Sunday, November 30, 2008

Cool Hostas, Warm Climates

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Almost 10 am here on the mountain and everyone seems to making progress on the day but me. It was a cold start at 7 degrees and Karl and I had a tough time wanting to head out for a walk and then down to the village for a newspaper. Mike, a neighbor down the road a bit, was feeding a friend's beef cattle so we stopped to talk. He was pounding away at the watering trough helping the aerator/heater open up so the cows could drink. Mike is one of those local guys who will help anyone, anytime. Vermont still has a number of those people and it's sure nice to know there's someone close by when you need three hands but only have two.

I got home and filled the bird feeders early as there's a big storm coming and all wildlife know it. In anticipation, they are eating as if they'll be too busy tomorrow dodging sleet and freezing rain. This morning I was again reminded of the pecking order at the feeders. The blue jays are top dog until a flock of grosbeaks come and then they are intimidated. A large red squirrel will scare the grosbeaks but not the blue jays and a shrike, just a nasty robin-sized bird that reminds me of a mini harrier jet will scare all birds and small critters away.

Last Saturday I wrote about "Hosta Vision" and described the planning process for what will be a large shade garden at out new nursery. Susan Tomlinson, author of the blog, The Bicycle Garden commented that hostas do not grow in Texas where she lives. The comment made me think about a web order we received for hostas last year from San Diego, California. As soon as I saw the order come through I wrote the person and said that I like orders but I also like people to be happy with what we send. Basically I was doubting the purchase but I guess I said I'd do whatever the customer wanted. In short order I learned that this gardener had been studying hostas that can accept a warmer climate and he had several long term successes. He referred me to an article I'll share with you in hopes that maybe "Cool Hostas, Warm Climates" will work for you too.

Tony Avent owns and operates Plant Delights Nursery, Inc. in Raleigh, NC. He has a super nursery and a fine offering that will keep you going back again and again. He's also a great author and published one of my favorite reference books, So You Want To Start A Nursery, published by Timber Press. A couple years back Tony wrote an article entitled Hostas For Warm Climates which is available on his site at

If you question whether you can grow hostas where you live, read Tony's article and go from there. In the meantime, think about how nice a hosta garden can look and let us know if you have any questions.

Writing from the mountain above Peacham Pond where I was just reminded there are things that have to be done today.

George Africa
The Vermont Gardener
Vermont Gardens
Vermont Flower Farm

1 comment:

andrea said...

I love hostas - I get them from give aways from other folks though so have no idea what I have but the variety of leaves in my hosta patch is just amazing

and thanks for all the feedback on chain saws- we work hard to be safe but don't wear chaps etc ..we should and your thoughtfulness in reminding us is much appreciated!