Archive for Hosta ‘Mighty Mouse’

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.

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2016 Mouse Ears Hosta Update

Posted in container gardening, containers for shade, hosta, miniature hosta, New Plants with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 5, 2016 by Carolyn @ Carolyns Shade Gardens

Hosta 'Blue Mouse Ears' 6-21-2015 1-44-28 PM

‘Blue Mouse Ears’, the 2008 Hosta of the Year, is the mouse ears hosta that started it all, shown here with its adorable, well-proportioned flowers.

It is mini hosta time at Carolyn’s Shade Garden where mouse ears hostas are definitely the customer favorite.  What’s not to love?  Whether you go for the clever mouse-themed names, the round and rubbery, slug resistant leaves, the useful mini to small size, the perfectly symmetrical, elegant habit, the large variety of beautiful leaf colors, the pixie-like, proportionate flowers, or their general gardenworthiness, you can’t go wrong with mouse ears.

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 'Blue Mouse Ears'

‘Blue Mouse Ears’

You can read more about mouse ears hostas and minis in general in these posts:

Top 5 Favorite Little Hostas

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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Hosta 'Mini Skirt'

‘Mini Skirt’ is one of the newer mouse ears with a lovely flounce to the leaves.

I thought I would show you some new photos of the mouse ears I am offering this year and introduce two new mouse ears for 2017.  Although ‘Frosted Mouse Ears’ and ‘Sunny Mouse Ears’ are in the 2016 mail order catalogue, they are already sold out so I won’t tempt you with their photos.

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.Hosta 'Green Mouse Ears'

‘Green Mouse Ears’, a favorite of mine, is the tiniest of the group.

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Hosta 'Pure Heart'
‘Pure Heart’ makes a pair with ‘Mighty Mouse’ as it was named after Pearl Pureheart, Mighty Mouse’s girlfriend.
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Hosta 'Mouse Cheese'

‘Mouse Cheese’ is one of the gold-leafed mouse ears—it comes out chartreuse and turns gold over the spring season.

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Hosta 'Church Mouse'

‘Church Mouse’ has the most interesting leaves.  The center is smooth and blue-green, while the edges are ruffled and gold-green.

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Hosta 'Mighty Mouse'

‘Mighty Mouse’ in the spring and summer.

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Hosta 'Mighty Mouse'

This is a photo of ‘Mighty Mouse’ in the fall.

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Hosta 'Holy Mouse Ears'

‘Holy Mouse Ears’ is another tiny cultivar with beautiful colors.

Two new cultivars are joining the mouse ears clan in 2017.  They look stunning, and I already have them on order to sell in spring 2017:

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Hosta 'Sun Mouse' Walters

‘Sun Mouse’ has nicely shaped round leaves and brilliant gold color.

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Hosta 'School Mouse' Walters

‘School Mouse’ resembles its parent ‘Church Mouse’ but with a wide, gold, ruffled edge and blue-green center.

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The Mouse Ears Family continues to grow, but there is always room in my garden for these wonderful little hostas.

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.

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 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.

The Mice Have Multiplied Again

Posted in container gardening, containers for shade, hosta, miniature hosta with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 20, 2015 by Carolyn @ Carolyns Shade Gardens

Mouse Ears CollectionMy Mouse Ears Hosta collection in pots, back row left to right: ‘Mighty Mouse’, ‘Mini Skirt’, ‘Mouse Cheese’, ‘Lucky Mouse’, front row left to right: ‘Green Mouse Ears’, ‘Pure Heart’, ‘Desert Mouse’, ‘Funny Mouse’.

Our 2016 Miniature Hosta Catalogue is now on line, click here.  It lists all the wonderful little hostas that are available for pick up at the nursery and by mail.  Local customers are encouraged to pre-order.

I love Mouse Ears miniature and small hostas.  I like them because they are cute, they have a look all their own, they have adorable names, their colors are beautiful, I would actually grow them for their flowers, and their thick leaves give them a unique presence and repel slugs.  There are two new Mouse Ears this year: ‘Mini Skirt’ and ‘Pure Heart’, but I am also including photos of other members of this captivating family of hostas.

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 'Mini Skirt'Newly introduced ‘Mini Skirt’ has the same variegation as ‘Mighty Mouse’ but with heavily ruffled leaves—stunning and already a customer favorite!

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Hosta 'Pure Heart'Newly introduced ‘Pure Heart’  has the reverse variegation of ‘Mighty Mouse’.  This tiny Mouse Ears hosta is named after Pearl Pureheart, Mighty Mouse’s cartoon girlfriend.

