Tuesday, March 15, 2016

March 2016 Second Edition

PDF Companion Reference Files for this Edition

Photograph Dated: 3/12/16

Database Table B 
Only has last years records.  See last journal entry for link.
Diagram Table B 

No diagram this month but I offer this photograph of the garden as it is currentlyNote the concrete that needs to be replaced at the front bottom; the rain line is now clearly seen on the right side of the bed, and although not intentional, the darker region in the upper right of the garden is the general area where the critter burrow is below the surface.
  • Photographed by Andy Dunn.
  • Photogragh retouched by Author.

Spring is almost here.
The hosta spikes will be seen in about 30 days.
WARNING: This edition is a long one.

Hosta On the Way

White Feather
  • Attempt #1: Is concluded.
    • Note: I did get a refund on this order.  Although we went through a lot of work to get it.
  • Attempt #2
    • Dec 2015  Will reordered the plant from Nursery C.
    • 3/28/16  I've schedule the arrival for week of March 28th.

Itsy Bitsy Spider
The more I think about this variety, the more I think I want to try it again.

Opening Words

AT the time of this writing the frost is definitely out of the ground.  Sometime during April the first spikes of Hosta ought to show themselves.  Last year there was a seven way tie for first up.  Last year that occurred on 4/11/15 and the list was:

 ID    Hosta               2015 Note               
 19    Frosted Mouse Ears
  1    Imp                 Divided to two locations
 12    'kinbotan'
  2    Lemon Lime
 32    Little Sunspot      Moved to Outer Wall
 28    Masquerade
 29    'venusta'


Readers might want to note that each of those above survived from 2014 as well.  The hosta that I wintered are listed below (on another article).  This same list will be seen several times in a number of variations between now and June's first edition when I indicate what did not survive in this garden, and I try to explain why they did not survive.

Was It Crown Rot or Ice Out?

Readers frequently hear about Crown Rot as being the cause of Hosta not surviving, but there may be another lessor known cause that is known as 'Ice Out'.  In this exceptionally short discussion I'll quickly explain the difference and how to determine which plants became which.

Both conditions are cause by freezing temperatures in gardens.  In my garden I do not look at these conditions until late May or early June – long after the winter has passed and what ever will come up HAS come up.  Note I have personally had hosta come up as late as the last day of May; and I have heard of hosta coming up as late as the second half of June here in Minnesota.

Crown Rot occurs when the plant has froze, and the cellular membrane of the plant burst due to the expansion of water freezing.  When the temperatures rise above freezing the membrane rots and ceases to be.  The rot will consume the remaining parts of the root or rhizome system (burst and healthy) taking anything that could survive. in these cases gardeners will find NOTHING left under the soil where the plant was.

Ice Out is slightly different.  The plants critical organs of the plant are damaged, and much of the cellular structure of the plant are not harmed.  Under these circumstances the root or rhizomes will be intact under the ground, and can be found in the spring or early summer when the gardener inspects the growing area where the plant failed to come up.

This is the reason why I wait to decide what to buy until after late May.  Besides plant prices begin to fall during June since the of the retail season begins to end at that time of year.

Serrated Edged Leaves

I was wandering around on the Internet during late February, and I came across the suggestion that Church Mouse was a 'harder' hosta to grow; not to mention some of the other Mouse Ear Hostas are considered to be 'harder' to grow.  I am hoping this is not the case in my garden as it has one characteristic that does make it stand out: a serrated edged leaf.  In fact when I first saw this I thought my eye [singular] was playing tricks on me.  Under different light I finally saw that it was no trick of the light, and this very small hosta had VERY distinct serrated edged leaves!

If you look online there is actually a small number of hosta that do have what some call serrated, or maybe even 'pinking shear' edged leaves.  A list of these hosta (and many other hosta lists) can be found at: http://www.hostalists.org/  Hacksaw, in my garden, has that characteristic when it matures; I've seen some good photographs of this.  Teaspoon, also in my garden, is said to have serrated leaves as well; but I've never seen any photos to suggest this clearly. Since this later hosta was added last year I will watch carefully for the serrated effect on these leaves.

