Sunday, May 1, 2016

May 2016 First Edtion

Tis' the Season for Hosta to Play Games With Me ...
and Tis' the Season That They Also Give Me Pun(ishent) ...
But the Critter is Being Addressed NEXT Month!

This Months Diagram
Remember you can click to enlarge it!

Hosta On the Way
White Feather
Attempt #2
  • Dec 2015  was reordered from Nursery C.
  • 3/28/16  Has not arrived, nor have I seen a delivery notice at this time.
  • 4/6/16  Shipping being delayed due to St. Paul weather.  Long range forecasts now say April 12 will bring the last day of freezing temperatures.
  • 4/10/16:  White Feather arrives on a cold and blustery day.  But fear not this is the LAST cold and blustery day of winter!  The temperatures only go up from here!  As this came from Virginia I am acclimating the plant for this setting.
    • Soaking the plants in lukewarm water for about 2 hours.
    • Will be mixing the original soil, local soil, and sheep manure and the water that I soaked them in to make the standard planting sludge.
    • Watering them with some more lukewarm water after they are planted.
    • Hoping this will be enough to pull them through this evening and the next few days.
  • 4/16/16 The plants that were sent had spikes that were nearly at 90ยบ angles when they arrived.  They are nearly standing straight now ready to unfurl to show their white leaves.
Itsy Bitsy Spider
I've begun to put word out that I am looking for some of this variety.  Not sure if I will get any response.  If no response comes, I'll resort to buying some.

Opening Words

There's nothing really to tie this together this month.  I've got two hosta that refuse to come up and two hosta that have vanished with the other 25 that are in different stages of spiking or leafing out.  It's actually quite amazing knowing that after this stage the garden takes momentary rest and during that rest I ALWAYS say to myself, "Why cant that garden fully cover its self'".  Well this year it acactually will begin to do just that, and if all goes well the garden is going to begin to look remarkable.  Something to actually be proud of.  Again that only happens after that growth pause.

Hosta Survival

April 16th
Chartreuse Wiggles (Garden A; spiked)
  • Two exceptionally small spots of green seen!
Dragon Tails (Garden A; spiked)
  • A smallish spike is felt.
Golden Tiara (Garden B)
  • Looks promising this year in Garden B.  It was very successful in Garden A, and seems to be continuing that tradition in this garden.
White Feather (Garden A)
  • The spikes have started to open, and the show is about to begin!  Hoping this lasts more then a month.  When the show is over, these plants will be moved to where Fire and Ice are now in the hopes that they will fill in to make a major splash of white in the spring.

All the corners are up and growing vigorously.  The only Hosta NOT up at this point are Church Mouse, Empress Wu, Fire and Ice, Snake Eyes, and Tortifrons.  The garden may begin to see itself to fill in this year.  This is something I've waited for years to happen.
April 18
Empress Wu (Garden A, spiked)
  • Has a single spike!  Still looking for other spikes as this was planted with a significant rhizome system last year.
Imp (Garden A)
  • Coloration can now begun to be seen.
Masquerade (Garden A)
  • Coloration can now begun to be seen.
Rainbow's End (Garden A)
  • Coloration can now begun to be seen.
Snake Eyes (Garden A, spiked)
  • Another year where two eyes start this plant off!  I had wondered if the plants depth was going to be a hindrance to its re-spiking this spring; but no it is spiking just fine!
Sum and Substance (Garden A)
  • According to a friend (B. from Minneapolis) has counted 18 spikes up.  This over twice as many from last year.  Maybe there is hope for this plant yet!  At some point I will have my roommate (A.D.) do a second count for me.
Vulcan (Garden A)
  • Coloration can now begun to be seen.  Minor damage may have occurred by myself on one of spikes, but as hosta can be mowed back 3 times in a season this ought to repair itself on its own.  I am still half hoping to see signs of the leaf (the fifth plant) that I planted last year.
White Feather (Garden A)
  • Leaves have begun to unfurl.  A very light pastel green can be seen at this point.  Will watch to see how long this display will last.  I'm very excited to have this plant in the garden collection.
The hostas count is down to the last three plants (3) to show themselves.  The season is being very successful.  With 26 of 29 hosta up in Garden A the success rate is: 90%; it's not often I reach this success level.  Like all gardeners I am an optimist so I am hoping for even better success this year.  These last three are on the East side of the garden.  I must be patient as these may yet show their spikes.  I am so close to 100% that I now begin to wonder which hosta will be LAST up!

