The 2013 Miniature Hosta Mail Order Catalogue, containing choice selections of miniatures for shipping all over the US, is now on my right sidebar here, and we are ready to ship.
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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org. 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.