Archive for the hosta Category

Bigger Hostas in Carolyn’s Shade Gardens

Posted in hosta, hosta, landscape design, my garden with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 14, 2018 by Carolyn @ Carolyns Shade Gardens

 ‘Great Expectations’ is just unfurling its lovely spring colors.

Last week I showed photos of little hostas in our gardens.  To see the pictures, click here.  In this post, I will cover medium and large hostas emerging with their vivid and beautiful spring colors.  All the hostas pictured in this post are for sale at our nursery.  I have noted Hosta of the Year award winners.  Only 22 hostas out of the thousands of named cultivars have received this honor.  For more information on these winning hostas, click here.

Nursery News:  The 2018 Mini Hosta Catalogue is on our website here, and we are taking orders for mail order and pick up at the nursery. Our third open house sale featuring hostas, mini hostas, hardy geraniums, ferns, hellebores, and later-blooming shade plants is Saturday, May 19,  from 10 am to 3 pm, rain or shine, cash or check only, directions here.

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 cell 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.

 

‘Great Expectations’ has a lovely habit when fully out.

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We grow ‘Praying Hands’ in a pot with dwarf Solomon’s seal, and it emerges very late—you can just see the first leaf poking through.  2011 Hosta of the Year

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‘Praying Hands’ fully emerged.  2011 Hosta of the Year

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‘Paul’s Glory’ will have a gold center later in the season.  1999 Hosta of the Year

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‘Patriot’ also emerges late.  1997 Hosta of the Year

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‘Liberty’ has wide, bright yellow margins.  2012 Hosta of the Year

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‘Liberty’ is a glorious sight when full grown.  2012 Hosta of the Year

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‘June’ looks different depending on whether it is grown in sun or shade.  In shade above, it is very blue.  2001 Hosta of the Year

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‘June’ is yellower in a sunny area.  2001 Hosta of the Year

.Many beautiful hostas have been selected from ‘June’—here ‘June Fever’.

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Another progeny of ‘June’—‘June Spirit’.

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‘Halcyon’ is a great medium-sized hosta with a true blue color.

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‘First Frost’ was selected from ‘Halcyon’ so has a deep blue center but with creamy yellow margins.  2010 Hosta of the Year

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The intense spring color of ‘Blue Ivory’, another progeny of ‘Halcyon’.

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‘Empress Wu’, the world’s largest hosta, is going to be truly massive this year.

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‘Brother Stefan’ is just getting started.  2017 Hosta of the Year

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‘Brother Stefan’ when more fully emerged.  We grow it in a very sunny spot, and it is immense.  2017 Hosta of the Year

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One of my favorites, ‘Abiqua Drinking Gourd’ with its huge, blue, cupped leaves.  2014 Hosta of the Year

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‘Abiqua Drinking Gourd’s’ leaves actually hold water.  2014 Hosta of the Year

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If you are local, be sure to check out the medium and large hostas in our garden in person.  They do not display their lovely habits and colorful leaves as well in a nursery container.  You will find them all clearly labeled in our display gardens.

Carolyn

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Nursery Happenings: You can sign up to receive catalogues and emails about nursery events by sending your full name, location, and phone number to carolyn@carolynsshadegardens.com.  Subscribing to my blog does not sign you up to receive this information.  Please indicate if you will be shopping at the nursery or are mail order only.

Carolyn’s Shade Gardens is a local retail nursery in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania, U.S., zone 6b/7a. The only plants that we mail order are snowdrops and miniature hostas and only within the US.

Facebook: Carolyn’s Shade Gardens has a Facebook Page where I post single photos, garden tips, and other information that doesn’t fit into a blog post. You can look at my Facebook page here or click the Like button on my right sidebar here.

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.

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Little Hostas in Carolyn’s Shade Gardens

Posted in hosta, hosta, landscape design, miniature hosta, my garden with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 8, 2018 by Carolyn @ Carolyns Shade Gardens

 ‘Blue Mouse Ears’ has the center spot in our Mouse Ears Family trough accompanied by dwarf Solomon’s seal.