April 19
Church Mouse (Garden A, spiked)
  • This serrated beauty has spiked!  There is a very small chance that more spikes might follow.  Like everything else one has to wait.  On the other hand this also represents all three of my mice spiking which reaffirms to me that these mice might be worth saving.
Dancing Queen (Garden A)
  • Continues to amaze me with a total of eight (8) spikes between three (3) plants.  Last year I thought about removing one of these new plants for the sake of appearances.  This year really get to see if that will be needed!  As the spikes look large I think that these queens will dance fabulously.
Popcorn (Garden A)
  • Still looking for last years plant to return.
Vulcan (Garden A)
  • The damage thought done on one of the spikes seems to have benefited the growth of the spike!.  Breathing easier on this spike at this point.
The count continues to 27 out of 29 spikes up putting me at the 93% stage for success!  Tortifrons and Fire and Ice are the last at this point.  Grow my hosta GROW!
 April 20
The day is silent and dreary.  Hosta Lemon Lime, 'venusta', Rainbow's End, Imp, Popcorn, and White Feather stand as though they are making the first strains of some song for summer with leaves opening and beginning to show their color.  Sum and Substance is close behind.  Are they the base or the treble for this spring concert?  The others seem to be waiting for the concert master to signal them to add their color to the tapestry of the song of spring.

April showers are slowly organizing themselves for some regularity for watering.  This is a moment where I think WILL they grow to open their leaves since twenty one (21) hosta seem to be standing at the exact same stage of growth.  Some spikes seem exceptionally large in compared to last years plant size.  It feels ... strange.  I know when the concert master [of spring] gives that signal the garden will explode into the greens, yellows, whites, and a few blues of hosta and make those watching pay attention as the season begins to moves forward!

Sunday's forecast lighting storm will electrically charge the air which will probably signal this movement of spring.

Sum and Substance (Garden A)
  • A.D. (my roommate) got around to re-counting the spikes on Sum and Substance.  His count was 16 of them.  No matter how big a hosta spike might be, counting them when they are in mass can sometimes be difficult.  In either case A.D. and B. have confirmed to me that the spike count is very likely twice as many as what they were last year.  From a growers stand point this hosta is one year late to reach this spike count.  With greater spike mass maybe I will finely see those alleged larger leaves.  According to the AHS registration notes about this variety these leaves might get to be 15 in. W x 18 in. L / 38.10 cm. W  x 45.72 cm. L.  These measurements makes this hosta have one of the larger leafs known.  The last time I measured my plants leaves I think they had reached 10 in. W x 13 in. L / 25.40 cm. W  x 33.02 cm. L.  This plant might have a ways to go.
April 22 (Just thoughts)
The day is still dreary, but on the horizon of the short range forecast there's a counterdiction ... a graphic image of mixed snow and rain with a temperature range between 44° to 55°F  / 6.67° to 12.78°C ... [pause] WAIT a moment THAT'S not a counterdiction that's a hail warning!

In the northern latitudes Hosta growers have to watch for Voles and Moles; Rabbits and Deer; Slugs, and Human (thieves); AND Ice. Sleet and Hail.  For those of you who do not know what hail is the best way to describe it as naturally made pellets of Ice.  These pellets can range in size of salt or sugar crystals to about 7 in. / 17.78 cm. (the largest recored) which fall from clouds much like rain.  A severe hail storm can be just as disastrous as a herd of deer eating through a hosta garden; or even a group of voracious slugs.  Mixed with the right wind conditions and pellet size, hail can destroy homes, windows, and vehicles.  The good thing about hailstorms is that they only last a short period of time.  Generally not more than a hour during rainstorms, but the damage they leave behind can be remembered for many years.

The only way to protect against hail is to take your hail warnings seriously, and tarp your hosta the best you can, and then hope for the best.  Just remember that your tarp may be in need of replacement after a hailstorm, and that any hosta that are severely damaged can be cut/mowed back.
April 23

Hosta Fire and Ice, and Tortifrons are still not up.  Hosta Chartreuse Wiggles, and Dragon Tails have vanished.  Have no reason for why they are no longer there.  Both spikes of White Feather have their fourth leaves.

Hosta Heists Really Do Happen!
Spent about an hour weeding out Garden C.  We've got a huge spike coming on what I think is Dancing Queen over there; and two of the Undulata Albomarginata are passing through Fairy Ring Stage - how fun; ... wait a moment we're missing spikes on  two other Undulata Albomarginata which were antique Hosta.  An antique hosta is one that has not been disturbed for over 10 years.  Between these two plants over 200 to 250 [estimated] spikes are missing.   Yes, Undulata Albomarginata is a beautiful hosta, but it is beyond myself, or the management company who might have stolen these spikes.  Neither of us would be as ticked off had the culprit(s) would have just asked before hand.

