Archive for Hosta ‘Little Sunspot’

Beyond Mice

Posted in container gardening, containers for shade, hosta, miniature hosta, Shade Gardening, Shade Perennials with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 3, 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 'Crumb Cake'I have used this photo of hosta ‘Crumb Cake’ emerging in spring before, but to me it epitomizes the beauty of a miniature hosta in a container.

My nursery specializes in miniature hostas, and I have over 25 varieties available right now, both at the nursery and mail order.  My 2011 post Miniature (& Small) Hostas gives an overview of little hostas and how to use them in the garden.  In my most recent post, I LOVE Mice, I raved about the mouse ears series of hostas.  But there are many desirable miniature hostas “beyond mice” so I thought I would highlight some special favorites.

 

‘Cracker Crumbs’ is pictured here in my dish garden (full photo below) surrounded by a tiny gray-blue sedum.  It is a miniature hosta 5” tall by 19” wide with leaves 2 1/2” long by 1 1/2” wide.  ‘Cracker Crumbs’ has shiny gold leaves with a bright green wavy margin and pale purple flowers in July.  It quickly forms a dense and rounded mound and makes a great trough or rock garden plant.


‘Itsy Bitsy Spider’ is also pictured in my dish garden (full photo below) with the same sedum and some hens and chickens.  It is a miniature hosta 2 ½” tall by 6” wide with leaves 1 ¾” long by 1 1/4″ wide.  ‘Itsy Bitsy Spider’ has narrow leaves with thick substance and a distinct blue-gray color, and pale lavender flowers in July.  It forms a tight low mound.  This adorable and rare plant is the smallest hosta in my collection.


‘Pixie Vamp’ in my rock garden—what a great name!

‘Pixie Vamp’ is pictured here in a container with violas.  It is a miniature hosta 7” tall by 16” wide with leaves 3 ½” long by 2 ½” wide.  ‘Pixie Vamp’ has bright green heart-shaped leaves bordered by gold in the spring changing to creamy white.  Its gorgeous mahogany colored stems hold purple flowers in July.  It is excellent in containers.


The very unusual hosta ‘Crumb Cake’ in my rock garden.


‘Crumb Cake’ is pictured here fully emerged in the same container featured in the first photo in this post.  It is a miniature hosta 5” high by 14” wide with leaves 3” long by 3” wide.  ‘Crumb Cake’ is a recent introduction with very bright honey-gold leaves, which are round with wavy margins.  It is a very unusual looking hosta forming a flat, dense, brightly colored mound.  It has elegant mahogany-colored leaf and flower stems and lavender flowers in July.  It makes an excellent container plant.


‘Alakazaam’ in my rock garden.


‘Alakazaam’ is pictured here in a container made for me by my son.  It is a miniature hosta 5″ tall by 10″ wide with leaves 6 1/2″ long and 3/4″ wide.  ‘Alakazaam’ has bright green leaves with gold ruffled margins changing to creamy white, and lavender flowers in late summer.  Its unusual spiky habit makes it stand out from the crowd no matter where you place it.


‘Surfer Girl’ is pictured here in my rock garden.  It is a miniature hosta 6” tall by 18” wide with leaves 2” long by 1” wide.  ‘Surfer Girl’ has dark green, sharply pointed, deeply rippled leaves reminiscent of ocean waves, and purple flowers in July.  It creeps to fill in a wide area and is excellent for edging the front of a border.  I use it in containers to contrast with gold-leafed minis.


‘Little Sunspot’ in my rock garden. 

‘Little Sunspot’ is pictured here in my strawberry pot.  It is a small hosta 12″ tall by 12″ wide with leaves 3″ long and 2″ wide.  It has sharply contrasting variegated gold leaves with a wide  dark green margin and purple-striped white flowers in summer.  ‘Little Sunspot’ is great for a rock garden, border, or a container.


‘Twist of Lime’ in my rock garden.

‘Twist of Lime’ is pictured here massed in front of epimediums.  It is a miniature hosta 6” tall by 10” wide with leaves 3” long by 1” wide.  ‘Twist of Lime’ has bright gold leaves with a narrow, dark blue-green wavy margin and many deep violet-striped flowers in July.  It has a beautiful upright habit and is a very fast grower—a favorite of my customers.

‘Praying Hands’ is pictured here in a container with violas and dwarf Solomon’s seal.  It is a small hosta 16″ tall by 30″ wide with leaves 7″ long and 2″ wide.  ‘Praying Hands’ has waxy and prominently ridged dark emerald green leaves with a narrow gold edge.  It is the most unusual hosta on the market with its folded leaves and vertical, twisty habit reminiscent of a pitcher plant.  It thrives in containers with my plant doubling in size each year.  ‘Praying Hands’ received the prestigious Hosta of the Year Award in 2011.

‘Praying Hands’ provides a vertical accent in my dish garden with miniature hostas ‘Shiny Penny’, ‘Itsy Bitsy Spider’, ‘Cracker Crumbs’, and ‘Shining Tot’ and various companion plants.

Miniature hostas are so much fun.  My next post will be on my new miniature hosta rock garden and feature companion plants to use in containers with your little hostas.

Carolyn

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.

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Hostas for Fall

Posted in Fall, Fall Color, hosta, landscape design with tags , , , , , , , on October 17, 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 'Remember Me'Hosta ‘Remember Me’ looks absolutely spectacular in the fall when its colors deepen and its pristine leaves shine.  All photos were taken at Carolyn’s Shade Gardens this fall.  Click any photo to enlarge.