It’s little hosta season, and I thought readers might like to see how we use them in containers and in the ground.  All the hostas pictured in this post are available for pick up at the nursery or for mail order in the 2018 Mini and Small Hosta Catalogue, click here.

Nursery News:  The 2018 Mini Hosta Catalogue is on our website here, and we are taking orders for mail order and pick up at the nursery. Our third open house sale featuring hostas, mini hostas, hardy geraniums, ferns, and later-blooming shade plants is Saturday, May 19,  from 10 am to 3 pm, rain or shine, cash or check only, directions here.

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 cell 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.

 

‘Twist of Lime’ is thriving in an antique metal pitcher along our front walk.

We have a collection of pots and unusual containers planted with mini hostas along our very shady front walk:

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‘Lemon Love Note’ also merits a pot of its own with its unusual shape and shiny leaves.

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‘Blue Mouse Ears’ in a very small, terra cotta pot.

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‘Appletini’, one of my favorite small hostas, brightens up this ultra shady spot with its glossy gold leaves.

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A vintage metal tool box houses four small hostas plus European ginger and dwarf lady fern.

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‘Sun Mouse’ in the tool box.

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‘Munchkin Fire’ thriving!

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‘Lakeside Cupcake’

Up by the drive, we have a strawberry pot planted with many mini hosta varieties.  Unfortunately, it got hit by a car, but my wonderful and very handy husband Michael put it back together:

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‘Wonderful’, you can just see the white outlining on the unusually shaped leaves that makes it so special.

.‘Gemstone’

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‘Green with Envy’

We have gathered together a collection of Mouse Ears hostas in a very large, antique, stone watering trough:

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This photo shows the trough when we first planted it.

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‘Holy Mouse Ears’ is tiny and holds pride-of-place in the left front corner.

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‘Frosted Mouse Ears’ with the reverse variegation of ‘Holy Mouse Ears’ gets the other front corner.

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‘Green Mouse Ears’ dwarfed by some leaves of ‘Blue Mouse Ears’ on the left and dwarf Solomon’s seal on the right.  Its leaves have a folded appearance when it emerges.

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‘Giantland Mouse Cheese’ gets brighter as the season progresses.

.‘Mighty Mouse’

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The trough has filled in quite a bit since it was originally planted, but the Mouse Ears continue to thrive.

Finally, I do grow almost all of these little hostas in the ground in a rock garden area on the back hill:

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‘Appletini’ is bright gold with some direct sunlight.

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‘School Mouse’ was newly introduced in 2017 and did very well in the ground over the challenging winter.

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‘Cracker Crumbs’ is our all-time best-selling mini hosta.

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‘Giantland Mouse Cheese’ among the rocks.

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‘Dragon Tails’, another of my personal favorites, with white dwarf crested iris.

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‘Green with Envy’ accompanied by ‘Niveum’ epimedium, a perfect small plant to use as a companion for mini hostas.

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‘Mighty Mouse’ with a dwarf balsam and other minis.

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‘Sun Mouse’ was also introduced in 2017 and is doing well in a new area of our rock garden.

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‘Blue Mouse Ears’ with a larger epimedium called ‘Domino’.

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If you are local, be sure to check out the mini and small hostas in our garden in person.  Local and mail order customers can try these adorable plants in their own gardens by placing an order from the catalogue, click here.

Carolyn

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Nursery Happenings: You can sign up to receive catalogues and emails about nursery events by sending your full name, location, and phone number to carolyn@carolynsshadegardens.com.  Subscribing to my blog does not sign you up to receive this information.  Please indicate if you will be shopping at the nursery or are mail order only.

Carolyn’s Shade Gardens is a local retail nursery in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania, U.S., zone 6b/7a. The only plants that we mail order are snowdrops and miniature hostas and only within the US.

Facebook: Carolyn’s Shade Gardens has a Facebook Page where I post single photos, garden tips, and other information that doesn’t fit into a blog post. You can look at my Facebook page here or click the Like button on my right sidebar here.

