Archive for Hosta Appletini

Fun with Mini Hostas in Containers

Posted in container gardening, containers for shade, hosta, How to, miniature hosta, my garden, New Plants with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 18, 2017 by Carolyn @ Carolyns Shade Gardens

You can use all sorts of fun containers to house your mini hostas.  Here ‘Lakeside Cupcake’ and ‘Teaspoon’ (back row) and ‘Sun Mouse’ and ‘Munchkin Fire’ (front row) join mini hosta companion plants dwarf Solomon’s seal, European ginger, and dwarf lady fern in an old toolbox.

In May 2011, I wrote my fourth most popular post called Miniature (& Small) Hostas.  In it I introduced a number of mini hostas and showed how to use them in the ground and in containers.  To read it, click here.  In this post, I continue the container theme with some new pots and some new plants in the old pots.

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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‘Twist of Lime’ in a flea market metal milk pitcher.

Whether you use a smaller container with a single plant like ‘Twist of Lime’ above or a collection of plants like those featured in the toolbox at the top, there are some important rules to follow.  First you must provide adequate drainage.  We drill holes in the bottom of our containers and then cover them with pieces of broken terra cotta pots so they don’t get clogged.  A layer of broken terra cotta in the bottom is even better.

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‘Curly Fries’ continues to live in its re-purposed oil can.  It would be bigger and fuller in the ground, but I think it is perfect for this container.

Second, if you intend to leave the containers outside for the winter, which is what I do, they must be made of a material that can withstand freezing like stone, metal, concrete, plastic, or high quality glazed ceramic.  The plants in the container must also be able to withstand freezing, which hostas and all the companion plants I use are able to do.  I store the large containers in place and move the small ones to a protected area and cover them with pine needles.

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Two small hostas with contrasting habits make good container companions, here ‘Stiletto’ and ‘Blue Mouse Ears’.

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Dwarf Solomon’s seal thrives in containers with hostas, filling in nicely.  This container has been going strong for six years.

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A small trough with a selection of rock garden plants and featuring ‘Pandora’s Box’ hosta (lower left corner) wintered over perfectly on the wall by my front steps.

Third, the container must be filled with a potting medium that drains well.  Thanks to Janet Novak (who created this container) of the Delaware Valley Chapter of the North American Rock Garden Society (DVC-NARGS), I use a mix of one third ProMix, one third vermiculite, and one third small gravel like coarse builders sand or turkey grit.  The DVC-NARGS is a great organization with wonderful speakers and events.  If you are local you should consider joining, click here

Those are the basics: now it is up to you to fill the pots.  Here are some ideas from my containers:

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A close up view of my toolbox, showing the contrasting textures, colors, and habits of the hostas, ginger, Solomon’s seal, and fern.

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This is a view of the top of my glazed strawberry pot filled with 17 different mini hostas.

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I have had this dish garden in full shade along my front steps for years.  It features the bright gold of ‘Appletini’ and ‘Cracker Crumbs’ mini hostas, among others, and ‘Purple Form’ and ‘Tricolor’ sedum along with European ginger, which adds great shiny, round texture.

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This antique stone trough filled with Mouse Ears hostas, my personal favorites, has been going for years too.  This end holds ‘Holy Mouse Ears’, ‘Green Mouse Ears’, and ‘Blue Mouse Ears’, among others.

A view of the other end of the Mouse Ears trough, featuring clockwise from upper left: dwarf Solomon’s seal, ‘Blue Mouse Ears’, dwarf lady fern, ‘Sunny Mouse Ears’, ‘Mighty Mouse’, ‘Voodoo’ purple sedum, and ‘Frosted Mouse Ears’.

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There will be hand-carved, antique, solid stone troughs for sale on Saturday at the open house for you to use to create you own containers filled with a colorful collection of minis and companions.  Four are available, first come, first served!

I hope you can stop by on Saturday between 10 am and 3 pm and see all my mini hostas containers in my garden. They are a lot of fun!

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.

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Top 5 Favorite Little Hostas

Posted in container gardening, containers for shade, hosta, miniature hosta with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 27, 2015 by Carolyn @ Carolyns Shade Gardens

Hosta 'Sparkler'‘Sparkler’ might make it to my favorite minis list because of its beautiful colors and unusual habit, but I am not sure it meets the American Hosta Society’s definition of miniature.  Available at Carolyn’s Shade Gardens (CSG).