Getting back to hosta characteristics ... having several hosta in this very small garden which have serrated leaves is important to me, and it is important because as I might talk to a visitor about hosta in general I can call attention to these forms of serrated edges.  While my garden has the theme of Chaos and Destruction, the aesthetic aspects of this garden I work very hard at showing hosta diversity.  The crossroads of Chaos and Destruction [C&D], and Hosta Aesthetics is not always an easy balance to keep.  May Church Mouse decided to return this year to show its leaves once again!

From Hosta Characteristics to Garden Design

Above I just mentioned that my collection focuses on two themes: Chaos and Destruction (C&D), and Hosta Aesthetics.  Let's try to look at how my garden works this out.  There have been plant changes since the last time I did this.  In some cases I have also reevaluated how the categories apply to the hosta.

One might wonder why have a garden on the theme of Chaos and Destruction.  The theme reminds me that the world around me is not always violent and hostile.  Without the contrast of chaos and destruction we would not know what order and creativity might be.  It mentally helps me remember that fragile balance of life that is around us; and between each human being we meet.

Raised Bed                C&D  AES 

1a.  Imp                   X    X
  • C&D Theme: Genii, Devils, Jinn, or Imps from mythology have been known to be chaotic and/or destructive.
  • Aesthetics Theme: There are three Hosta in this garden that look nearly identical to each other: Imp, Stiletto, and Little Devil. Each have spear like leaves; have a white to yellow edge with a green center; and grow no larger than 1 ft. / 3.05. dm.

2.   Lemon Lime            X    X

  • C&D Theme: Genetics can be good and bad; chaotic or orderly.  The name reminds me of that fact.
  • Aesthetics Theme: Short light green spears that keep coming back reliably.

3.   Empress Wu            X    X

  • C&D Theme: Honers the ONLY female EMPEROR of China; so had this hosta been named properly it would have been: Emperor Wu.  The title of emperor even confused the early Europeans who visited China during her reign as many Asian cultures do not designate gender in in title or office designation [the chaotic edge]. the historical record faintly infers that this Emperor was ruthless to their opposition; in particular there is one incident where a child had been playing, and had in their playful acting spoken against the Emperor and by the next morning the child had vanished [the destructive edge].
  • Aesthetics Theme: While this hosta will probably never reach it's full size in this garden, the plant has the reputation of having leaves that are 27 in. / 68.58 cm. in length. and a height of 4.5 ft. / 13.72 dm. tall.

4.   Sum and Substance          X

  • C&D Theme: Withdrew the description.
  • Aesthetics Theme: The leaves if they reach full size look something like artists palettes (in size).  The plant is another large one as its reputation takes this plant to 9 ft. / 27.43 dm.  Again due to the size of the planting area it will never reach its full size.
  • Growers Comment: I probably will be taken out in about 2 to 3 years as I make adjustments with other plants.

5.   Snake Eyes            X    X

  • C&D Theme: When playing with dice when two ones are roll they are sometimes referred to as 'snake eyes'.  This hosta is symbolic of how gambling can sometimes be chaotic and destructive.
  • Aesthetics Theme: With the assumption that we can accept 'white' as a color [since white is the absence of chlorophyll pigment in plants], this hosta presents a three color arrangement on the leaf.  Dark green, white, and light green (center).

6.   Fire and Ice          X    X

  • C&D Theme: Both fire and ice can be chaotic and very destructive forces of nature.
  • Aesthetics Theme: This hosta has distinctive green and white coloring; and shows one example of a wavy leaf.

7.   Liberty                    X

  • C&D Theme: [none]
  • Aesthetics Theme: This hosta easily cones within the 'identifiable at 12 feet away' rule.  When mature the coloration has a 2 to 3 inch white or cream boarder with a strong, dark, green center.   The texture of the leaf can have light to moderate rugose [unsmooth] texture of leaves), and its thickness is nearly makes it feel like plastic.

8.   Dancing Queen              X

  • C&D Theme: [none]
  • Aesthetics Theme: This hosta has classic, symmetrical, piecrustintg on the edge of its leaves, and over the summer has a lighter green color to it.

9.   Gorgon                X    X

  • C&D Theme: Greek Mythology.  The Gorgon were three sisters; two of which were immortal and third was mortal.  Each sister had a penchant for killing humans.  The mortal, and most famous, was Medusa.
  • Aesthetics Theme: The hosta has wavy leaf edges which are very unsymmetrical in wave placement.  As the plant matures the leaves do look like reminiscent 'snakes'.

