Archive for Hosta ‘Paradigm’

The Garden Tourist

Posted in bulbs for shade, garden to visit, hosta, landscape design, my garden, native plants, Shade Gardening, Shade Perennials with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 8, 2019 by Carolyn @ Carolyns Shade Gardens

The cover of The Garden Tourist by Jana Milbocker features the teacup garden at Chanticleer in Wayne, Pennsylvania, which is 10 minutes from our nursery.  Many of our out-of-state visitors tour Chanticleer and shop at our nursery on the same day.

Carolyn’s Shade Gardens has been selected as one of the 120 must visit destination gardens and nurseries in the Northeast United States in the wonderful guidebook The Garden Tourist by Jana Milbocker.  This book is a great resource for those of us who love to visit gardens as it covers Maine through Pennsylvania with detailed information on each entry, including photos, suggested daily itineraries, and nearby restaurants.  You can purchase The Garden Tourist on Amazon here, or at Valley Forge Flowers in Wayne, Pennsylvania, if you are local. 

I have visited, photographed, and written about many of the destinations included in the book, so, from personal experience, I can say that they are well-chosen.  As a sample, here are the featured Pennsylvania gardens and nurseries:  Ambler Arboretum, Bartram’s Garden, Carolyn’s Shade Gardens, Chanticleer, Highlands Mansion & Garden, Hortulus Farm Garden & Nursery, Longwood Gardens, Meadowbrook Farm, Shofuso Japanese Garden, Scott Arboretum, Terrain, and Wyck Garden.

Nursery News:  We are accepting orders for hostas from our 2019 Hosta Catalogue through June 15, 2019.  To access the catalogue, click here.    If you are interested, just email a list of the hostas you want and a couple of suggested pick up dates and times to carolyn@carolynsshadegardens.com.

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 to US customers only.  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.

 

The Carolyn’s Shade Gardens page from The Garden Tourist.

We are so honored to be included in this wonderful garden resource.  Many of our customers have already purchased it and are looking forward to putting it to use.  One longtime customer even brought his copy over so I could autograph the Carolyn’s Shade Gardens page!  I thought it would be fun to give my readers, especially my international followers, a more in depth photographic tour of Carolyn’s Shade Gardens.  The photographs used in this post were taken from 2010 to 2019.  Enjoy!

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Stone stairs lead from the nursery area, past the original entrance to the two-room gardener’s cottage that is now our home, to the Main Terrace.  All the areas of our garden have names, which I will capitalize.  That way my husband Michael and I can communicate about garden maintenance.  During our last open house, visitors were overheard referring to “the team of workers who [must] take care of the gardens.”  We are still laughing and wondering when our team will arrive!  Michael does most of the maintenance, and I help when I can.  5/7/2012

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On the way down the stairs, you pass the entrance to the Main Rock Garden.  It is mostly a winter garden filled with snowdrops, snowflakes, hardy cyclamen, winter aconite, and other early bulbs.  4/25/2016

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The Main Terrace outside the front door in early spring.  4/15/2012

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The Main Terrace a month later.  5/15/2015

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Michael’s pride and joy and a major feature of the Main Terrace is our gorgeous wisteria.  Plein Air painters come to capture it on canvas every year.  4/29/2011

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One of my favorite color combinations on the Main Terrace: ‘Magic Carpet’ spiraea, ‘Gold Heart’ bleeding-heart, and Spanish bluebells emerging from a silver-variegated ornamental grass.  4/15/2012

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We call the lowest of our three terraces the Orange and Purple Garden.  Here ‘Paliban’ lilac blooms over a collection of small hostas with orange geum in the foreground.  5/10/2015

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The Orange and Purple Garden features a grass oval surrounded by stepping stones inter-planted with sedums, geums, thyme, moss phlox and other low plants.  5/8/2011

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The Orange and Purple Garden in fall when our coral bark maple ‘Sango-kaku’ is the star of the show.  11/2/2013

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in front of the terraces in the lawn area is a very old American hornbeam with lots of surface roots and a dense canopy requiring plants that can handle full dry shade.  The Hornbeam Garden features Japanese woodland primroses (in flower above), Athyrium-type ferns (Japanese painted, lady, and ‘Ghost’ ferns), hellebores, cardamine, golden groundsel, and pulmonarias, among other plants.  4/15/2012