Now in all fairness ... Those hosta were scheduled to be divided, but that process was to be planned and organized to prevent aesthetic disruption. What was left was extra work for myself, and probably someone else.  But theft is theft is theft.  No matter how sugar coated it is made to be – theft is theft; and that's what disturbing about this incident.

On the other hand ... the thieves had a little taste - they left an unidentified Hosta for us to have.  At the moment my best guess is that it might be a spike of "Liberty".  We'll never be 100% sure what variety it is, but that's the best guess at this time.

April 25 

I am beginning to suspect that those hosta that vanish are encountering salt, and then simply dying.  I wish I had some way of demonstrating it.  Finding it frustrating at the very least.  If I loose any more I won't need to decide what to move out. 

Many hosta have leaves beginning to open between all the gardens; far to many to list here.
Dancing Queen (Garden A)
  • Seems to have an over abundance of spikes this year a total of 9 of them,  I had re-planted this with three plants last year!  They've come up in groupings of 4, 1, and 4.   The spikes have been generous size.  I suspect that the Dancing Queen's, when open, will put on one great show this year!
Empress Wu (Garden A)
  • Continues to be slow.  The spike is still there, but just not growing.
Popcorn (Garden A)
  • Now definitely has three sets of spikes which means ... that the plant that was planted TWO years ago has survived along with two I planted last year.   Finally a spot of good news in between these gardens.
Rainbow's End (Garden A)
  • With it's first leaves open it seems to be 1/3 the diameter it was from last year; but the color is definitely there.  I am sure more leaves will come.
Snake Eyes (Garden A)
  • Has begun to open it's leaves.  Wondering how large this hosta will become this year.
April 25

I've got hosta playing games with me! 

Church Mouse
  • Hid for a few days and then returned.  Good to know it's really there.  The serrated leaves had my full attention last year, and I'ld like to see them once again.
Empress Wu
  • Is still there!  I think the spike is planning triumphant return this year as it will probably be last to really come up.
  • The third spike (the one planted two years ago) is now distinctly seen!
Snake Eyes
  • Presuming that a weed is not impersonating a hosta [it has happened to me] there maybe a third spike developing for Snake Eyes.  I'll have to watch it to see!
  • The leaves on this one are coming very thin, others are coming up closer to normal.  This is the hosta that will be watched this year.
Hosta still not seen:
  • Fire and Ice
  • Tortifrons
Hosta that spiked and then vanished:
  • Chartreuse Wiggles
  • Dragon Tails

Garden Planning: When hosta DON'T come up ...

June is a ways off, but my mind is still sitting here asking do I remove, or replace those hosta that have not survived the spring.  Fire and Ice, Tortifrons, Chartreuse Wiggles, and Dragon Tails are all being thought about.  I had promised myself that I would cut back by five (5) plants this year; and another five (5) plants next year to set the stage to rearrange the garden for approximately 18 plants.

Chartreuse Wiggles:

Ummm.  That went in to represent narrow leaves, and it went in BEFORE I knew about Tortifrons.  Maybe this might be the right time to give that up and pursue Tortifrons or even Itsy Bitsy Spider (also a narrow leafed hosta).
Dragon Tails:
Cropped Kinbotan in the garden really well last year, and nearly gave it the effect of hiding it during Kinbotan's immature stage of growth.  Do I let Kinbotan come out of hiding ... or do I move something else into Dragon Tails place, or do I replace Dragon Tails.
Both varieties do grow to the same height.
 I could move Lemon Line over to where Dragon Tails was, and that might grow a little taller.
 Fire and Ice:
Was supposed to be a filler until White Feather arrived.  IF it does not come up the plan still works.  There's no disruption in that plan.
Was supposed to survive; but that's not spiked yet.  It was added for its highly unique appearance.  Do I attempt this again or just let this go?  I'm not sure at this moment.

That leaves me with ... Chartreuse Wiggles, Dragon Tails, and Fire and Ice being removed.  Need to find two more at least ...  Let's see.  As lovely as Sum and Substance is that actually was intended to be display until I was able to get a full sized leaf (15 in. W x 18 in. L / 38.10 cm. W  x 45.72 cm. L).  Maybe it is time to concede that may never be seen as the actual garden size will not permit a full sized plant; or at the very least the plant cannot be permitted to get much larger due to space.  Ummm.  Maybe I need to see if Empress Wu pulls through this winter with a successful, and well developed spike.  I would hate to lose both plants and not have a full back-up-plan.  Maybe that transition can wait until early Autumn.

Still need to find a fifth.  Well ... Snake Eyes, again as lovely as it might be, was intended to be a temporary plant.  No ... I think I am going keep it at least for another year.  Imp might be the better hosta to move out because it nearly looks like Stiletto and Little Devil.  Besides I have a second Imp on the raised wall.

