changing, but at some point things will become settled.  I still have 2 cartoons that need to be finished, and posted at some point too!  We'll see you in 9 days with more adventures in this small garden …

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