Carolyn’s Shade Gardens is a retail nursery located in Bryn Mawr, PA, specializing in showy, colorful, and unusual plants for shade.  The only plants that we ship are snowdrops and miniature hostas.  For catalogues and announcements of events, please send your full name, location, and phone number (for back up use only) to carolyn@carolynsshadegardens.com.  Click here to get to the home page of our website for catalogues and information about our nursery and to subscribe to our blog.


'Holy Mouse Ears'It is very hard for me to pick a favorite mouse ears hosta, but I think ‘Holy Mouse Ears’ is it.  The colors in the leaves are magical.

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 them all over the US.


Hosta ‘Blue Mouse Ears’ is the parent of all the miniature hostas in the mouse ears clan.  It is so special that in 2008, the American Hosta Growers Association named it the Hosta of the Year.

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’ emerging in the spring.

‘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.

‘Mouse Trap’ is one of the newer mice to hit the market.  Its bright white leaves with a blue-green border are striking.

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 think ‘Mighty Mouse’ has the cutest name in the mouse ears series.

This early spring photo of ‘Frosted Mouse Ears’ does not do it justice.  It matures to a dark green leaf with a wide white margin.

‘Green Mouse Ears’ is the smallest in the family with very shiny, thick bright green leaves.  Don’t you want to touch it?

‘Mouse Tracks’ is my latest acquisition, and I love its tie dye swirls of yellow, green, and blue.  It is a child of ‘Mighty Mouse’ and very rare.

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.


‘Holy Mouse Ears’ in bloom

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.

The whole mouse ears family.

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:  If you are interested in receiving miniature hostas mail order, click here.

If you are within visiting distance and would like to receive catalogues and information about customer events, please send your full name and phone number to carolynsshadegardens@verizon.net.  Subscribing to my blog does not sign you up to receive this information.

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Notes: Every word that appears in orange on my blog is a link that you can click for more information.  If you want to return to my blog’s homepage to access the sidebar information (catalogues, previous articles, etc.) or to subscribe to my blog, just click here.

59 Responses to “I LOVE Mice”

  1. Carolyn, You are woman of many talents, not the least of which is writing! What a great article. I have to stop over and buy some closing gift plants for my clients for their new homes. I don’t know why I did not think of that before. Plants are such a great gift for anyone, really.

  2. They are all very cute. At first I thought I ‘d easily be able to choose a favorite, but that fell by the wayside quickly. I love the use of a trough for their home!

  3. paulinemulligan Says:

    Super tiny hostas, hadn’t really considered them for my garden here because of their lack of size, thought they would soon get swallowed up by everything else. Of course, should have thought of a planter like you, what a great idea!! We have Bowden Hostas not far away (they get a gold at Chelsea every year) so I can see us paying them a visit soon!

  4. A delightful article. I have a blue mouse hosta which I love. Can’t wait to get other varieties from you. Thanks.

  5. When the title to this article appeared (silly me) I thought it was going to be about mice in the garden. I have now positively identified voles which are munching on most everything in the front bed, including my much prized Mertensia and hostas. Put down something called MoleMax before the rain as suggested by Waterloo Gardens. They’re still here. Any help greatly appreciated so I can get on with planting. Thanks. Woe is me…

    • I have two hunting cats and plenty of foxes so mice and voles are not a problem I have had to deal with. I don’t really have any advice except get a cat! Carolyn

      • hillsmom Says:

        Thanks for the reply. I do have plenty of foxes, but my cat is an indoor cat. It’s quite a large area with the voles. Probably my fault for leaving a large amount of oak leaves as winter mulch compounded by the mild winter. (Where is the great hosta blowout?}

      • You seem to be local. Are you on my customer email list? The Great Hosta Blowout is an event where customers pre-order from a set list of hostas and get them for $9 a pot. The pick up is this weekend and then they get to preview my May 12 open house sale offerings. If you want to be notified of events like this, then email me your full name and phone number for backup contact info. Carolyn

  6. Hostas really have such beautiful leaves. I look forward to seeing the hostas that I inherited from my parents’s old garden!

  7. I love the mice in my garden and had no idea there were so many…your display is wonderful Carolyn…I should consider a better display for my miniatures!

  8. I think they look great in the trough. They really get lost unless shown in such a special way. I have a couple varieties and like you, have them in a place where they will be seen. Right now though, they are barely out of the ground.