With the latest issue of its journal, the American Hosta Society sent its members a form asking them to vote for their 10 favorite “regular” hostas and 5 favorite minis.  In my post Top 10 Favorite Larger Hostas,  I showed photos of some of my favorites.  Click here to read it.   If you are curious, here are my final picks:

1. Blue Mouse Ears
2. Blue Angel
3. Sagae
4. Eye Declare
5. El Nino
6. Crumb Cake
7. Paradise Joyce
8. Praying Hands
9. H. nigrescens
10. Stained Glass

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 'Little Treasure'‘Little Treasure’ may also be too big to be a mini but would be on my top 10 little hostas list because of its amazing blue color and lovely presentaion.  Available at CSG.

When my husband saw my post and my list, he commented that there was a lesson to be learned from it: if you see a hosta you like, buy it because it probably won’t be available next year. There are so many new hostas being introduced every year that many great cultivars are no longer sold.  Of my top 10 larger hostas, I was only able to sell 4 this year.  That’s why for this post I have once again indicated which little hostas are currently available at Carolyn’s Shade Gardens.

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Hosta 'Moon Shadow'‘Moon Shadow’ may also be too big to get a vote, but I love its colors.  Available at CSG.

So what is the definition of a miniature hosta?  The American Hosta Society defines miniature hostas by their leaf size.  The leaf blade area, length x width, can be no greater than 6 square inches.  Clump spread is irrelevant.  That is why ‘Blue Mouse Ears’ heads my larger hosta list: its leaves are too big to qualify as a mini.  Here are a few more that are on my favorite little hostas list but don’t make it to the final five:

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Hosta 'Appletini'‘Appletini’, definitely a “little” and not a mini, has breathtaking spring color and shiny gold leaves through the season.  Available at CSG in 2016.

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Hosta 'Baby Bunting'‘Baby Bunting’s’ leaves look huge here, but they are tiny, cute, and blue in my miniature hosta rock garden.  Available at CSG.

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Hosta 'Stiletto'‘Stiletto’s’ long, narrow leaves with wavy edges also make it stand out.  Available at CSG.

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Hosta 'Faithful Heart'‘Faithful Heart’  has such an unusual look.  The smooth leaves come out solid gold and gradually develop a distinct green edge over the course of at least a month—very fun.  Shown here in my strawberry pot.  Available at CSG.

Now for the final five—the hostas that got my vote in the American Hosta Society poll for favorite minis:

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Hosta 'Twist of Lime'At number five, ‘Twist of Lime’  makes my list because its leaves are beautiful, it is very easy to grow, and it spreads nicely to make a lovely groundcover.  Available at CSG.

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Hosta 'Pixie Vamp'At number four, ‘Pixie Vamp’ has everything going for it: great colors, elegant habit, adorable name, and look at those dark mahogany flower stems—a real standout.  Unfortunately no longer available but I am searching.

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Hosta 'Dragon Tails'

The photo says it all about number three ‘Dragon Tails’.  Wouldn’t a dragon have a tail like that?  Absolutely adorable!  Available at CSG in 2016.

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Hosta 'Mighty Mouse'

You could have predicted that a Mouse Ears hosta would be in my top five.  I have chosen ‘Mighty Mouse’ because it is readily available, grows well in pots and the ground, has a really cute name, and epitomizes the Mouse Ears form.  Available at CSG.

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Hosta 'Cracker Crumbs'I could have chosen so many minis to be in my top five and all the finalists could be number one.  It’s like being asked to pick your favorite child.  However, I ended the agonizing and picked ‘Cracker Crumbs’ as number one.  Its shiny gold leaves with blue-green edges are beautiful, it has a great look both as a specimen and as a groundcover, it’s easy to grow, and it is readily available “in the trade”.  None of the other four combine all these characteristics.  Available at CSG.

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I hope you have enjoyed my little hosta roundup.  If you would like to read more about little hostas, click on any of the following links:

The Mice Have Multiplied Again

New Miniature and Small Hostas for 2014, Part 2

New Miniature and Small Hostas for 2014, Part 1

New Mice for 2014

2013 New Miniature and Small Hostas

Miniature (& Small) Hostas

I LOVE Mice

Beyond Mice

Hostas Containers and Companions

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Carolyn

Nursery Happenings: The 2015 Miniature Hosta Availability for mail order and pick up at the nursery is here.   Our final big spring sale, featuring miniature hostas and summer and fall blooming shade plants is Saturday, May 30, from 10 am to 3 pm.  Customers on our list have gotten an email with all the details.  You can sign up to receive emails by sending your full name and phone number to carolynsshadegardens@verizon.net.

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.

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