Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Hosta Planning

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

A beautiful day here on the mountain. Karl the Wonder Dog was out early for his first walk and he was obviously as perturbed as me by last night's coyote conference in the adjacent fields. Not too long after midnight the coyotes came into the back field and they circled the house many times before I finally got to sleep around 3. Our neighbors have two cats and this time of year people visit Peacham Pond and bring cats which sometimes run away. Coyotes love cats and small dogs and I don't mean in a friendship sort of way.

The sun is rising nicely and although we're only at 47° right now, I know it will be another beautiful day. Gail already headed for the flower farm to get things set up and I am not too far behind. Michael will appear around 9 and friend Michelle G is helping today with some of the weeding and planting. Gail has to leave a little early so she can get to Montpelier to view a daylily grower that has a number of fine plants for sale. I'll be picking up loose ends in between daytime hours.

The hosta pictured above is Sun and Substance. It used to be the biggest hosta out there and its sports such as Parhelion and Sum it Up and Sum of All were similarly large. A few years back Brian and Virginia Skaggs introduced Empress Wu named after the only female emperor in China. (Think I have that right) This one is a monster and really gets big!

Anyway my point of showing this picture is I had planted this hosta by the entrance at the flower farm hoping that over time it would mature and be a show stopper, encouraging sales of all hostas. Gail never told me she really didn't like it there and one day this spring as I arrived, I noticed a big hole and an absent hosta. It had already been nailed by heavy frost a couple times and didn't look that good but I knew it was well rooted and would come back at some point. It did! In a pot.

Gail had Michael dig it and pot it up and without many leaves it was easy to handle. Not too many weeks later with good feeding and lots of water, the hosta grew and then Gail had another issue. Who will move it out of the way for me? Sorry Charley, that baby is not moving this year. When it was in the pot it didn't occupy much room but as it exceed five feet in diameter, just getting close enough to the pot was a chore.

When planting hostas, try to give credit to the mature size of what you plant. I grant you that if you properly place hostas to begin with, your initial planting may look very strange with 2-3-4 foot spacing, sometimes more, between plants. If you don't plan, the hostas will look very crowded and will present a challenge over time as you need to tend to them and make other changes. During the initial years I suggest interplantings of annuals or the small, fast growing hostas that can easily be moved in a few years when the larger ones mature. Planning is worth the trouble and I really think if we could teach more about planning in America, all planning not just garden planning, things would work a tad better long term.

Here's a photo of part of our display garden to show some plants that are on their way to maturity. It's handy to be able to move around the plants and for me, be able to get to the flowers at hybridizing time. Hope the idea works for you too!

Writing from the mountain above Peacham Pond where cars and trucks are coming and going and the loons on the reservoir are calling. Mrs. Loon on the Marshfield Reservoir has two kids so if you are down that way in a canoe or kayak, give them some distance.

George Africa
The Vermont Gardener
Vermont Flower Farm
On Facebook as Vermont Flower Farm and Gardens and also as George Africa
On Twitter as vtflowerfarm
At VFF we are always happy to help you grow your green thumb!


Black Cat Gardening said...

Sum and Substance is one of my all time favorite hostas. I remember seeing it for the first time in a coworker's garden and thinking that it was some kind of prehistoric beast.

A1 Chandigarh said...

Great post. You and your garden seem so serene. I like your plans to grow trees. I have redbud trees growing in the garden around the mature redbud tree. I’m trying to figure out the best time to transplant the seedlings to other places on the property.Ahmedabad Flowers