Archive for mouse ears hostas

Hosta Containers and Companions

Posted in container gardening, containers for shade, hosta, miniature hosta, Shade Gardening, Shade Perennials with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 10, 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.

.

Hosta When finding containers for your hostas you have to think outside the box: “Carolyn’s Gold” hosta in an antique kerosene can.

This is the third post in a three-part series on small hostas.  My nursery specializes in miniature hostas, and I have over 30 varieties available right now, both at the nursery and mail orderIn I LOVE Mice, I raved about the mouse ears series of hostas.  In Beyond Mice, I highlighted some of my favorite non-mouse ears hostas.  My 2011 post Miniature (& Small) Hostas also gives an overview of little hostas and how to use them in the garden.  Now I want to focus on the containers you might use to hold your hostas and the plants that will keep them company.

 

Probably my favorite medium sized hosta, the straight species Hosta tokudama.

Why would you want to grow hostas in a container?  One reason I do it is to highlight a hosta’s very special ornamental attributes.  I think Hosta tokudama (photo above) is gorgeous so I grow it in a pot outside my front door.  Here are some other hostas that I think merit their own container (read my previous hosta posts for photos of other single hosta containers):


Hosta ‘Little Miss Sunshine’ has bright gold leaves and deep red stems that look like rhubarb.  I placed its pot on a wall by my front walk so I can admire the stems up close.


The elegant hosta ‘Hanky Panky’ grows in an old dogwood stump, also along my front walk.

I love the very unusual hosta ‘Praying Hands’ and have it in three different containers, here with violas.


There is no other miniature hosta that looks like ‘Sparkler’ so I gave it its own spot in an antique metal pitcher salvaged from the dump.

Small hostas can get lost when planted in perennial borders unless they are massed.  Growing special miniature hostas in containers brings them up to eye level.  Here are 16 miniatures in my strawberry pot:

It also allows you to pair them with other miniature plants to create a tiny garden.  My previous posts contain many photos of my containers of little hostas.  However, I thought I would show you some of the planters I have recently created to give my customers ideas and to sell at my upcoming hosta open house:









All these containers were purchased inexpensively at flea markets and antique stores or were salvaged from the dump at the bottom of our property.  You probably have a suitable pot, pan, or other hosta garden holder gathering dust in your attic right now.


Hosta gardens waiting at Carolyn’s Shade Gardens for a new home.

Choosing tiny companion plants to go with your miniature hostas is another fun part of growing them in containers or in a rock garden.  Plant collecting urges are satisfied by all the plants that can be crammed into a small area.  In the planters above, I used violas, sedums, hens and chicks, ‘Heartthrob’ violet, ‘Tiny Rubies’ dianthus, and pasque flower (Pulsatilla).  Here are some more combinations:

Hostas ‘Shiny Penny’, ‘Green Eyes’, and ‘Itsy Bitsy Spider’ paired with sedum, hens and chicks, and rosularia in my dish garden.

Mouse ears hostas with dwarf Solomon’s seal, Polygonatum humile, in my stone trough.

Hostas ‘Blue Mouse Ears’ and ‘Blonde Elf’ with miniature lady fern, Athyrium filix-femina ‘Minutissimum’, in the rock garden.

Hostas ‘Little Blue’, ‘Blonde Elf’, and ‘Little Wonder’ with a small epimedium in the rock garden.


Gardening with tiny plants and salvaged containers is so much fun.  I hope you will give it a try.

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.

Advertisements

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.

.

'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.

.

‘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.

%d bloggers like this: