Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Hosta of the Day - 'Gum Drop'

Today's hosta is a cute small to miniature hosta called 'Gum Drop'.  It has small heart shaped leaves that are green with a slight blue tinge to them.  Pictures don't really capture just how cute this hosta really is.  This is another hosta for the front of the border, and because of it's color could take a little more sun then other hostas.  It is great paired with bright gold hostas or white/green variegated hostas.
Hosta 'Gum Drop' (yes, that is a dandelion in the picture)

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Hosta of the Day - 'Grand Prize'

If you are looking for a small hosta that packs a lot of color, you may want to give the hosta 'Grand Prize' a try.  'Grand Prize' has a wide margin that starts off yellow and turns creamy white.  The center is medium green.  It works best for the front of the border because of it's smaller size.  Pair this hosta with green or gold colored hostas, or even a gold colored lamium such as, lamium 'Gold Nugget'.
Hosta 'Grand Prize' 2009
Hosta 'Grand Prize' 2011

Monday, February 27, 2012

Hosta of the Day - 'Gypsy Rose'

The hosta 'Gypsy Rose' is named after Gypsy Rose Lee, who was famous for her burlesque act.   Which is fitting, since 'Gypsy Rose' is a sport of the hosta 'Striptease'.  For those of you out there who have a naughty section in your theme gardens, yes I know you are out there, you should have either a 'Gyspy Rose' or a 'Striptease' or both in your garden.  The hosta 'Gypsy Rose' has a wide dark green margin, and the center of the hosta starts off as light green and lightens to yellow as summer progresses.  There is also a very thin line of white between the margin and center color.  'Gypsy Rose' is a medium sized hosta, and would be great paired with gold or chartreuse hostas.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Hosta of the Day - 'Foxfire Off Limits'

I am ending this week's hosta series with a beauty!  Hosta 'Foxfire Off Limits' is a sport of hosta 'Sun Power'.   It's a bright gold hosta with a slightly wavy light green margin.  People are instantly attracted to it's unique look.  It's also highly sun tolerant.  Unfortunately, this hosta is not one that is easily found any more.  I may have mentioned this before, but Foxfire Gardens was a wonderful hosta garden located in Marshfield, WI.  In the fall of 2009 they closed their gardens, and hosta fanatics from all over still mourn the loss.  'Foxfire Off Limits' is one of Foxfire Garden's own creations.
'Foxfire Off Limits' 2009
'Foxfire Off Limits' 2011

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Hosta of the Day - 'Fragrant Blue'

Today's hosta is one of the bluest of all of the hostas, and it also has wonderfully fragrant flowers.  Hosta 'Fragrant Blue' has very chalky blue leaves that hold their color very well throughout the summer.  A lot of blue hostas turn green over the summer, but this is not one of those hostas.  The more mature this hosta, the more blue it will appear (as you can tell from pics below).  You can pair this hosta with pretty much any hosta, because it has it's very own unique color.
'Fragrant Blue' 2009
'Fragrant Blue' 2011

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Hosta of the Day - 'First Frost'

Hosta 'First Frost' was the hosta of the year in 2010.  Hosta of the Year is chosen by the Hosta Growers Association based on decorative appearance, showy flowers, and hardiness in zones 3-9.  Hosta 'First Frost' will not disappoint.  In spring it emerges with leaves that are blue green with a yellow margin.  As the summer progresses the centers stay a very pretty shade of blue green, but the margins of the hosta turn from yellow to pure white.  Pair with green colored hostas that will bring out it's blue color.
'First Frost' 2009
'First Frost' 2011

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Hosta of the Day - 'Fantasy Island'

Hosta 'Fantasy Island' is not related to yesterday's hosta 'Fire Island'.  However, it is a very cute, small hosta that's sure to steal your heart.  It's another tri-color hosta, since the center is white, and it's irregular green margin is both dark and light green.  This hosta has pinkish colored stems and vivid flowers.  As you can see from the pictures below, both the slugs and the hail really like the white centers of the this hosta.  So while you'll want to put it in the front of the border so it's not overwhelmed by larger hostas, it doesn't always look the best by the end of the summer.
'Fantasy Island' 2009
'Fantasy Island' 2011

Monday, February 20, 2012

Hosta of the Day - 'Fire Island'

Hosta 'Fire Island' might not look that exciting in the pictures below, but it's a hosta that if you saw it in person you would be impressed.  Especially in spring when it comes up bright, bright yellow.  Something the pictures don't show is that this hosta has red petioles (stems) that creep up just slightly into the leaf.  The petioles stay red all summer long, but the leaves do turn more green throughout the summer.  I have also found with mine, as you can see in the picture below, is that the leaves will bleach out if it gets too much sun.
'Fire Island' 2009
'Fire Island' 2011

Friday, February 17, 2012

Hosta of the Day - 'Earth Angel'

I end this week's series with one of my favorite hostas, hosta 'Earth Angel'.  It's definitely in my top 3, and might even put it at number one.  I love the three colors in the leaves.  The large leaves are blue green with an irregular white border, but sometimes there is almost a chartreuse color blend between the blue green and white.  Once you see 'Earth Angel' you will always be able to pick it out from any other hosta.  It's leaf color is that unusual.  It's a hosta you will want to showcase in your garden.
'Earth Angel' 2009
'Earth Angel' 2011

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Hosta of the Day - 'Eye Declare'

Hosta 'Eye Declare' is a fairly new addition to my shade garden.  I bought it as a liner from the plant co-op I belong to.  If you are not familiar with liners, they are very small hostas.  They are often tissue cultures, and have one very small eye.  They usually take a while to mature, because they are so small.  You can usually purchase liners, especially from a co-op, for anywhere from $1-$8.  It's a great way to save money, if you have the time and patience for the liners to mature.

