Thursday, December 11, 2008

The Search for Green/Gold Hostas

I might as well call it the yellow garden, like Gail describes in a perfect fall post. What do you think? Let me tell you a little story about yellow hostas. It is a true story, but names shall be left out.
There is a local well known hosta judge and collector who searched and searched and searched for the perfect yellow hosta with green tints. She went from one end of the state to the other and a few other states as well on her quest to find the perfect yellow/green hosta. But no matter how hard she searched she could never duplicate the wonderful green/yellow tints of that one hosta she saw one fateful fall day. She was very sad but did not give up and continued to collect hostas. She learned everything she possibly could about hostas in the meantime, and she still sought that perfect green/gold hosta.

Her collection grew and grew until one bright fall day on her daily visit to the garden she spotted not one perfect green/gold hosta, but several perfect green/gold hostas. So many! She smiled to herself, and thought of all the hostas she had collected in order to get that one perfect hosta, when all hostas have perfect green/gold colors. She did not know all hostas change to that special blend of green/gold when the days grow short and the temperatures cool. No amount of searching for the right hosta was going to bring that hosta to her, only Mother Nature could show her the way.

To this day she still laughs at herself and I heard this story straight from her. Any local readers (especially my fellow Montgomery County Master Gardeners) who may recognize this lady, do let me know via email or comments. (first name only)

in the garden....

Hint: She is a Montgomery County Master Gardener. Which reminds me, tonight is the Master Gardener Association's Christmas party. The group is anticipating over 100 folks showing up. Hope to see you there! And I think this avid hosta collector will be in attendance too.


  1. Hi Tina, I like this story, full of irony. And you told it well, good job! Sort of like a fable with a twist at the end. :-) Have fun at your meeting/party.


  2. HA! The deer still like them when they are gold too! I think they can spot them even better then.

  3. Would that be you?
    Storm tonight into tom, ice, freezing rain and mountains to get a foot of snow when all things are said and done. It's the system passing in the south now.

  4. Cute story! I love hostas. It is so exciting in spring to see them start to pop up--and in places I forgot I had them!
    Have fun at your party tonight!

  5. Good morning all!

    Thanks Frances, from you very high praise indeed!

    Cindy, You may be right. I don't have that problem but this lady sure does. Might need to do away with hostas? Naw!

    Dawn, Oh no! Not me. I have a bunch of hostas but not really a hosta collector. It is not my specialty at all. That storm coming is huge. It is the same that dumped 3 inches of rain on us-like the most we've had all year. Get ready for some sonw.

    Linda, Yes they are so exciting for me to see them come in spring. Hostas are really great. I'll do my best to have a lovely time tonight. Thanks!

  6. Delightful story!

    You'd love meeting Bob Solberg, aka "The Hosta Man" here in Chapel Hill. I used to buy all of my hostas from him (back when I had shade and no deer problem).


  7. My hostas have lost all their green/gold. They are hibernating for the winter as we speak. ;) I do love their foliage in the garden spring, summer & fall.

  8. Hi Tina, hostas are on my endangered species list. If I can't get rid of my slug problem, the hosta will be moving to someone else's garden;)

  9. Wouldn't it be something if a hosta that was green-gold like the fall color did exist in the spring and summer? Have fun at the party!

  10. Tina,

    That was an excellent story...Aesop would have loved it! The yellows in our fall garden are beautiful and this year they were exceptional...even tho I am not able to grow many hostas they really are an excellent plant!
    Thanjk you my dear friend for the love link...that post showcases some of my favorite plants! When will you be in Nashville? Is there a December PPS meeting?


  11. Have you ever heard "Old Mother Westwind" stories? That story reminded me of one. They always had themes like "why the bluebird is blue...".

    I think the yellow-green hosta is very short-lived around here. I definitely have to pay more attention!

  12. Really enjoyed the story, thanks for sharing. To know the lady in question still laughs at it tells you what kinda person she is. A good person to know!! Have tons of fun tonight, I will think of you and the others while I sit in front of my puter and tv, the heat turned up and the freezing snow filling the Maine air.