10.  Gemstone              X    X

  • C&D Theme: Famous gems, and not so famous gems, have driven some humans to chaos and destruction over them.
  • Aesthetics Theme: This dark green, nearly blueish, hosta sits discreetly and tries to be ignored with it smaller spear like leaves.

11.  Hacksaw               X    X

  • C&D Theme: This hosta begins the row of four 'implements of destruction'.  ANY tool used for creating can also be used to destroy.
  • Aesthetics Theme: This dark green, wavy edged, serrated hosta makes a scene with its leaves and irregular waves which sometimes are symmetrical or asymmetrical in appearance.  It sort of looks something like a miniature Gorgon - with serrated edged leaves.

12.  'kinbotan'            X    X

  • C&D Theme: Literally means 'little button'.  This hosta celebrates all the little buttons you shouldn't push!
  • Aesthetics Theme: IN MY GARDEN this hosta exhibits roundish leaves that are yellow to the outside and medium green to the center.  Most other gardens have this hosta exhibiting ovate leaves.  As this is a recent addition to my garden, and it may also be the age of the plant is showing itself as there are young and mature expressions of hosta.

13.  Stiletto              X    X

  • C&D Theme: Aside from high heal shoes; which I have been told are destructive to feet. and chaotic to walk in; a stiletto is a thieves/thugs knife which has a point no longer than 4 in. / 10.16 cm. and is in most nations is illegal to carry.
  • Aesthetics Theme: There are three Hosta in this garden that look nearly identical to each other: Imp, Stiletto, and Little Devil. Each have spear like leaves; have a white to yellow edge with a green center; and grow no larger than 1 ft. / 3.05.

14.  The Razor's Edge      X    X

  • C&D Theme: Razor's from all time periods have proven to be dangerous at one time or another.
  • Aesthetics Theme: Red stems draw attention to themselves during the growing season.  This grower noticed last summer that the red vanished as the temperatures rose.  One of the parents of this hosta was Hacksaw found on the other side of the garden.

15.  Vulcan                X    X

  • C&D Theme: Logic is sometimes the most destructive thing known!
  • Aesthetics Theme: While having the same colors as Fire and Ice; if you look between the white and a green of a mature plant you will find a feathering of yellow!  The primary colors of this hosta also produce a feathering that suggests ears and a exaggerated head (a vulcan we all might know?).

16.  Popcorn               X    X

  • C&D Theme: The pop, crack, boom, and kabooms of explosions are symbolized with this hosta in my garden.  Besides there's nothing orderly about popcorn popping!
  • Aesthetics Theme: Again this white and green once again shows up in my garden!  But this time it grows to look like bowls (sometimes known as seersuckering, or concave bowls).

17.  Chartreuse Wiggles         X

  • C&D Theme: [nome]
  • Aesthetics Theme: Light green spears of leaves that are asymmetrical in waves.

18a. Holy Mouse Ears       X    X

  • C&D Theme: This hosta is dedicated to the mouse from the 1997 movie 'Mouse Hunt', who in the end finds it must repent for all it has done.
  • Aesthetics Theme: Green halos on a white back ground; almost the reverse of Frosted Mouse Ears.

19.  Frosted Mouse Ears    X    X

  • C&D Theme: This hosta is dedicated to Warner Brothers: Jerry the Mouse for all the chaos and destruction he put Thomas the Cat through.  Jerry, it needs to be noted, was at least once found in a snow drift nearly frozen.
  • Aesthetics Theme: White on the outside and green in the center, almost the reverse of Holy Mouse Ears.

20.  Teaspoon                   X

  • C&D Theme: (none)
  • Aesthetics Theme: Nearly blue leaves create small bowls on a somewhat long petiole.  Leaves are said to be serrated.
  • Gardener's Comment: Don't let the name fool you into thinking this is a small plant.  This can grow a good 14 in. / 35.56 cm. or more in diameter.

21.  Dragon Tails          X    X

  • C&D Theme: Have you ever seen (maybe imagined) seeing a building being flattened by a dragon's tail?  If I invited MORE of the dragon into this garden it might just be out of control!
  • Aesthetics Theme: A tight circle of leaves that most persons would not notice until they saw that their spear like.