'Eye Declare' has been a very fast growing hosta for me.  The one in the picture below is only 2 years old, and started off as a very small liner.  I love that it will have a random streak of green on a leaf.   The picture below does not capture this hosta at its best.  In spring this hosta is absolutely gorgeous.  It's center is so bright, you would swear that it could glow in the dark.  As summer progresses the center turns more green.  Put this one up front, where you can admire it in spring.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Hosta of the Day - 'Elvis Lives'

Hosta 'Elvis Lives' has a great "blue suede" color.  The leaves are long and very ripply, and it has a very upright shape, almost fountain like.  It's a very unique hosta, and will add a great texture and to your shade garden.  My experience with this hosta is that it's very slow growing.  Maybe others have had a different experience with it?  I moved mine in 2010, as it was being overgrown by other hostas.  It would be great paired with darker green hostas that will bring out it's blue color.
'Elvis Lives' 2009
'Elvis Lives' 2011

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Hosta of the Day - 'Elkhart Lake'

I don't know if I have revealed this secret yet, but I sometimes just buy hostas for their names.  I know what you are thinking.....really, you buy a plant just for it's name?   Yes, it's true, I am a hostaholic and I admit it.  I bet it's a real surprise to those of you who follow my blog.

Growing up I spent a lot of time in the summer swimming in Elkhart Lake (I'm sure this hosta is not named after this lake).  My mom was a school secretary and had her summers off.  So we would go to Elkhart Lake at least once a week.  There was a public swimming area there complete with a concession stand full of ice cream and candy.  It was a great sandy beach, and I would spend only enough time out of the water to gobble down some lunch.  So when I saw the name on this hosta, I just had to have it no matter what it looked like.

'Elkhart Lake' is a medium to large hosta with large green leaves.  It has white undersides and large lavender colored flowers.   The leaves also have a wavy margin.  Pair this one with white margined or gold colored hostas.

'Elkhart Lake' 2009
'Elkhart Lake' 2011

Monday, February 13, 2012

Hosta of the day - "Eventide"

Every time I see today's hosta, the song Even Flow by Pearl Jam goes through my head.  I'm pretty sure I can blame that on my friend, Andrea, in Indianapolis.  She is just the type to burst into song and dance at the sight of a certain hosta.  While touring the hosta gardens of Indianapolis she would do her best Pearl Jam imitation at the site of hosta "Eventide".

"Eventide" has slightly piecrust leaves that are green with white margins.  The leaves are long and narrow.  This hosta is medium to large in size, and would pair well with gold or solid green hostas.  A hosta that was more smooth in texture would be a great pair for it, since it would show off it's ripply edges.

Hosta 'Eventide'

Friday, February 10, 2012

Hosta of the Day - 'Dragon Lady'

I'm closing this week's series by one of my favorite acquisitions, hosta 'Dragon Lady'.  I was visiting a hosta nursery in Cedarburg one Labor Day weekend.  I can't spend as much when shopping with my husband, and he happened to be with me this trip.  I saw 'Dragon Lady' in one of the display gardens, and was instantly drawn to it since it has huge leaves that are very pointed.  Do I need to say it again??  I love huge hostas (which is why I need a bigger yard)!  When I saw a division for sale, I thought for sure I would not be leaving with it, since it was more expensive than most hostas I buy.  My best friend, Gina, collects any hosta with Dragon in it's name.  So I told my husband when we got home Gina would probably want half and we could split the cost.  Luckily, he also thought the hosta was pretty cool, and he also knew about Gina and her obsession with Dragon named hostas.  When I returned home my friend Gina said she didn't need another large hosta, so I ended up with the whole hosta.  It's a decision she now regrets, as every year she begs me to dig up and divide a piece for her.  It's so large, it's hard to get a really good photograph of it now.