In my last two articles, A Few Fall Favorites for Foliage and Fruit and A Few Fall Favorites for Flowers, I explained that, inspired by an article about dressing up your fall garden with mums because everything else is finished, I grabbed my camera and headed outside to prove them wrong.  There was so much going on that I divided the plants into three posts: foliage and fruit, flowers, and hostas.  This is part three highlighting hostas.

When you choose a hosta for your garden, I am guessing you are not going for this look in fall.

One reason I started what I like to call my free, on line, shade gardening magazine (AKA blog) was to force myself to document my gardening knowledge in photographs and print.  This article is a perfect example.  Every fall I walk around my gardens saying: “I really should photograph the hostas that still look good in the fall,” but I never do it.  This information is very important when choosing hostas especially if you have a small garden and can’t afford to allocate space to a plant that provides no ornamental value for one third of the season like the specimens in the photo above.  So, for the record, here are some of the hostas dressing up my shady gardens right now:

I don’t expect my hostas to look perfect in the fall, although some do.  Even though ‘Frances Williams’ is slightly tattered, its bold colors and stately habit make it a winner in my fall garden.

There is another very important point I would like to make about hostas.  New is not the equivalent of better or even good.  Gardeners will often remark about a hosta like ‘Frances Williams’, which was first registered in 1986, that it is an old hosta with the implication that we should have all moved on by now.  If I had to, I would gladly trade in many of my newer hostas for a plant as unique in habit, leaf shape, and color as ‘Frances Williams’ (even with its tendency to brown slightly at the edges).  The breeders have yet to come up with a new hosta this beautiful and tough.


Like all blue-leaved hostas, Hosta ‘Blue Umbrellas’ turns greener in the fall, but who cares when it looks like this?

Thanks to my commenter Louise Thompson for mentioning slug resistance.  One of the primary reasons that these hostas look so good in the fall is that they are resistant to slugs.  Most of them tend to have thicker leaves that just hold up better to whatever nature throws at them.  Please read my reply to Louise for information about controlling slugs.  I don’t do anything to control slugs except plant resistant hostas. 

Talk about perfect, Hosta ‘Paradise Joyce’.

Hosta ‘El Nino’ in my silver and blue garden.  If you want to see what it looks like in June, click here.

Hosta ‘Stained Glass’, which was the Hosta of the Year for 2006, just glows in the fall.  One way to choose really good hostas is to select cultivars chosen as hosta of the year by the American Hosta Growers Association.  There are over 6,000 (some say 10,000) hosta cultivars out there, and only 17 have received this honor.  I grow 13 of the winners, and they certainly deserved to be chosen.  To see all the winners, click here.

Another “old” hosta, ‘Blue Angel’ was registered in 1986 and, in my opinion, is the best large blue cultivar–outstanding habit, leaves, and white flowers.  It is the parent of ‘Earth Angel’, the 2009 Hosta of the Year.

The long-lasting gold leaves of Hosta ‘Sum and Substance’, the 2004 Hosta of the Year, can reach 2 feet across while the clump can exceed 6 feet in width.

Hosta ‘June’ was the 2001 Hosta of the Year and is the favorite hosta of my nursery customers.  ‘Remember Me’ in the top photo is one of its “children”.

Hosta ‘Halcyon’ registered in 1988, is a beautiful medium-sized blue hosta (aging to green in the fall), but it is also important as the parent of ‘June’, ‘El Nino’, and ‘Paradise Joyce’, among other wonderful cultivars.

Most gold-leaved hostas turn green in the fall, but not ‘Jimmy Crack Corn’.

Hosta ‘Praying Hands’, the 2011 Hosta of the Year, will stay outside in this ceramic container all winter.  I find that ‘Praying Hands’ multiplies much faster in a container than in the ground.


Hosta ‘Paul’s Glory’, the 1999 Hosta of the Year, also looks best in the fall when its bright colors light up the shade.

Hosta ‘Inniswood’ is a 1993 gold-leafed introduction that puts many newer cultivars to shame.

There are many more medium and large hostas that I could have featured as ornamental in the fall including my favorite, Hosta tokudama and all its cultivars.  For more information on larger hostas and how to use them, click here.

Now for some fall stars among the miniatures, my current hosta passion.  For more information on miniature hostas and how to incorporate them into your garden, click here.

If you have read my article on Miniature Hostas, you know I am a sucker for the Mouse Ears series, here Hosta ‘Mighty Mouse’.

Hosta ‘Blue Mouse Ears’ is the 2008 Hosta of the Year.

Hosta ‘Little Sunspot’ is growing in one of the 16 pouches in my strawberry jar.  One look at this collection will show you that all miniatures are not created equal in terms of their fall appearance.

All my hosta containers, including this pot of Hosta ‘Pixie Vamp’, will stay out all winter.

Like all plants, hostas should be chosen to provide ornamental value from the time they come up in the spring until frost.  You can choose any of the hostas above for your garden and be confident of a long season of interest.

Carolyn

This is the third article I have written on hostas.  The first two are:

Miniature (& Small) Hostas

Larger Hostas

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.

Nursery Happenings: The nursery is closed for the year.  Look for the snowdrop catalogue (snowdrops are available mail order) in January 2012 and an exciting new hellebore offering in February 2012.  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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