Monday, June 20, 2011

Case of The Missing Hostas

Monday, June 20, 2011

45.6° here on the mountain this morning. Another beautiful day as the sun rises above Peacham Pond and loons suggest I go for a morning paddle, not knowing how much I have to do today. Not even 6 yet but Gail has rustled together lunch and is packing the car. I have to get to Montpelier early for parts and some paint. As I sit here writing, Karl the Wonder Dog, fresh from his second walk since 4 AM, is bouncing a tennis ball off my foot, begging for the play partner I don't want to be this morning.

Yesterday I put one of the tillers back together, having removed and cleaned every part. The transmission was the last thing to fix and the entire exercise left me convinced that flood water--any water--can get into anything. I'm sure that passers by wondered why I was sitting by a tiller all day for a couple days in the sun but it had to happen. I need a new gasket and filters and then that first tiller should be running again.

Almost every day since the flood I have walked down the bank and through the hosta display garden. It seems that every time I walk there I notice more missing plants. Although I had all the plants labeled above and below ground, the flood took out the labels and many plants too. Some are so beat up that identification is still difficult and since I never completed a map of the garden as I built it, some of this will be difficult for me to figure out.

As I walked down the back path by the fence I lamented the tons of stay mat I had wheeled in for garden paths. The gray and black crushed granite looked so nice on the paths but now it was history with the paths returned to dirt and tree roots. As I walked along I noticed a yellowing stem sticking out of a pile of sticks. It was a hosta, identification unknown. Below it was another and then another and before I was done I had 6 hostas spread out in the sun. The roots looked fine but the leaves were shredded and challenged my limited hosta forensics more than I wished.

I stood and stretched for a minute and happened to be looking straight into a pile of sticks and grass caught in the Y of a tree about six feet off the ground. Another hosta, soil-less but not looking all that bad considering it had been sitting there for a couple weeks. I poked it down and added it to my collection. I have no hope of ever finding all that I lost but more will probably show up as the roots connect with the dirt and start growing again.

Way up top here is a photo of Frances Williams, pre-flood. I have noticed this hosta featured in a number of gardening magazines this year and personally I don't think it is the strongest choice. It seems to have a habit of fraying, browning leaf edges that look terrible by mid July. This year the bad weather has done them in a little in the gardens but those for sale in the shade house are selling well and look ok. Next picture down from the top is Ice Cream which is missing in action right now. There may be a couple left potted and for sale but I'm not sure. I like it for the front of the border or for lining out along pathways or gardens. Finally at the bottom is a favorite hosta I was growing on again and it's lost. It is named "Just So" and was originally from the west coast Briggs Nursery. Floods leave things "just so" and the gardener is left with pieces and new chores. I better get going on my list.

Writing from the mountain above Peacham Pond where a tree swallow landed on the anemometer post and chirped good morning to me through the window. We're both enjoying a great day!

George Africa
The Vermont Gardener
Vermont Flower Farm
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1 comment:

Lisa at Greenbow said...

My gosh, flooding in the mountains? It must have flooded everywhere this spring. I hope you find your hostas. It would be interesting to be hiking along a river and find a fine hosta has taken root along its edge. One would wonder how it got there. I usually blame old building sites but this would be unique.