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The Chain Link Strip Garden (don’t ask) along the right boundary of our property is a great place to grow hostas because all the water from the driveway drains through here—hostas love water.  Blue-leafed ‘Neptune’ is on the left, and 2007 Hosta of the Year ‘Paradigm’ is on the right behind a native Carolina allspice.  ‘Paradigm’ measures 60″ wide.  6/7/2019

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Native ‘Golden Shadows’ pagoda dogwood is dwarfed by this ‘Great Expectations’ hosta in the Chain Link Strip Garden.  Hosta experts tell me it is the biggest specimen they have ever seen at 52″ wide.  6/7/2019

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All the way at the bottom of the yard where it is actually consistently moist are our Production Beds where we grow shade plants to sell at Carolyn’s Shade Gardens.  Pictured are ‘Old Brick Reds’ primroses, two types of pulmonaria, and golden groundsel.  5/10/2015

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Walking back uphill towards the woodland, you pass our River of Phlox ‘Sherwood Purple’.  Native, evergreen creeping phlox makes an excellent groundcover with gorgeous purple, blue, pink or white flowers, depending on which cultivar you plant.  In the River, we have planted a large part of our snowdrop collection, which blooms December through March before the phlox flowers extend.  4/24/2019

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In late winter, snowdrops and winter aconite begin to emerge along the woodland path.  3/2/2019

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The snowdrops have been multiplying here for over 100 years and fill the Woodland with white when they open.  3/26/2015

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When the snowdrops and aconite are done, the Woodland bursts into bloom with mostly native wildflowers—the native, white redbud trees play a starring role.  4/15/2019

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Plants native to Pennsylvania fill the Woodland, here mayapples, golden groundsel, and Virginia bluebells.  4/25/2017

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Epimediums, daffodils, cinnamon ferns, and Celandine poppies replace the February-blooming aconite whose leaves are still visible at their base.  4/26/2015

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Natives dwarf Jacob’s ladder, black cohosh, and foamflower line the path.  5/10/2015

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The Lower Deck Garden provides early color from hellebores, ‘Mohawk’ viburnum, pink old-fashioned bleeding-hearts, and the rose-colored new leaves of ‘Butterfly’ Japanese maple.  4/26/2015

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The Upper Deck Garden comes into its own later in May with Hosta nigrescens, pulmonaria, Spanish bluebells, and variegated Solomon’s seal, all echoing the blue and silver garden under the Kentucky coffee tree across the path.  ‘Butterfly’ has assumed its main season color of green and white but will turn pink again in the fall.  5/6/2011

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The Kentucky Coffee Tree Garden across from the deck is filled with silver and blue plants, including ‘Ghost’ fern, ‘Bunny Blue’ sedge, ‘El Nino’ hosta, white bigroot geranium, variegated Japanese kerria, and ‘Jack Frost’ and ‘Dawson’s White’ brunnera.  5/27/2012

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Sugar maples, behind the Kentucky coffee tree on the left and the two giant black walnuts center and right, light up the woodland in fall.  For scale the ‘Butterfly’ Japanese maple is on the far right.  10/27/2010

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Moving up the hill, ‘Eye Declare’ hosta steals the show when it emerges in the Sycamore Garden in mid-spring (for orientation, you can see the Blue and Silver Garden in the top right of the photo).  The trees are actually London plane trees but the garden’s name stuck.  5/8/2011

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In early summer, native Indian pinks (spigelia) fill the Sycamore Garden and hummingbirds vsit from miles around.  6/7/2019

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Above the Sycamore Garden, behind the carriage house, is Hosta Hill, filled with hostas of all sizes plus epimediums, ferns, and hellebores.  5/26/2019

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I have a special place in my heart for our Mini Hosta Rock Garden, featuring mini hostas in a multitude of colors and sizes plus a wide assortment of dwarf plants, including ferns, irises, epimediums, conifers, lady’s mantles, and sedums, among others.  6/9/2015

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The garden is never without flowers unless deep snow covers the snowdrops, which start blooming in mid-October and finish in late March.  12/10/2013

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Michael and I rest in deep winter waiting for the cycle to begin again as soon as the snow melts.  2/21/2014

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Although it may seem like winter-, spring-, and early summer-blooming plants predominate, our garden is beautiful in late summer and fall too—I just don’t photograph it then.  I enjoyed writing this post and seeing our garden develop and change over the 10 years that these photographs were taken.  I hope you enjoyed the tour too.

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 cell number (for back up contact use only) 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 interested in mail order snowdrops 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 only within the US.

Facebook: Carolyn’s Shade Gardens has a very active 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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Pleasurable Pairings for Early Summer Part 1

Posted in hosta, my garden, Shade Gardening, Shade Perennials with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 5, 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.

