Tuesday, September 1, 2015

September 2015 First Edition

When some of us reach September we think the gardening season is slowing down, but when your talking hosta - it's not.  You may watch that TV show or movie series with well written story arcs that go from one over to the next.  By the end of this edition my gardening antic's might begin to feel like one of those series.
We open with 26 Hosta in the raised bed …

Opening Words

The heat of the week of August 9th effected a number of hosta.  I can't really say were past the worst of it.  That many years comes in the last week of August, and early September as summer has its last hurrah right before, or even as, children go back to school.   The MN State Fair can get VERY hot.  Gorgon, Imp, Kinbotan, and Sum and Substance definitely look dry on the edges.  The Razor's Edge has scapes bending over to or below 90º, Gorgon still has it's double bloom, but Popcorn has also pulled through since that tends to be the first to show signs of Autumn changes at 50°F  / 10.00°C, we've come close to that as well.  Over the last fifteen days we even touched into the 50°F  / 10.00°C range of temperatures.

Snake Eyes has sent out some spectacular leaves and definitely has TWO Eyes.  The show for that plant is just beginning as more spikes are coming!  A leaf with 3 colors will be a welcomed addition to the garden.  Empress Wu sent up, during recent rain, it's 16th leaf.  The count keeps going up!

The bees have been seen on a daily, consistent basis.  In past years they've been seen now and then.  With only four scapes open they are certainly being instant about getting their pollen.   Dragon Tails will soon open to add to their food.

Hardiness Maps … We Can Now Talk The Same Map!

Possibly I'm a little behind times but, I recently found this.  For many years, if you lived in the USA, the gardener only had their USDA (United States Department of Agriculture) map to refer to.  For some years each continent had their own map, and independent system to compile their respective hardiness map from.   In this age of internationalism with 6 maps and 6 systems to consult you nearly had to be an expert to understand how to translate between these maps.  Those days are over!

The international community has finally (back in 2007) developed an unified mapping system to plot the World's Hardiness Zones.  From Zone 1 to Zone 13, from the equator to the poles, its all there.  Gardeners can now talk to their gardening friends across the borders and know what relative growing zone the other is in reliability.

Readers might also want to note that the world's community also seems to be moving away from 'a' or 'b' subdivisions for those same growing zones.

Hosta On the Way

White Feather
  • Attempt #1
    • 7/16/15  Ordered from Nursery B.
    • 7/27/15  A shipment arrived … but what was delivered WAS NOT White Feather.
      • Seeking refund.  No result yet.
    • 8/19/15  No update on the refund …
    • 8/22/15  Refund received - this fiasco over with.
  • Attempt #2
    • 1/??/16  Will reorder the plant from Nursery C during early January.
    • 4/??/16  Will schedule the arrival for late April.

Popcorn and Vulcan
  • 7/14/15  Ordered on.
  • 8/31/15  Being shipped out very late early September
  • 9/??/15  Word received; arrival this week - Wednesday?.
Due to arrive any day now. 

FLF PD#001
  • No sign if this plant arriving … Yet.

Other New Arrivals...

Many times I rejoice at the sight of new hosta coming to be added to my garden.  At this time I am absolutely furious at myself.  I went to a hosta sale on 8/20/15, and came home with to many hosta.  One might look at the short list below and say … "Hey - those are 'small' hosta you can fit them in".  The problem is I CAN'T fit them all in.  Readers must remember that my garden is small (44 in. W x 104 in. L / 111.76 cm. W  x 264.16 cm. L) AND in reality I had only intended to bring home three of the four. AND to add to the complication I had thought that one of the hosta was much smaller than what it will grow to.  I'm at the point where another hosta, or maybe even two, will have to be sacrificed.  This has not been a good hosta moment for me.

Let me take a deep breath, and let's all take a fast look a these beauties.