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.

Hostas So Beautiful I Had To…..

Posted in hosta, hosta, New Plants with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 10, 2017 by Carolyn @ Carolyns Shade Gardens

Hostas are used for many purposes at Carolyn’s Shade Gardens.  Here, ‘Paradise Island’ and ‘Maui Buttercups’ (right) provide bold accents on one of our terraces.

….grow them for you myself!   Every year I try to provide an outstanding selection of hostas to my customers.  I peruse the lists of wholesale suppliers within a hundred mile radius to find the cultivars that I think are the best.  I visit those nurseries and individually select each plant.  Having high quality growers produce larger hostas for me is easier, especially since we are always space challenged at Carolyn’s Shade Gardens.  However, to supplement that stock, every year I grow at least eight hosta cultivars that I want to sell because they are so unique and beautiful. 

Here are the hostas I choose to grow this year:

Nursery News:  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.

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‘Brother Stefan’, 2017 Hosta of the Year, 20″ tall and 36″ wide, near white flowers.

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‘Brother Stefan’ with ‘Goldheart’ old-fashioned bleeding-heart along our front walk.  It is so amazing that I have to point it out to Michael every time we leave the house.

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‘Abiqua Drinking Gourd’, 2014 Hosta of the Year, 18″ tall and 36″ wide, white flowers in early summer (photo Walters Gardens).

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‘Abiqua Drinking Gourd’ makes a stunning specimen with its bowl-shaped and heavily puckered leaves (photo Walters Gardens).

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‘June Spirit’, 14″ tall and 26″ wide, lavender blue flowers (photo Walters Gardens).

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‘June Spirit’ is a close relative of ever popular ‘June’ and ‘Halcyon’, a great medium-sized specimen for the front of the border (photo Walters Gardens).

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‘Maui Buttercups’, 10″ tall and 14″ wide, near white flowers, elegant small hosta prized for its bright color and unique cup-shaped leaves.

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‘Autumn Frost’, 12″ tall and 24″ wide, light lavender flowers in summer, the frosty blue leaves and extra wide bright yellow margins are amazing (photo Walters Gardens).

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‘Fire Island’, 10″ tall and 15″ wide, lavender flowers, striking for its arresting gold color, red stems, and red coloring at the base of the leaf (photo Walters Gardens).

‘Blue Ivory’, 16″ tall and 30″ wide, lavender flowers, amazing combination of blue leaves with wide pure white margins, you have to see it in our garden (photo Walters Gardens).

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‘Rainforest Sunrise’, 2013 Hosta of the Year, 8″ tall and 16″ wide, light lavender flowers, remarkable coloring and habit make it really stand out.

 

Carolyn

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Nursery Happenings: You can sign up to receive catalogues and emails about nursery events by sending your full name and phone number to carolynsshadegardens@verizon.net.  Subscribing to my blog does not sign you up to receive this information.  Please indicate if you will be shopping at the nursery or are mail order only.

Carolyn’s Shade Gardens is a local retail nursery in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania, U.S., zone 6b/7a. The only plants that we mail order are snowdrops and miniature hostas and only within the US.

Facebook: Carolyn’s Shade Gardens has a Facebook Page where I post single photos, garden tips, and other information that doesn’t fit into a blog post. You can look at my Facebook page here or click the Like button on my right sidebar here.

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.

Top 10 Favorite Larger Hostas

Posted in container gardening, containers for shade, hosta, hosta, landscape design, my garden, Shade Gardening, Shade Perennials with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 10, 2015 by Carolyn @ Carolyns Shade Gardens

Hosta 'Stained Glass'One of the most beautiful times in my garden is when the wisteria is in full bloom.  Under it is planted one of my candidates for Top 10 Hostas, ‘Stained Glass’, hosta of the year for 2006.  Available at CSG.

