|Wood poppies (look like Shamrocks to me or oak leaves)|
I think I'll start with some hostas, or plantain lilies. When I first purchased some hostas several years ago, I didn't realize that there were more than two or three varieties. So after I planted the first three I went back to get a few more to match the ones I planted. Well, the next year after they started growing and spreading out, I noticed that the last two I purchased were different from the first three. It was then that I realized that there were more than two or three varieties. Actually, there are about 50-70 species of hostas, and each species has several varieties and cultivators totaling in the thousands.
|This is Patriot Hosta in my bed of sweet woodruff. This is one of my most favorite of the hostas.|
Hostas range in size of clumps from miniatures of 1" to very large ones up to 4' high. And the same is true for the widths of the clumps. They are shade tolerant foliage plants. I love the flowers on them, too, but many of them are not very fragrant. They are native to Northeast Asia.
They come in all shades of green, some with a bluish tint, and some with lime-colored leaves. There are also several varieties of variegation in the leaves with either cream or white edges on leaves or in the center. The flowers will either be white, lavender or violet, and a few have a nice scent. The flowers usually hang like a pendent from a tall stem above the clump.
|2014 Hosta of the Year- Abiqua Drinking Gourd. I've had this hosta for a few years now,|
but I transplanted it to this location about 3 years ago so it's a little slow getting re-established.
Hostas sometimes can be a challenge in your garden especially if you have deer, rabbits, slugs or snails. Unfortunately, I have problems with all four of the above 'pests'. Hostas are like candy to deer. They love them. To deter the deer we usually use one of the sprays that are available in your garden centers. We use the sprays more often than what is recommended on the bottle, which is about once a week. And because of all our shade trees we have a lot of slugs and snails.
I do think some of the gardens in the northern sections of the Country might experience more than usual damage from the deer this year. There has been a longer period of time for snow cover and the deer might be running out of food sources.
|August Lily Hosta. This hosta blooms late in the season (August), is very fragrant,|
and the flowers are huge. All the little holes on the leaves are from slugs.
Hostas have become a very popular perennial because of their easy care, and they can add a focal point to your garden. Depending on the variety (the smaller ones), some hostas can be used successfully in containers. If you want to overwinter your hostas in a container, just plant the pot in the ground with the rim of the container a little below the surface of the soil or you could try storing them in your basement or garage if it doesn't freeze. The roots should be protected from a heavy freeze. What I did at the end of the season was to take them out of the pot and plant them in the ground.
Be careful with other perennials that you combine with your hostas. Although ferns look beautiful with them, the ferns can creep out and end up towering over your hostas. And ferns are hard to get rid of once you have them. They send out runners and when you want to eliminate them you have to get all the roots. I like combining hostas with spring flowering bulbs and perennials like forget-me-nots, astilbes, daffodils, and especially sweet woodruff.
|Paul's Glory Hosta- used in containers|
Sweet Woodruff (Galium Odoratum). Sweet woodruff grows in hardiness zone 4-8. They grow anywhere between 6" to 1' tall. A very delicate looking plant with small whorls of white, musk smelling flowers in the spring, and they add a fairy-like appearance to your garden when they are in bloom. They grow in the shade and do poorly in the sun. They like medium to wet soil, and are a very low maintenance plant. It is mostly used as a ground cover so it will spread out to a large area, but they are easy to pull out if you want to keep them contained to a certain area. They spread by creeping roots or self-seeding. I like to use them to naturalize around my yard because we have a lot of shade from our pine trees. They are tolerant of very heavy shade, and also do fine under black walnut trees where other perennials fail. If they are grown in dry, sunny areas they will go dormant in the summer. If grown in shade they will stay green all year until fall and then they will dry out. They have no serious pests or diseases.
|Our hosta garden with perennial fillers of foxgloves and sweet woodruff (lower left) which had finished flowering.|
|Ivy, Chameleon Plant (Houttynia cordata), ferns, hostas|
You can see how the hostas can add a lot of interest and highlight an all-green garden.
Additional information on hostas: Hostas
List of the Hostas of the Years: Hosta Growers Hosta of the Year
Here is a wonderful article on this past week's snowstorm written by Sean Kirst, from the Syracuse Post Standard: Consolation Amid Our Big Storm in 2014. It explains why we need those March snow covers.
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A friend of mine emailed me information about an upcoming presentation in Syracuse, NY:
Learn about Gardening For Nature With Native Plants
Wednesday March 26th, 2014 at 7:30 pm
University United Methodist Church, 1085 E. Genesee St. Syracuse.
Park and enter on University Place.
Janet Allen, President of Habitat Gardening of Central New York will help us understand the wonderful positives of native plants in preserving the best world for us and all the pollinators and birds. Think of the bees, butterflies and birds that depend on us. Think of the plants that will have space to thrive in a natural setting. Time to get out of that seed catalogue and learn how, why and where to get the truly native plants (not cultivars) for your garden.
Free and open to the public. Contact: 315 492-4745
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"Our prayers should be blessings in general,
for God knows what is good for us."
Thanks for touring my "green" garden!
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in the comment section.
in the comment section.