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Hosta 'Mighty Mouse'‘Mighty Mouse’ is still one of the best Mouse Ears both in the ground and in a pot.

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Hosta 'Mighty Mouse'‘Mighty Mouse’ in my miniature hosta rock garden.  I hope you can stop by this weekend and see all the minis growing there.

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Hosta 'Blue Mouse Ears'‘Blue Mouse Ears’  started it all and is still the best of the bunch if you are just getting into Mouse Ears.  It is much larger than the other Mouse Ears and is not considered a mini 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.

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Hosta 'Blue Mouse Ears'Another photo of  ‘Blue Mouse Ears’  highlighting the silver edging on the almost perfectly round leaves.

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Hosta 'Mouse Cheese'‘Mouse Cheese’ has the look of ‘Blue Mouse Ears’ with thick round leaves and lovely proportionate flowers but starts out chartreuse and turns more and more gold throughout the season.

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Hosta 'Green Mouse Ears'‘Green Mouse Ears’ has really taken off this year in a pot.  Always one of my favorites because of its ultra thick leaves, its bright green color is a nice contrast to the other Mouse Ears.

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Hosta 'Holy Mouse Ears'‘Holy Mouse Ears’ is slow growing but remains one of my favorites.

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Hosta 'Sunny Mouse Ears'Like ‘Mouse Cheese’, ‘Sunny Mouse Ears’ changes from chartruese to gold over the course of the season, but it has rounder, tinier leaves.

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That’s it for my Mouse Ears update.  If you would like to read more about little hostas, click on any of the following links:

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 2014 Miniature Hosta Availability for mail order and pick up at the nursery is here.   Our next open hours are Saturday, May 31, from 10 am to 2 pm.  Our final big spring sale, featuring miniature hostas and summer and fall blooming shade plants is Saturday, June 7, 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 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.

September 2013 GBBD

Posted in Fall, Fall Color, Garden Blogger's Bloom Day, groundcover, hosta, my garden, native plants, Shade Perennials with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 14, 2013 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.

Begonia grandis & Hosta 'Paul's Glory'Hardy begonias and ‘Paradise Joyce’ hosta

I have been very busy getting the nursery ready for the fall season but took a few hours off to get this Garden Blogger’s Bloom Day post done.  First though, I want to tell you what is in the fall line up.   Our fourth annual Double Hellebore Offer is underway.  To look at the brochure, click here.  These hellebores are the biggest doubles we have ever sold, and they are almost guaranteed to bloom this spring because they bloomed last spring.  If you want to see them in person, they are here right now and ready to go, so make an appointment or come during our open hours tomorrow, Sunday, September 15, from 1 to 3 pm.

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Begonia grandisHardy begonias are the ideal fall plant—they come up late and look pristine when they bloom from September through the first frost.

Our fall season started today, September 14, when we opened for a few hours so customers eager to start planting could shop.  Thanks to everyone who came by.  We will be open again tomorrow from 1 pm to 3 pm.   The first full-fledged open house sale is scheduled for Septmebr 28, and cyclamen breeder John Lonsdale will be making a guest appearance with his gorgeous hardy cyclamen.  He will have selected forms of Cyclamen hederifolium plus many other rare species.  Customers will get an email with all the details.  If you want to come before September 28, just send me an email with your preferred day and time.

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Begonia grandis 'Alba'white hardy begonia

I am currently putting together a Shrub, Tree, and Vine Offer with woody plants suitable for all your shady areas.  Look for an email this week if you are on my customer email list.  Finally, my husband Michael will be holding three sessions of his well-attended Low Maintenance Gardening Seminars.  They are tentatively scheduled for September 27, 29, and 30, but all the details will arrive by email shortly.  That’s all the business for now so on to the post….

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Begonia grandis 'Alba' & Hosta 'Striptease'My back hill is filled with large patches of hostas, and I use hardy begonias to fill in between them and even to cover up plants that are worn out by fall.

It is the middle of the month and time to participate in Garden Blogger’s Bloom Day (GBBD) hosted by May Dreams Gardens (link available on the 15th of the month) where gardeners from all over the world publish photos each month of what’s blooming in their gardens.  I participate because it is fun and educational for me to identify what plants make my gardens shine at different times of the year.  I encourage all gardeners, but especially my customers, to expand their floral display beyond spring so that their gardens delight them with flowers whenever they go outside.

My garden is located in Bryn Mawr (outside Philadelphia), Pennsylvania, U.S., in zone 6B.

