You may have heard of a certain virus going around. It affects mainly gardeners, serious gardeners. The virus, almost parasitic in behavior, gets into your brain, changes your circuitry, and actually sends you out in search of the plant. Or plants. Because there are 10,000 or more varieties of them, new ones appearing every year. And the problem is, you get it from other gardeners. Because this particular plant thrives in the climate I live in, and gets bigger and bigger and keeps growing and multiplying and before you know it, you’re over run and have to invite people to take or buy some of them. And this my friends, is how the virus is spread.
It’s called “Hosta Fever” and I’ve got it bad. Real bad.
I inherited this virus (and a lot of hosta – as well as my love for Fiestaware – which is an obsession for another post) from my Aunt Sally. Who knew she was sick?! I didn’t. I just thought she had great taste. Well, she does have great taste. But that’s not the point. The point is, if you have this virus, you must move to a shady area with a lot of room. An acre minimum. And an acre with a lot of shade. Or at least 50% shade. We won’t get into the semantics of that because there are some hosta that prefer more sun than others, some hosta change their color depending on how much sun or shade they get, new varieties vs. older varieties…I’ll leave the explanations to the people to cultivate the hosta. I just like to plant them and look at them and talk to them and pet them. Wait. Did I just type that? Well, yes I did and I am not ashamed.
Well, maybe a little ashamed. Given the amount of money I’ve spent on hosta this year. And the fact that my hosta out in my newly planted and very sad looking hosta bed are getting munched on by grubs and moles and slugs. They desperately need to be mulched, cleaned up, manicured. It was all I could do this past few weeks to keep them watered adequately since they were already suffering from transplant shock, then we had ridiculous winds that beat them up further.
Unfortunately, or fortunately, whichever way you want to look at it, my neighbor and friend also has this wicked virus. And we unfortunately, or fortunately, whichever way you want to look at it, have discovered a little place that is close and sells hosta at a fraction of the cost (literally, $5-$10 each…seriously…) named, certified (or so she says) hosta. Some hosta that are harder to find, some that are not super common, many (most) that you can not find at walmart. I shan’t tell you what the place is because, well, because quite frankly I’m greedy. I want her all to myself. My preciousssses….I want my pick. And when it comes to hosta, you have to be quick, fierce, bold, and I’ll say it, mean. Very mean. I can handle that.
You see, there are so many things I love about hosta. The vast variety of colors and combinations. Stripes, and borders, and whites, blues, greens, chartreuse, YELLOW, ORANGE! There are giants and miniatures and hosta that grow to be tall and some that hardly grow at all. They have flowers, some very fragrant, that attract bumble bees, hummingbirds, butterflies. Different shapes of leaves. Anywhere from spear shaped to rounded to heart shaped. Some are cupped, some are flat, some are wavy, some are puckered. They all look beautiful after a rain with droplets resting on top of the hosta’s lovely dusty leaf. Not to mention that they are hardy. SO SO hardy. I know that my hosta look pretty roughed up right now, but I also know that come spring next year (that is if the world doesn’t end on December 22, 2012) these hosta will be brilliant and beautiful and strong. And most likely, they will all have added an eye or two. Isn’t that just wonderful? I think so.
But probably my favorite thing about picking out hosta is the names. How I love to search the names on HostaLibrary and squeal when I see a fabulous name like Pandora’s Box or Peacepipe or Hanky Panky. There are hosta named after Marilyn Monroe, Princess Diana, Queens, Gods and Godesses. There are series of hosta such as the star wars series. Complete with Captian Kirk (I still need this one) Mr. Spock, Vulcan, Dark Star, Dark Vader. All hosta originate from a main plant. For example there’s blue mouse ears. Cute right? Well from that plant came Holy Mouse Ears, Frosted Mouse Ears, Mouse Tracks, Mouse Trap, Calico Mouse Ears, here…look for yourself. And there are many more like this. I am partial to the mouse ears group, though I only have 2 varieties. So far. But really, how can you resist something called “Mouse Ears?” Have you ever seen mouse ears? I have. I hate mice, but their ears are damn cute.
So there you have it. A small small small fraction of my obsession. I was safe before i knew people who loved hosta as much as I do. I was safe because I could go to Wal-Mart or a Garden Center and say “meh, I have that one…” But no more. I am no longer safe and my fever is burning out of control.
So here’s just one more photo for you. Of “Pineapple Upside Down Cake.”
Ok. One more. “Vulcan”.
Oh, but I have to show you this one. “Dragon Tails.”
Well then, I have to show you “Electrocution” even though it’s a terrible picture.
OH! And “Adorable.” Isn’t it just…well…adorable?
OK really, that’s all. Let me know if you want to see more, because I have…well…a lot more. <grin>