I LOVE Mice
My post Miniature (& Small) Hostas is the most popular article I have ever written for my blog. In that post, I described how, when I discovered miniature hostas, I reached a new level of hosta addiction. I try not to purchase (five of) every new miniature hosta I can get my hands on, but it’s a struggle. Luckily my nursery allows me to mask this addiction as “business development”. Now I specialize in miniature hostas, and mail order is even in the works (more about that later).
The miniature hosta that really took me over the edge was ‘Blue Mouse Ears’. It was definitely love at first sight. I fell for the very blue, very round, very rubbery leaves and the perfectly symmetrical habit. When ‘Blue Mouse Ears’ emerges from the ground, it is in a cluster so tight it looks like a rose. It reaches about 6″ in height and scoffs at the idea of slugs as do all the mouse ears hostas. Most days I stop on my garden ramble to touch its thick leaves. To me they feel like mouse ears, not that I have ever felt one.
‘Blue Mouse Ears’ is a descendant of ‘Blue Cadet’, which is a beautiful small blue hosta with very clean leaves and an elegant habit. Boy was I in trouble though, because ‘Blue Mouse Ears’ was only the beginning. As is the nature of hostas, ‘Blue Mouse Ears’ has given rise to a whole family of little mice. All of them are between 5 and 8″ tall and form a clump about 12″ wide. Technically, some of them get slightly larger than what the “authorities” consider mini. Their unique characteristics are their very round rubbery leaves and their symmetrical habits. However, I may be prejudiced by my love of mice, but I think these little gems have some of the best leaf colors of any hostas on the market.
Naturally I had to have all the mouse ears hostas in my collection, and my quest began. I now have seven mice and have located a source for two more, ‘Royal Mouse Ears’ and ‘Calico Mouse Ears’, which I will be ordering shortly. While researching this post, I found a Rutgers University site with the hysterical name of Hosta Garden Mouse Index. The photos are not very good, but it seems to list all the mouse ears hostas available. Apparently my quest will last a while longer.
Photos of three of my mice appear above, and here are the remaining four:
I haven’t mentioned one of the wonderful features of the mouse ears hostas, their flowers. Instead of having the long, dangly, out-of-proportion flowers that are produced by some miniatures, the mice have short, fat flowers in proportion to their size as illustrated by the photo below. I grow them for their flowers too, which is something I can’t say about most hostas.
Of course my mice deserved a special place in the garden where touring customers could view them up close and admire their cuteness (is that a word?). What better place than the trough that my husband gave me for our anniversary. My mice nest happily there:
‘Green Mouse Ears’ upper left, ‘Blue Mouse Ears’ middle, ‘Mighty Mouse’ middle right, ‘Mouse Trap’ lower left, ‘Frosted Mouse Ears’ lower right. The companion plants are dwarf Solomon’s seal and miniature lady fern.
It is easy to add mice to your garden, and they will bring a smile to your face for the whole season.
Carolyn’s Shade Gardens specializes in miniature hostas. I have 25 varieties available at my nursery right now. I am thinking of starting a mail order business for miniatures. If you would like to mail order some this year and help me test out my plan, click here (US only).
Nursery Happenings: My third Open House Sale, featuring hostas, ferns, hardy geraniums, and other blooming plants for shade, will take place on Saturday, May 12, from 10 am to 3 pm. Look for an email listing the plants available if you are on my customer email list. If you are interested in receiving miniature hostas mail order, click here.
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