With the latest issue of its beautiful and informative journal, the American Hosta Society sent its members a form asking them to vote for their 10 favorite “regular” hostas and 5 favorite minis.  People often ask me which hostas are my favorites, and the AHS Popularity Poll sent me out into the garden to make a list.  Naturally I brought my camera, and I thought I would show you some of the contenders.  To avoid disappointment, I have indicated which are for sale at Carolyn’s Shade Gardens (CSG).  Sadly, some of my favorites are not readily available.

Nursery News:  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.

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Hosta 'Paul's Glory'Hosta ‘Paul’s Glory, hosta of the year for 1999. Available at CSG.

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Hosta 'Paradise Island' & 'Maui Buttercups'Hosta ‘Paradise Island’ on the left and ‘Maui Buttercups’ on the right.  They are not really in contention, but they looked so beautiful together under the ‘Paliban’ lilac.

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Hosta 'Paradise Joyce'Hosta ‘Paradise Joyce’ hasn’t been available for years, but it really is one of the best.

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Hosta 'Eye Declare'Hosta ‘Eye Declare’, here with ‘Lynnhaven Carpet’ erigeron in the foreground and ‘Stainless Steel’ coralbells in the background, may be my favorite big hosta.  Again it is not available in the trade.

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Hosta 'First Frost'Hosta ‘First Frost’, 2010 hosta of the year, with its blue and yellow spring coloring is just gorgeous.  Available at CSG.

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Hosta 'El Nino'Hosta ‘El Nino’, here with white-flowered hardy geranium, has always been one of my favorites with its unique blue and ivory coloring.  It is difficult to find, but I have it for sale this year.

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Hosta 'El Nino'A close up of ‘El Nino’, a star in my silver and blue garden.  Available at CSG.

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Hosta 'Great Expectations'Hosta ‘Great Expectations’ really started to thrive when I moved it from full shade to an eastern-facing location.  Available at CSG.

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Hosta 'Brother Stefan' Hosta ‘Brother Stefan’ seems to like sun too, here it faces southwest and is paired with ‘Goldheart’ bleeding-heart.  I think it should have been hosta of the year rather than the somewhat similar ‘Paradigm’.  Available at CSG.

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Hosta 'Crumb Cake'Hosta ‘Crumb Cake’, here in a container, is definitely on my top ten list.  It is a small hosta, but the leaves are too big for it to qualify as a mini.

There were other contenders not pictured here: ‘Blue Angel’, ‘Sagae’ (2000 hosta of the year), ‘Abiqua Drinking Gourd’ (2014 hosta of the year), adorable ‘Blue Mouse Ears’ (2008 hosta of the year), whose leaves are also a little too big to be a mini, the amazing ‘Praying Hands’ (2011 hosta of the year), ‘Remember Me’, and H. nigrescens.  I guess I will have to do another post.  I will definitely have to narrow down my list!  That’s all for now but look for another post on my favorite hostas soon.

Carolyn

Nursery Happenings: To order miniature hostas for shipping or pick up at our nursery, click here to access the catalogue.  Our third open house, featuring ferns, hostas, and hardy geraniums is Saturday, May 16, from 10 am to 3 pm.  However, don’t’ wait until then—you can stop by anytime by appointment to purchase these wonderful plants.  Just send me an email at carolynsshadegardens@verizon.net with some suggested dates and times that you would like to visit.

Carolyn’s Shade Gardens is a local retail nursery in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania, U.S., zone 6b/7a. The only plants that we mail order are snowdrops and miniature hostas and only within the US.

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.

Facebook: Carolyn’s Shade Gardens has a Facebook Page where I post single photos, garden tips, and other information that doesn’t fit into a blog post. You can look at my Facebook page here or click the Like button on my right sidebar here.

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.

Large Hostas Get the Spotlight

Posted in hosta, hosta, landscape design, Shade Gardening, Shade Perennials with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 25, 2012 by Carolyn @ Carolyns Shade Gardens

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.

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Hosta 'Blue Angel'Hosta ‘Blue Angel’ used as a shrub.