Hosta 'Church Mouse'
  • Height: 2 in. to 8 in. / 5.08 cm. to 20.32 cm.
  • Width: 12 in. to 14 in. / 30.48 cm. to 35.56 cm.
  • Characteristic: At maturity this plant produces leaves that are smooth at the center and ruffled on the edge.  If you know your hosta you might think of this as a very miniature variation of Hosta 'Embroidery'.
  • Theme Base: Aesthetic Collection
  • Grower's Comment:  This was obtained to take the place of Mighty Mouse that died in the last week.    On closer inspection I have notice that this plant may have serrated edges on the leaves; an unexpected bonus to give comparison to Hacksaw that also will have a serrated edge.
Hosta 'Fire and Ice'
  • Height: 8 in. to 12 in. / 20.32 cm. to 30.48 cm.
  • Width: 16 in. to 39 in. / 40.64 cm. to 99.06 cm.
  • Characteristic: This medium sized hosta produces leaves that have crisp white centers, and feathering that is somewhat distinctive; and yet lightly reminiscent to Vulcan with the exception of no yellow between the two.
  • Theme Base:  Chaos and Destruction
  • Grower's Comment:  Seems to be coming along for the ride, although I must admit it is a variety that I have had on my wish list for some time.
Hosta 'Teaspoon'
  • Height: 8 in. to 11 in. / 20.32 cm. to 27.94 cm.
  • Width: 18 in. to 24 in. / 45.72 cm. to 60.96 cm.
  • Characteristic:  This hosta produces deep green leaves that cup.  While the leaves are smaller than Popcorn, the thought had been that they could compliment each other nicely.
  • Theme Base:  Aesthetic Collection
  • Grower's Comment:  Personally I think that it should really be renamed to Tablespoons as the leaves really are comparatively large.  Maybe even renamed to Half Cup as the leaf diameter seems to be closer to that!  Although that's just me.
Hosta 'Tortifrons'
  • Height: 4 in. to 8 in. / 10.16 cm. to 20.32 cm.
  • Width: 8 in. to 17 in. / 20.32 cm. to 43.18 cm.
  • Characteristic:  Most hosta keep their characteristics in their genes.  Tortifrons seems to have its twisting spiraling leaves coming from its molecular level rather than its genes.  If you thought Itsy Bitsy Spider has class - Tortifrons pushes it to the next level … presuming you give it enough light to get it to twist!
  • Theme Base: Chaos and Destruction (due to is molecular level), and the Aesthetic Collection due to it's appearance.
  • Grower's Comment:  The name seems odd to me.  I'm trying to find out how the name came about or what it directly means.  References suggest that the Japanese refer to this hosta as "Autumn Wind" as it blooms very late in the season.  If anyone knows please speak up.
The raised bed now has 30 hosta in it; up from 26 earlier this year.  At the moment I have identified 10 hosta that were lost (growing or given to others) during winter, or this growing season.  These 10 caused noticeable 'holes' in my garden.  As every gardener knows empty holes make any garden look unfinished.  Admittedly I did move plants around, and I realistically repurchased others to compensate, but even then some holes existed.  I'ld still like to try White Feather for what's its worth.

I talked a few editions back about 'hosta addiction', and here we have a superb example of it.  When a gardener purchases more than what a garden can realistically hold; that's a problem no matter how you look at it.  When the hosta gardener over purchases the hosta community playfully says, "Their addicted.".  In this case it is s serious problem due to physical space limitations.   Even with these new 4 hosta I will want to work on bringing the raised bed hosta count down further.  By 2018 I'ld like the garden count down to between 10 and 15 very select hosta for display.

Hosta Observations

Church Mouse
  • 8/20/15  This hosta has previously bloomed for the season as it has a tell tail cut scape on it.  I expect this to just sit pretty and look nice to the end of this year.

Dancing Queen
  • 8/26/15  May be trying a second time to send up a new spike at its base.

Empress Wu
  • 8/23/15  The leaves keep coming but they are smaller.  The 16th leaf is seen.  Will this hosta be able to produce 2 more leaves by the end of the season?  According to others who have Empress Wu if a scape would have come it would have been seen by now.

Holy Mouse Ears
  • 8/17/15  I have been watching a solid sport of of this plant in my garden for nearly 2 years now.  Last week I put some distance between the sport and the parent plant.  Yes, another sport for the Mouse Ears family.  This is not a reversion back to Blue Mouse Ears as the genealogy on this hosta reads:
    Blue Mouse Ears> 
                Royal Mouse Ears>
          Holy Mouse Ears
             [This New Plant].

Reversions only go back ONE generation.  As I have never seen a Blue Mouse Ears personally: I suspect this looks very similar to it.  No formal name has been given to this plant at this time.

  • 8/20/15  The scapes are fully dried and now falling off.

  • 8/22/15  With this part of the fiasco of trying to purchase White Feather behind me I can now deal with this unexpected, and quite frankly unwanted arrival.  IF I remove Loyalist and one other hosta I ought to bring my garden back under control.

Mighty Mouse
  • 8/20/15  Is no more.  I have replaced this hosta with its cousin Church Mouse.  Rains and fertilizer have strengthened these leaves.

Scapes and Flowers

Dixie Chickadee
  • 8/26/15  This plant has gotten difficult to document.  I have drying scapes (started last week) and yet there are a few last blooms coming.  Dates may seem conflicting on the survival table, but it is correct.

Dragon Tails
  • 8/20/15  Scape has been up for a few days.

  • 8/26/15  Is sending up yet another scape!  The second bloom is not doing any thing.

  • 8/28/19  First flower has opened.

The Razor's Edge
  • 8/21/15  The petiole on this plant have turned green.  Wondering if it has to do with the heat last week.  I know they came up red.  The scapes are slowly trying to stand up once more.

  • 8/26/15  There seems to be a scape like object growing at the center of this unplanted clump.  Looks kinda red to me.

----- ----- ----- 

With Loyalist going to my mother, and Emerald Tiara given to a B.E., in Winthrop, MN, the raised bed is somewhat back under control.  This is still a very crowded garden with 28 hosta.  Readers must keep in mind that even Snake Eyes and Fire and Ice; no matter how lovely they are; are considered to be temporary fillers until other hosta do their growing thing.  If you read very carefully between the lines [past, present, and future blog editions] you can now begin to discern which hosta I prefer. and will survive the elimination process to 2018; presuming winter does not get to them first!

The Survival Table K (posted else where) diagram may look cluttered but the gardens physical presence looks very orderly and geometric with rows left to right and North and South.  All of this holds the silent secret that most of these Hosta will grow far bigger than what the garden can really hold!

Remember my gardening antics are not over yet as more than half my Hosta have not scaped yet!

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