'Dragon Lady' 2012

'Dragon Lady' 2011

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Hosta of the Day - 'Dream Queen'

Today's hosta is one has two hostas that are very similar and may even be the same hosta only with different names.  Hosta 'Dream Queen' is very similar to 'Thunderbolt' and 'Dream Catcher'.  So if you already have one those hostas, you probably do not need (notice I say need) this one.  Hosta 'Dream Queen' has thick, leathery leaves which make it more slug resistant.  It has very rounded heart shaped leaves that are blue green in color with with a whitish yellow center.  I have it in one of my front beds, and visitors are drawn to it.  Since this hosta is more tall then it is wide, I would pair it with smaller hostas.
'Dream Queen' 2009
'Dream Queen' 2011

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Hosta of the Day - 'Dark Shadows'

If you are looking for a dark colored hosta to complete your hosta color palette, then a great choice would be today's hosta, hosta 'Dark Shadows'.  When I first received mine, I though I must have received the wrong hosta.  From everything I had read, 'Dark Shadows' one of the darkest colored hostas available.  The hosta I received certainly wasn't any darker then my other "green hostas".  But as you can see from the pictures, this one darkens as it matures.  'Dark Shadows' has very thick leaves that start off blue with chartreuse margins, that darkens to dark green with chartreuse margins as summer progresses.  It reminds me of a muted, dark version of 'Liberty' in it's leaf shape and coloring.  Because of the dark coloring it will eventually hold, it's best to pair this hosta with other hostas that are either gold and have gold or white wide margins.
'Dark Shadows' 2009
'Dark Shadows' 2011

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Hosta of the Day - 'Dick Ward'

Before I introduce today's hosta I want to remind everyone that this weekend is the Wisconsin Garden Expo in Madison.  It's a great way to beat the winter blues, as there are lots of flower and plants on display.  Every year I usually purchase one hosta to get me through until spring.

Pics from past years at Garden Expo
Today's hosta is 'Dick Ward'.  I first saw a mature 'Dick Ward' when I was touring gardens in Indianapolis during a hosta convention.  When I saw it, I knew I had to have it.  When mature, 'Dick Ward' has highly pebbled leaves that are slightly cupped.  It is a sport of hosta 'Zounds' which is a beautiful gold hosta.  'Dick Ward' has gold leaves with a wider dark green margin.  It takes a while for it to reach it's full maturity, so you have to be patient to see this hosta's real beauty.  In order for this hosta to really shine,it's best to keep it in place in the garden where it will only receive a couple hours of light a day.  I have mine paired with hosta 'Pizzazz' and 'Hi Ho Silver'.  It would look great with any white margined hosta or one that was very dark green or blue.

'Dick Ward' 2011
'Dick Ward' 2009

Monday, February 6, 2012

Hosta of the Day - 'Dance with Me'

Hope everyone has recovered from all the Super Bowl food and drinks last night.  Since the Packers didn't make it into the Super Bowl it wasn't a very exciting event in our household.  We already knew that our cat, Roxy, loved watching the Brewers on TV, but yesterday we found out that she also really loves the Puppy Bowl.  Perhaps she's trying to tell us it's time to get a dog again?

Today's hosta is hosta 'Dance with Me'.  'Dance with Me' has very vivid heart shaped leaves that are gold with a wide green margin.  The leaves are thick and leathery.   It would look great paired with hosta 'Last Dance' which is a "sibling" to 'Dance with Me' and has the opposite color scheme.  I have mine paired with hosta 'Blue Wedgwood' which makes the bright leaves of 'Dance with Me' stand out against the dark color of 'Blue Wedgwood'.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Hosta of the Day - hosta 'Carnival'

This week's final hosta is hosta 'Carnival'.  'Carnival' can be a very beautiful hosta, especially as it ages.  The more mature it gets, the more the leaves will show corrugation and all of the colors will show.  'Carnival' has a dark green center with a white/yellow margin, making it what I like to call a tri-color hosta.  Because we have cooler springs here in Wisconsin, 'Carnival' can also be an ugly hosta because it's leaves has a tendency to get drawstring.  Drawstring means that the center of the hosta actually grows faster then the edges of the hosta.  Thus the hosta leaf will look like there is a drawstring around the outside that is pulled tightly.  Usually the more the leaf the develops the edges will actually tear.  Drawstring usually occurs only in spring, and as the summer progresses less and less of the leaves will appear this way.  I usually pull the leaves that have drawstring off in spring.
'Carnival' 2009
'Carnival' 2011

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Hosta of the Day - hosta 'Cathedral Windows'

I have many people ask me about hostas that have fragrant flowers.  Well today's hosta not only has a wonderful variegation, it also has highly fragrant flowers come late summer.  hosta 'Cathedral Windows' is a tetraploid of hosta 'Stained Glass'.  Tetraploids are mutations that either occur naturally or are chemically produced.  The mutation cause the hostas to have 4 chromosomes instead of the natural 2.  Tetraploids usually have stronger colors, variegation, thicker leaves, etc than the plant they mutated from.  'Cathedral Windows' has thick leaves that have dark green margins and golden centers.  It's a large hosta, but is more compact in the sense that the leaves are more downward cup shaped rather then flat.
'Cathedral Windows' 2009
'Cathedral Windows' 2011

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Hosta of the Day - hosta 'Cat and Mouse'

For those of you who do not have room for yesterday's giant hosta, I bring you a miniature hosta called 'Cat and Mouse'.  It is a sport of the hosta 'Blue Mouse Ears' I featured last week.  Like the other mouse ears hostas, this one has very thick leaves.  'Cat and Mouse' has a chartreuse center with a blue/green margin.  It sometimes almost appears to be more striped or even tri-colored than simply a green hosta with a chartreuse center.
'Cat and Mouse' 2009
'Cat and Mouse' 2011