After writing three posts on miniature and small hostas, I thought large hostas deserved their place in the sun (or shade).  Although I love miniature hostas, large hostas are also dear to my heart and plentiful in my landscape.  I use them both as specimen plants and also for massing with other hostas to fill shady areas.  There are so many hosta cultivars out there, over 8,000,  that I thought I would share some of my favorites with you.  I have included some close ups of their beautiful leaves as well as photos of how I use them in the garden.

My Hosta ‘Liberty’ was planted last year so it has not reached its true size and coloring, but its leaves are still gorgeous.

A full grown ‘Liberty’ in a local garden.

‘Liberty’ with my husband Michael for scale.

I wanted to start with ‘Liberty’ because it was chosen by the American Hosta Grower’s Association as the 2012 Hosta of the Year.  This is a great honor bestowed on only 18 of the over 8,000 hosta cultivars (to see other winners, click here), and I make a point of selling them and growing them in my garden.  ‘Liberty’ is a sport (off shoot) of  ‘Sagae’ with the same vase-shaped habit but much wider creamy yellow margins.  It reaches 2′ tall and 5′ wide with 10″ leaves.

 

A close up of a leaf of Hosta ‘Striptease’ shows the very unusual “lightening strike” of white running around and through the lime green center.

Three ‘Striptease’ plants make a sizable clump.

‘Striptease’ massed with ‘Blue Angel’ above and H. tokudama ‘Gold Bullion’ and ‘Flavocircinalis’ right.

‘Striptease’ was the Hosta of the Year for 2005.  The white streaks on its leaves really make it stand out—the pattern is rare in the hosta world where many plants look alike.  It is a sport of the old favorite ‘Gold Standard’.  At maturity, it is 20″ high and 4′ wide with 8″ leaves.

leaf of Hosta ‘Paradigm’

Again my ‘Paradigm’ is not mature and does not display its true beauty but when I saw a mature plant I had to have one.

Yes, ‘Paradigm’ is another Hosta of the Year, this time for 2007.  Its leaves are gold-centered and heavily corrugated (textured), a quality I love in the hostas that display it.  Its near white flowers are also quite lovely.  At maturity, it is 2′ high by 4′ wide with almost 12″ leaves.  I can’t wait.


 leaf of Hosta ‘Sagae’

A close up of the vase-shaped (upright) habit of ‘Sagae’

‘Sagae’ planted at the top of a wall to show off its gorgeous habit, with native ‘Forest Pansy’ redbud

I first fell in love with this hosta at Longwood gardens, and it was labeled H. fluctuans ‘Variegata’.  I wrote down the name and searched for it for years before I figured out its name was changed to ‘Sagae’.  Of course, ‘Sagae’ was chosen to be a Hosta of the Year for 2000.  Its upright mounding habit makes it a perfect specimen.  At maturity, it reaches 31″ high by 70″ wide with 13″ leaves.

pollen-covered leaf of Hosta ‘Fried Green Tomatoes’

 mature clump of ‘Fried Green Tomatoes’

‘Fried Green Tomatoes’ in front of an antique church gate covered with clematis and native honeysuckle.

It is hard to explain why I like ‘Fried Green Tomatoes’ so much.  Perhaps it is the substantial blue-green leaves or the neat and even habit or the lovely fragrant flowers or just its clever name.  ‘Fried Green Tomatoes’ is not a hosta of the year, but it is the sport of one, ‘Guacamole’, the 2002 Hosta of the Year, and it is considered an exceptional cultivar.  It reaches 2′ high by 5′ wide with 11″ leaves.

leaf of Hosta ‘Great Expectations’

   ‘Great Expectations’ makes a gorgeous clump.

‘Great Expectations’ in a very shady area under a Japanese maple with ‘Emerald Tiara’ hosta.

Finally, a hosta that is not a hosta of the year (or a relative of one), but, as far as I’m concerned, it should be.  One of my favorites and a bestseller at my nursery, ‘Great Expectations’ forms a large but not overwhelming mound of heavily corrugated, creamy yellow-centered leaves with wide blue-green margins.  Its near white flowers in June and July are beautiful.  A mutation of ‘Elegans’, it reaches 2′ high by 4′ wide at maturity with 12″ leaves.


leaf of Hosta ‘Fragrant Bouquet’


‘Fragrant Bouquet’ makes a nice mound.