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Begonia grandis 'Alba'hardy begonias

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Anemone x hybridaAnother fall star is Japanese anemone, which blooms from August into October depending on the variety.  The taller cultivars look beautiful draped over shorter plants, here hybrid hellebores.  However, shorter and more upright types have been introduced lately, look for the Pretty Lady series and ‘Pink Saucers’, both available at Carolyn’s Shade Gardens.

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Anemone x 'September Charm'‘September Charm’ Japanese anemone

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Anemone x 'Pamina'My favorite, ‘Pamina’ Japanese anemone

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Hosta 'Honeybells'I generally do not grow hostas for their flowers, but I make an exception for the highly fragrant varieties like ‘Guacamole’.  This photo shows ‘Honeybells’ towering over my miniature hosta rock garden.

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Hosta 'Stained Glass'Another hosta with deliciously fragrant flowers is ‘Stained Glass’, the 2006 Hosta of the Year.

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Hosta 'Stained Glass'‘Stained Glass’ is one of my favorite hostas—how many of your hostas look like this by fall?

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Hosta 'Mighty Mouse'Another hosta that comes through summer in pristine condition is the adorable miniature ‘Mighty Mouse’.

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Phlox paniculata & Spiraea 'Magic Carpet'It wouldn’t be fall without garden phlox.  I let this highly fragrant native plant self sow throughout my gardens and it is usually covered with butterflies.

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Phlox paniculata 'Starfire'The more modern garden phlox cultivars are mildew resistant and come in vibrant colors like ‘Starfire’ in this photo.

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Phlox paniculata 'Nicky' & Heuchera villosa 'Citronelle'‘Nicky’ garden phlox with ‘Citronelle’ coralbells

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Heuchera villosa 'Berry Smoothie'Customers have been raving about ‘Berry Smoothie’ coralbells for the last couple of years so I finally planted it in my garden—gorgeous.

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Ceratostigma plubaginoides & Hypericum 'Briggadoon'Two of my favorite colors, yellow and blue, come together through the side-by-side pairing of ‘Brigadoon’ St. John’s wort and plumbago (also called autumn leadwort), both excellent groundcovers.

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Polystichum polyblepharumTassel fern makes such an elegant specimen with its circular habit and shiny evergreen leaves.

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Cyclamen hederifoliumIt wouldn’t be September without fall-blooming hardy cyclamen.  The flowers start blooming in August (and last into October) and are followed by the beautifully patterned leaves which last until the next June.

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Cyclamen hederifolium 'Alba'white fall-blooming hardy cyclamen

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Ajuga 'Black Scallop'‘Black Scallop’ ajuga is the only one I sell because it is so superior.  It produces a solid weed-choking mat of very shiny, semi-evergreen leaves topped by lovely blue flowers.

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Rudbeckia speciesThis late-blooming black-eyed Susan species, Rudbeckia triloba (thanks Heide) self sows like mad, but I wouldn’t give up the beautiful display.

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Hakonechloa macra 'Aureola'‘Aureola’ Japanese hakone grass is beautiful all year.

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Pennisetum 'Moudry'Black fountain grass comes into its glory in the fall.  Yes, I know it can spread, but I have had it for 15 years and it hasn’t gone anywhere that I didn’t want to leave it.  Gardeners with smaller areas or less tolerance for the natural look should beware.

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Chelone lyoniiAnother favorite native, pink turtlehead, peaks in my garden in September.

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Tricyrtis 'Sinonome'A glimpse of what’s to come in October, the first flower opens on my ‘Sinonome’ toad-lily.

Almost all of these plants are available for sale at Carolyn’s Shade Gardens so, if you are in the area, I hope you will stop by.  If not, you now have a lot of ideas for your fall shade garden.

Carolyn

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Carolyn’s Shade Gardens is a retail nursery located in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania, U.S., zone 6b. 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.

Nursery Happenings: Carolyn’s Shade Gardens will be open Sunday, September 15, from 1 to 3 pm, and for a full-fledged open house sale on Saturday, September 28, from 10 am to 3 pm.  We are currently offering double hellebores, both by pre-order and at the nursery.  For details, click here.   Now that it’s cool, we are also shipping miniature hostas again.  For details, click here.  Low maintenance seminars and a chance to order shrubs and vines are in the works.

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.

I LOVE Mice

Posted in container gardening, containers for shade, hosta, miniature hosta, Shade Gardening, Shade Perennials with tags , , , , , , , , , on April 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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'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.

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‘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).

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.

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 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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