Rosa 'Westerland', 'Delta Jazz' crape myrtleWesterland’ rose and Lagerstroemia ‘Delta Jazz’, a new crapemyrtle with beautiful burgundy leaves and pink flowers which I am trialing for the Southern Living Plant Collection.

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One of the most satisfying posts I have written is called Pleasurable Pairings for Spring and profiles plant combinations in my garden in April 2011.  To read it, click here.  It has taken me over two years to find the time to do a similar article for another season, but this post and the next will show pleasing plant pairs for early summer.  I have also included some long views of the gardens to give readers a sense of place.  My house is on a south-facing slope, and this post includes the gardens on the west side in the order in which you would encounter them.  The east side is in Part 2. 

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view down the front stepsLooking down the front steps on the west side of the house across two of the three terraces to the dovecote at the bottom.

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miniature hostas in strawberry jarAs you walk down the steps, you pass my many miniature hosta containers, including this strawberry jar with 16 different hostas—one for each pocket.  Miniature hostas are available mail order.  To see the catalogue, click here.

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Hostas 'Shiro Kabitan', 'Dew Drop', 'Hi Ho Silver', 'Country Mouse'This is a new container that sits on the steps to the side door.  Clockwise from upper left: Hosta ‘Shiro Kabitan’, ‘Dew Drop’, ‘Hi Ho Silver’, and ‘Country Mouse’.

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main perennial bedThe main perennial bed by the front door on the middle terrace.

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view from the front doorLooking from the front door towards the dovecote: ‘Minnie Pearl’ phlox, ‘Goldheart’ bleeding-heart, and ‘Caradonna’ salvia.

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view from the front doorA longer view of the main perennial bed.

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DSCN0415The other end of the main perennial bed: yellow corydalis, allium, ‘Magic Carpet’ spiraea, and ‘Caramel’ coralbells.

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Geranium 'Katherine Adele', Corydalis lutea, Campanula 'Blue Waterfall'The right side of the steps to the lower terrace: ‘Katherine Adele’ hardy geranium, yellow corydalis, and ‘Blue Waterfall’ campanula.

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entrance to orange and purple gardenThe left side of the steps to the lower terrace.

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container in orange and purple gardenA close up of the container on the left side of the steps with dwarf orange lilies and violas, which have been in full bloom with no dead-heading since mid-March.

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Digitalis 'Goldcrest'Yellow corydalis in the wall with ‘Goldcrest’ foxglove surrounded by ‘Blue Waterfall’ campanula and sedums in bloom.

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Hosta 'Whirlwind', fernJust below the lower terrace: ‘Whirlwind’ hosta and a self-sown fern.

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hornbeam gardenIn a very dry and shady garden below the dovecote, clockwise from upper left: Japanese painted fern, ‘Sparkler’ native jack-in-the-pulpit, pulmonaria, and black sedge.

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Leucosceptrum japonicum, Pulmonaria 'Leopard', Carex 'Oehme'In another very dark area, Japanese shrub mint in back, ‘Leopard’ pulmonaria (one of my favorites for its giant spots), and native sedge.

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Ligularia 'Othello', Hosta 'Paradigm'Along the fence line on the west side of the property, ‘Othello’ ligularia and ‘Paradigm’ hosta.

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Wisteria frutescens 'Amethyst Falls', Aconitum speciesAlso along the fence, ‘Ametyst Falls’ American wisteria, which I think is just as beautiful as the Asian varieties, and monkshood.

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Primula japonica, astilbes, fernsAt the very bottom of the property in the only moist garden we have, Japanese primroses, which self-sow with abandon, are succeeded by astilbes and ferns.

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Magnolia asheiFor Larry with best wishes for good health, the first flower on my native Magnolia ashei, a close relative of native bigleaf magnolia.

I hope you enjoyed the tour.  Stay tuned for Part 2, the shadier east side of the house.

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:  We are having the final spring open hours at the nursery on Friday, June 7, from 10 am to 4 pm,  Saturday, June 8, from 9 am to 2 pm, and Sunday, June 9, from 1 to 3 pm.  Customers will get an email with the details shortly.  Appointments are available through June 15 when we close for the summer, reopening in the fall around September 15.  The 2013 Miniature Hosta Mail Order Catalogue, containing over 35 choice selections of miniatures for shipping all over the US, is on the right sidebar here, and we are still shipping.  If you are local, you can use the catalogue to see what miniatures are still available at the nursery.

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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