‘Fragrant Bouquet’ with yellow waxbells, leopard’s bane, and pulmonaria.

It is not surprising that ‘Fragrant Bouquet’ was the 1998 Hosta of the Year.  It is a very useful hosta in the shady landscape because of its overall light-colored leaves, which are pale chartreuse with creamy yellow edges—it looks great with yellow flowers.  I also love its fragrant blooms and manageable size.  At maturity it is supposed to reach 22″ high by 4′ wide with 10″ leaves but mine are not that big.



 leaf of Hosta ‘Blue Angel’


‘Blue Angel’ used as a specimen shrub with hellebores, hardy geranium, and old-fashioned bleeding-heart (see the photo at the very top too).

 

 ‘Blue Angel’ massed with ‘Blue Cadet’ and ‘Guacamole’ hostas and ‘Ghost’ fern  (see also the photo with ‘Striptease’).

‘Blue Angel’ is not a hosta of the year, but it would be the absolute top of the list of my choices.  Hostas of the year should be tried and true and the best in their class and that is what ‘Blue Angel’ is.  Do you hear me AHGA?  It is simply the premier large blue hosta in existence, excellent as a specimen and in masses with other hostas.  It is stunning in June and July when topped by its near white flowers and gorgeous throughout the fall with its heavily corrugated, substantial blue leaves.  At maturity, ‘Blue Angel’ reaches 32″ high by 70″ wide with 16″ leaves.


leaf of Hosta ‘First Frost’

‘First Frost’ in my rock garden

I will close with the 2010 Hosta of the Year ‘First Frost’.  When it comes out in the spring, the combination of the very blue leaves with the decidedly yellow and very wide margins is unusual and elegant.  The leaves have thick substance and turn dark green with a cream edge in summer.  ‘First Frost’ is also a “smaller” large hosta and easy to use in the landscape.  It is a sport of the wonderful ‘Halycon’.  At maturity, it reaches 14″ high by 3′ wide with 7″ leaves.

Carolyn

Nursery Happenings:  Our final open house sale of the spring will be a two-day event on Friday, June 1, from 10 am to 4 pm, and Saturday, June 2, from 10 am to 2 pm.  Customers on my email list should have received an email with details.  We are getting more woody plants so if you missed the deadline send me an email with your order.  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.

Facebook:  Carolyn’s Shade Gardens has a Facebook page where I post single photos, garden tips, and other information that doesn’t fit into a blog post.  You can look at my Facebook page here or click the Like button on my right sidebar here.

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.

Larger Hostas

Posted in container gardening, hosta, Shade Gardening, Shade Perennials with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 30, 2011 by Carolyn @ Carolyns Shade Gardens

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.

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Hosta Teeny-weeny Bikini' at Carolyn's Shade GardensHosta ‘Teeny-weeny Bikini’: I couldn’t resist including one more miniature.

In my recent article Miniature (& Small) Hostas, I explained my evolving relationship with hostas and how my collecting tendencies had led me to miniature hostas for space reasons.  I display these little treasures in special ways in containers, in my rock garden, or as groundcover in order to highlight their small stature.  However, for specimen plants and variety of leaf color, there is nothing like a larger hosta.  They come in an an infinite number of combinations of colors, heights, widths, leaf shapes, flowers, and habits.  There is a medium to large hosta for every garden condition, both as the star of the show and a lovely backdrop for your other perennials and shrubs.  In this article, I want to highlight some of my favorite larger hostas as well as some cultivars that are new to me.

Mature Hosta tokudama ‘Flavocircinalis

Leaf of mature ‘Flavocircinalis’

Before I get to the plants, however, I want to explain something that took me a while to figure out.  Larger leaf hostas do not look like themselves in a nursery pot because they take one to two years to mature and reach their full size and coloration.  Immature plants will have different shaped leaves, usually pointed, and will not display the intricate color patterns that you can expect on the plant in your garden.   Compare the photos of Hosta tokudama ‘Flavocircinalis’ above and below. That is why at Carolyn’s Shade Gardens, I always encourage customers to look at the mature hostas in the display gardens before making their choices.

