Living in the South Sound usually means at least part of our gardens are somewhere in the shadows. The number one foliage choice for shadow gardening has to be hostas. But hostas need room… a lot of room. They need a good size lot, if not acreage, to be “shown off”. Leaves of popular Hosta ‘Great Expectations’ can reach 1 foot across and the full grown plant of H. ‘Sum and Substance’ can reach 6 feet across. Hostas are spectacular but nearly impossible to grow and display if you garden in an apartment, a condo or in containers.
Well, now you can grow and display hostas in a very small garden space because…they ‘shrunk’em’! The miniature hostas have arrived in a big way. If the plant-cuteness doesn’t get you, the names will…
Many gardeners have already discovered the tiny treasures of the Hosta “Mouse Series” with names like ‘Blue Mouse Ears’, ‘Frosted Mouse Ears’, ‘Holy Mouse Ears’, ‘Mouse Trap’,
‘Cat and Mouse’ and ‘Mighty Mouse’. You get the idea.
Bottom line…miniature hostas are small enough for a large collection in a very small space. How can you resist growing them when they have names like, ‘Peanut’, ‘Hush Puppie”, ‘Teeny Weeny Bikini’ and ‘Doll House’?
Nothing can spoil the look of a home garden like a sea of little “grave markers” plunked in front of every plant. And yet, it’s always nice to know what you planted by marking the plants whose names are likely to be forgotten. There is a simple solution. You know the plastic id tags meant to mark the plants from grower to home garden? Turn them upside down and let the tiny white tip barely show above the soil. Easy to find, the sun won’t destroy the plastic and whether your plant thrives or disappears, you’ll know what it is/was.
The Book of Little Hostas
Proof positive that miniature hostas are gaining in popularity. Timber Press released a new book about them. “The Book of Little Hostas” by Michael Shadrack and Kathy Guest Shadrack, is tightly packed with tempting pictures and solid information about the newest plant collector’s craze, miniature hostas. At present, there are more than 300 registered with the American Hosta Society.
“The Book of Little Hostas” defines and describes more than 200 miniature hostas in cultivation. According to the authors “little hostas” can be no taller than 12” and no wider than 24”. The true miniature hostas have individual leaves less than 6 square inches. It’s the leaves that are tiny, not the overall plant size. You can get a LOT of miniature hostas in a very small space, which makes collecting them a tempting obsession.
If you’re interested at all in the little hostas, the book is worth the price just to see the clever ways the tiny plants are grown and displayed. Timber Press, 208 pages, $27.95
August is the time to kick back and enjoy the garden but if you’re overtaken by the guilt of kicking back…it’s time to
Plant Saffron Crocus, the most expensive spice in the world.
Order spring bulbs
The ever popular…Deadhead and weed
Plant garlic and winter vegetables for spring harvest
Water, water, water
Take cuttings of geraniums, deciduous shrubs, old roses, heather
Sharpen garden tools, especially pruners
Divide and share bearded irises and overgrown perennials