Late Tuesday night on July 4th, Green Dreamer Barbara Dempsey sent an email to fellow gardeners about several hostas that needed saving on Cameron Avenue. Her neighbours, David and Michelle Chan, had advised that their long anticipated deck renovations were beginning early the next day.
When Green Dreamers met on Wednesday July 5th at the Firehall, Brian Ure volunteered to drive over to help Barbara with the hosta rescue. Barbara has a well-developed gardener's eye and if she thinks certain perennials are worth the effort, we listen. When Brian returned to the Firehall later, he shared his impressions of the hosta "specimens" donated by David & Michelle Chan. According to Brian, one had to be at least 3-feet wide and, because they had just begun to flower, they seemed rather ethereal in the early morning light, waiting as it were with open oval arms for their next move.
Hostas are herbaceous perennial plants that grow from rhizomes. They have broad lanceolate or ovate leaves varying widely in size by species. We are finding that they thrive in some of our more exposed and well-used garden beds. Perhaps this is due to the sturdiness of the rhizome or root structure of this leafy low-lying plant. Although their leaf colour is typically green they vary in hue from a light yellow green to a darker deeper green and some almost have the appearance of blue. Their leaves are also variegated, some white/cream and others with yellowish edges or centers.
Although we're still at the experimental stage with our hostas, we are pretty excited about playing with colour and patterns. Hostas wilt and burn quickly under the intensity of our summer sun but thrive in shady areas. Although they need moisture when first planted, they are pretty sturdy if planted in the right place. So if the leaves begin to burn around the edges, you know they're too hot.
The flowers of hosta are produced on erect scapes, generally taller than the leaf mound, and end in terminal racemes. The individual flowers are usually pendulous, very long, with six petals, white, lavender, or violet in color and usually scentless.
For some of our more successful transplants, walk by the south side corner of Ossington and Bank, or the SE corner of Sunnyside & Bank. These are for the most part new transplants. Some are a little long & lanky, others quite windblown, some are small and tight, while others seem quite bold, sitting tall despite the odds. In time, if their rhizomes take hold and mingle effectively with the dense root structure of the trees that shelter them these hosta will reveal their singular delight to passersby.
Hosta descriptions provided with the help of Wikipedia.