Immature plant of ‘Flavocircinalis’

Immature leaf of ‘Flavocircinalis’

Here is a taste of some of my favorite and best-selling larger hostas.  You can view well established specimens of these cultivars in my display gardens:

Hosta ‘June’ was the American Hosta Growers Association 2001 Hosta of the Year with good reason and is the most popular hosta with my customers.

The beautiful leaf coloration of ‘June’.

‘First Frost’ is the 2010 Hosta of the Year.

The leaves of ‘First Frost’ emerge with bright yellow leaf margins, which age to cream (in photo above) and set off its very blue center.

‘Great Expectaions’ is my second biggest selling hosta and has one of the most beautiful habits of any large hosta.

The elegant leaf coloration of ‘Great Expectations’.

‘Earth Angel’ is the 2009 Hosta of the Year and is as large and glorious as its parent ‘Blue Angel’ but with a cream margin.

‘Earth Angel’ is the first giant blue hosta with a contrasting border.  The leaves can reach 18″ x 12″ and a specimen can be 5′ wide.

Hosta tokudama is my favorite of all species hostas and ‘Aureonebulosa’ is my favorite cultivar of the many tokudama offspring.

The cupped and heavily puckered texture of  ‘Aureonebulosa’ is typical of the tokudama group.

‘Fragrant Bouquet’ is the 1998 Hosta of the Year and has fragrant flowers.

‘Fragrant Bouquet’s’ light green leaves really stand out in the shade, and it retains its yellow margins all season.

When I visit hosta collections and displays, some plants always stand out.  I look for these plants in the trade to add to my own gardens and offer to my customers.  Here are some of the cultivars I was able to add this year:

‘Touch of Class’ is a close relative of ‘June’ but with a wide blue border enclosing a central gold stripe.  It has an excellent habit and great slug resistance.

‘Liberty’ is the Hosta of the Year for 2012.  You can see both the yellow coloration of its new leaves and the wide cream margins of its older leaves in the photo above.  For a great shot of its coloration, see both the header and wordless Wednesday photo at Pat and Jim’s Gardening Adventure.

‘Paradigm’ is the 2007 Hosta of the Year.  For a much better photo of its leaves and habit, check out these photos of all the Hostas of the Year, by clicking here.  The American Hosta Growers Association has only picked 17 hostas to be Hosta of the Year out of an estimated 6,000 hosta cultivars in the trade so this accolade is quite a meaningful honor.

‘Fragrant Queen’ is a fragrant hosta boasting very substantial rounded leaves with wide white margins.

I have coveted ‘Brother Stefan’ every time I have seen it.  For a much better photo, showing its coloration, texture, and habit, click here.

Just a few ideas for using larger hostas in your garden:

Left to right: ‘Flavocircinalis’, the species H. tokudama, and ‘June’ massed in front of a Japanese holly.

Left to right: ‘Frances Williams’, ‘Abiqua Drinking Gourd’, ‘Kabitan’, and ‘Earth Angel’.

‘Great Expectations’ displayed as a specimen with other hostas, ferns, epimediums, violets, and hardy geraniums.

A specimen ‘Fragrant Bouquet’ with yellow waxbells, hardy gernaium, and ‘Luxuriant’ bleeding-heart.

A simple but elegant container planting at Duke Gardens in Durham, North Carolina.

A rare Hosta tokudama by itself in a container on my front porch.

Colorful foliage is a fun and essential part of the shade garden.  I hope I have introduced you to some new and intriguing larger hostas that you can add to your shade.

Carolyn

For two more articles on hostas, click here:

Miniature (& Small) Hostas

Hostas for Fall

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

When I want information about hostas, I go to the Hosta Library and My Hosta Database to find photos and comprehensive written descriptions.  I have added both these sites to my sidebar under Plant Information so you will always be able to find them.

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