22.  Little Devil          X    X

  • C&D Theme: Genii, Devils, Jinn, or Imps from mythology have been known to be chaotic and/or destructive.
  • Aesthetics Theme: This is the last of the three Hosta in this garden that look nearly identical to each other: Imp, Stiletto, and Little Devil.  Each have spear like leaves; have a white to yellow edge with a green center; and grow no larger than 1 ft. / 3.05.

23.  Tortifrons                 X

  • C&D Theme: [nome]
  • Aesthetics Theme: This hosta looks like lawn grass that, if grown correctly, has at least a 45° twist to it.  After seeing Chartreuse Wiggles I knew there had to be something that went with it!  The name is said to mean "Autumn Wind", and has the reputation of being the last to bloom in the season [at least in Japan].

24.  Church Mouse          X    X

  • C&D Theme: Mice from movies, religion, mythology have done some pretty chaotic and destructive things.
  • Aesthetics Theme: A very small hosta with some very distinguished serration on it's leaves.

18b. Holy Mouse Ears      (above)

25.  Rainbow's End         X    X

  • C&D Theme: Many persons have tried to chase the rainbow to it's end.  In some cases it has been chaotic and destructive.
  • Aesthetics Theme: Another hosta that can be identified 12 feet away.  This two toned green hosta; some reports say the coloration is dark green with yellow.  It has red scapes, black seed pods; and lavender flowers.

26.  Dixie Chickadee       X    X

  • C&D Theme: [nome]
  • Aesthetics Theme: This hosta rises with green and yellow and then shifts to a pale white.  In my garden the outer green edge also changes to a nearly black color of green as the season advances.

27.  Masquerade            X    X

  • C&D Theme: Masquerade balls/dances can be fun.  Sometimes what is even MORE fun is trying to guess who's who at the event.  While not destructive, and much more chaotic comes the time when you find out who really is who!
  • Aesthetics Theme: The light green edge with white centered speared hosta can make fine accents on this smallish plant.  This is the second return for this plant in my garden.

28.  'venusta'             X    X

  • C&D Theme: 'venusta' is said to be latin for name of the Greek Goddess: Venus.  The goddess of love. What more chaotic and destructive force could their be than love in all its variants.
  • Aesthetics Theme: This small low growing hosta has medium green leaves.

Outer Wall
                C&D  AES
(These 5 hosta also represent yellow hosta)  

29.  June                  X    X
  • C&D Theme: This month represents the start of the hottest time of the year - at least in Minnesota.  What more chaotic and destructive than heat?
  • Aesthetics Theme: Green and yellow leaves which suggest sunlight on well positioned plants.

30.  Golden Tiara               X

  • C&D Theme: [nome]
  • Aesthetics Theme: With yellow edges and crisp green centers tend to make this hosta easily identifiable.

31.  Faithful Heart        X    X

  • C&D Theme: IT is good that some people can be faithful in that respectful manner, but in some cases being faithful can bring about chaotic and destructive results.
  • Aesthetics Theme: A light medium green filled with a firm yellow center.  In bright sunlight leaves also have noticeable rugose surface.

32.  Little Sunspot        X    X

  • C&D Theme: Represents the fury and destructive nature of our own star, the sun.
  • Aesthetics Theme: Bright green edges with equally bright yellow centers.  AT this point on my plant all I'm seeing is green!

1b.  Imp                  (above)

Minnesota Spring Weather

The first half of March was spectacular with several days of 60°F / 15.56°C weather.  Here in the Midwest we say: When March comes in like a Lamb it has to go out like a Lion.  This years lion is a cold one with temperatures returning to the 20°F / -6.67°C range at night.  The 30 day forecast says that this cold streak will continue towards to the middle of April when they return again to more spring like behavior.  It is at this juncture of the seasons changing that gardeners worry most about crown rot and Ice out.

Closing Words

White Feather will be here by the next edition of this blog.  It may have to temporarily be planted in a planter until I know if the hosta that is temporary plant survives or not.  The diversity of this garden is reflected in the plant characteristics.  The sad goal for this season is to down size this garden by about 8 plants.  Personally I'ld rather be the one deciding what goes and what stays; but nature may do that for me (sigh).  I'll see you next issue.


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