    • Donna, All the warm weather we have had pushed the hosta out of the ground in March, then I had to cover them in the freeze. You are right, you just can’t throw miniature hostas randomly into the garden. They require special placement. Carolyn

  9. The white edge of holy mouse ears really makes it stand out compared to the others. There’s a word to describe the texture of the leaves but I can’t remember what it is.

  10. How fun! I had no idea what you were going to talk about just from the title of your post! Love all your mouse ears! I love the name Mighty Mouse, too. I have one in my garden, and it really does make me smile. I think that’s the best reason to have a plant – because it makes you smile. 🙂

  11. cathywieder Says:

    I love your mice as well! They look so dainty and charming… we are doing some renovations in and around the Fairy Garden (our rock garden) which is a perfect place for these little sweeties. I would love to acquire some later in the year or next spring — I’ll be in touch!

  12. I love the mouse series as well. Miniature hostas are so cute! I am fortunate in that Plant Delights Nursery with their botanical gardens is not too far away from me. I get to see some of the miniatures not on the market yet there (and wish I could buy them!)

  13. Wonderful post. I now have names for some of the hostas I have in my garden plus varieties I want to add.

  14. They really are cute! Are they really, really slug resistant?

  15. I have a few of these beauties, and I like them very much. They have a softness that blends well with other foliage. I love your ‘trough’ with the mouse ears…perfect in the garden.

  16. Oh, i love that kind of mice too:) I only have Blue Mouse Ears but plan on adding to my collection. Last year I discovered a place about an hour from me that sells thousands of hosta. i thought I died and went to Hosta Heaven. It is so hard to choose when you have that many to pick from. I’m going again in a few weeks so I’m getting my list ready!

  17. Wow… I have no mice and feel like I’m missing something after seeing your collection… I have two large empty troughs just now… maybe…. Larry

  18. Carolyn, when I saw this post title I remembered your last feature on these diminuitive characters. Particularly,the charming strawberry pot planting. Wonder why I hardly ever see these in the nurseries here? Some of them look barely bigger than their nemesis – slugs. What do you do about these?

  19. Ha! You really had me with that title. I have several destructive rodents in my house and garden – can’t stand them! But of course the ‘Mouse’ hostas are wonderful. Thanks for the overview!

  20. At first I thought, hey I got mice, lots of them, I’ll ship you a container full. OH not that kind of mouse. These are much cuter and having just moved 9 hosta the other day into a dedicated hosta bed I can see where a couple of mice would be very desirable. I’ll be keeping my eyes peeled at my upcoming nursery trip.

    • Marguerite, If you don’t have any mice, then I would start with ‘Blue Mouse Ears’. It is the most vigorous and looks good in garden beds with other hostas because it is substantial enough. It is also less expensive because it has been around a while. Carolyn

  21. I would love mice too if they looked like this! I’m not addicted yet but the large leaved varieties of hosta are one of the joys under the mulberry tree. Christina

  22. I was all prepared to tell you that you were crazy…but the hostas are acceptable 🙂

  23. I love you little hostas! Too bad they don’t do well in California.

  24. Thanks for this post, I never heard of this type of Hosta, definitely worth looking into!

  25. Carolyn, I remember well your post last year on miniature and small hostas. I am not surprised that you are a mouse addict. The glossy leaves of green mouse ears look fabulously leathery, and yes I did touch them.

  26. deborahelliott Says:

    I’m glad you are starting a mail order option! I love all your mice, and I love the trough, too. I would like something very similar in my own woodland garden. My favorites among your mice are Holy Mouse , Mouse Trap, and Mouse Tracks, but the others could easily be my favorites as well. I am going to have to think hard about this. I’m afraid I could quickly become a mouse addict, too!

  27. Carolyn, will you also be selling the tiny associates-like the darling Solomon Seals and fern in the trough? How about troughs? I can’t find any good ones here.
    You know I don’t need another plant addiction!

  28. my h. venusta says,” thanks.It’s lonely down here.”

  29. Carolyn, I have been admiring your trough since I saw it last year. Would you mind sharing the dimensions as i cannot find anything like it so I’m going to attempt to make one of my own? Yikes!!

  30. […] had a whole post about the ‘Mouse‘ series, apparently ‘Blue’ has been a busy boy and spawned a very large […]

  31. Murray Callahan Says:

    I have a small hosta that managed to come back this year but it’s not thriving – any suggestions for it? It’s in the shade tho’ it gets a little sun.

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