The final list of hosta that are being looked at to be discontinued this year are:

  • Chartreuse Wiggles (spiked and then vanished)
  • Dragon Tails (spiked and then vanished)
  • Fire and Ice (not seen yet)
  • Imp (half of it)
  • Sum and Substance
Readers will need to note that the following three hosta will be donated to the Mouse Ear collection when that is established:
  • Church Mouse
  • Frosted Mouse Ears
  • Holy Mouse Ears
So it is not even May and I've made some pretty big decisions about next year.  I am downsizing Garden A by 6 hosta; as I am going back to try Tortifrons and Itsy Bitsy Spider once more.  During 2017 I'll only have down size Garden A by four (4) plants rather than five (5), which will make it easier on me at that time.  Looking forward to 2017; the great rearrangement of hosta will be performed at that time.

Many Times it is Nearly Impossible to Identify a Hosta ...
But Sometimes You Just Have to Name It!

For the past three years I have quietly watched a 'sport' of one of my hosta come back year after year.  I was watching to see how stable it was before hunting around to see what its name might be.  Yes if it sports in one garden it might sport the same in another!  That's the fun thing about hosta.  Some times you get an extra plant if your kind to them!

Before I get to far along in this ... you must realize that there are OVER 11,000 varieties of hosta out there, and for all practicality no two are the same.  So when that kind friend of yours brings you a hosta WITHOUT a name attached to it; It may become nearly impossible to re-identify it in some cases.  If you reconsider the incident recounted under April 23 [up-above] that is a case where a plant was left and there was NO TAG with it.  I can certainly make an educated guess' about which plant it is but I will never be 100% assured that it was identified correctly.  I will always have to say "I believe this hosta is ... ".  This naturally also applies to when you misplace your own hosta records.

Then there is the OTHER CASE where you find a hosta sport in amongst your other hosta.  In that case there is a better chance of identifying which hosta it is.  In my case I know that the sport was amongst my Golden Tiara.  There are websites that focus on hosta sports.  These sites might begin to help you find the sport you have.  Mind you; you might have to do several days of research to find the sport you have.  Some hosta have many dozens of sports.  Sum and Substance, Blue Mouse Ears, and Golden Tiara are great examples where each has over 30 progeny).  Even when you find the sport or variant of what you THINK you have you still may need to observe things like growth and flowering habits and then talk to others about what your observing to confirm your guess.

Since I know it is a Golden Tiara sport ... I know with some confidence that most of the sports of this hosta have very likely been catalogued.  I spent an afternoon's worth of time seeking out pictures of those sports and or variants. Of the 30+ hosta that came from Golden Tiara I was able to bring it down to two probable sports: Grand Tiara, and Glen Tiara.  Note BOTH of these hosta look very much alike ... but wait ... this assumption of identification I find is also incorrect — not to mention most of my previous assumptions as well are incorrect, according to Viktoria Serafin from the Glenbrook Farm in an e-mail received on 4/27/16.  By the way Glenbrook Farm holds the registration for Glen Tiara.

"When a hosta produces similar-appearing sports at different locations, they are likely not identical at the DNA level.  As a practical matter, however it is not profitable to register and market a hosta that appears to be identical with another one already registered.  You may name your hosta anything you like and describe it as "much like 'Glen Tiara'" or something like that in your own words.  It would not be correct to call it 'Glen Tiara' or 'Grand Tiara'."
[Editor's Note: Bold Underline was added for emphasis.  Viktoria Serafin is 100% correct in the use of H. 'Nane' when she indicates hosta names.  HostaByKelley shows hosta names by color (Yellow) rather than the internationally acceptable nomenclature of H. 'Name'.]
So ... according to Viktoria Serafin I have an entirely new variety of Hosta that unfortunately looks far to similar to either Glen Tiara and Grand Tiara.  I guess that leaves (pun intended) me with deciding if I name it or leave it unnamed.  The other spoken question might be is, "Do I acquire Grand Tiara and Glen Tiara for observation purposes?"  ... Or maybe I shouldn't tempt fate to much ...

Closing Words

Early in May I pay for the Mouse Ears.  I still must await for the garden space to be cleared out so that they can actually be planted.  I may have to wait for sometime before actually acquiring them beacuse the space needs to be cleared; or so it seems.

On May 11th the second of the formal discussions will occur about the critter in this garden.  What comes out of this will determine what has to be done for the situation.  I know at the very least I will HAVE TO follow that burrow to fill it in.  As this might also be my chance to re-amend the ground in the region where I attempted Blue Mammoth I may do that as well AND then install White Feather there.

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