  13. Cameron, I would love to meet a hosta person. They are such good gardeners.

    Racquel, Mine are pretty hibernating too. Sigh. They'll be back soon enough. You have some of the loveliest hostas in your garden!

    Donna, Thanks! I haven't had any takers on who it is though.

    Marnie, I hate those slugs! Yucky!! They eat my cat food on the porch. Can you say eww? The cat says so each night. Some slug repellents work well. Plus the more waxy the coat is on the hosta that is said to repel them. Good luck.

    Dave, Yes! That was her whole point and I can tell you she hasn't found one that quite matches the fall golds.

    Troutbirder, Thanks! I thought it was kind of funny and ironic, like gardening at times. We do have to laugh at ourselves.

    Gail, Glad you liked the story. It stuck with me for several years. Not coming to Nashville anytime soon. No PPS this month, but I'll be there next month. It is a tell and share meeting amongst the members. The best kind of meeting! Hope to see you there. Geri should be there too. Not sure who else.

    JGH, I have never read "Old Mother Westwind" but need to check it out. I haven't even heard of it so I feel way behind. You have a great day in sunny NY!

  14. Mom, You do stay warm!! That storm is a doozy. The same one that dumped three inches of rain on us. Now it is quite cold. Hope you are feeling better. The Jimster went to school this morning and ate well yesterday so yeah! ttyl

  15. Rainy Day in Georgia today! 3 inches of rain fall and my yard is one soggy mess. It was 74 degrees here yesterday and cold front creeping through. Glad I got up all those leaves the past two days but more have fallen but the clean up will not be nearly as tough on me...

    I enjoyed the hosta story Tina and will admit I thought you were telling one on your self. I have no idea who it could be but a fun story and I would tell it on myself too... lol

  16. Loved your story, Tina. Have a great time at the MGA's Christmas party!

  17. Hi, Tina--I never get that beautiful gold that you show in the photograph--my hosta start losing leaves at the moment they start to turn--and as Racquel says, they're all long gone--wouldn't even be able to find 'em if I didn't leave markers in the ground. Anyway, a great story--I hope your mystery gardener gets to read it! Best, Cosmo

  18. Even though she did not find that perfect gold/green hosta outside of Fall. It would have been nice if she did, I wouldn't mid having one.

  19. Hey Skeeter, Nope, not me. I am strictly a big box type plant buyer, I would probably not go to those lengths. btw, she is now quite the hosta expert! Stay dry. It is icky here too. I got up most of my leaves, glad you did too-doesn't it feel great??

    Kanak, Thanks! I am stressed because I have to bring something and I am so not a cook. I think I've settled on cupcakes and biscuits. Should be foolproof;)

    Cosmo, I have found certain hostas hold on to their leaves better than others and show better color. The ones pictured are: Royal Splendor, Christmas Tree, Great Expectations and Yellow Splash. Try them, especially the Royal Splendor, one of my favorites. I think it is the same Racquel has too. Now don't ask me to name any of the other hostas-I only know these as I labeled them as I planted-ha finally!

    Zach, Get you some hostas! They should hold on to their color up there because hostas seem to like the cool northeast better than down here. Let me know how it goes. Sure hope you get a new camera cable soon.

  20. I was all ready to grab my teddy and curl up at your feet, Tina! Love the storytelling. You have a knack for it as well as gardening. Tell Marnie to try diatomaceous earth for the slugs. It works for me in FL. I won't give any details on how it works. Too close to suppertime. Have a great time tonight. You have earned it, future granny!

  21. Tina, Check your email, my mom may have the answer to your quiz! :-)

  22. What a great story. I didn't know hostas changed to such a lovely colour in the autumn.


  23. Walk2Write, You are very kind! I am surprised everyone liked the story so well. I told the same story at the party tonight, within hearing of the guru hosta collector and she got a kick out of it. I still do too. I hope Marnie gets the message on that diamaceous earth. I have used that before too and it is good since it is natural. Poor things-not!

    Skeeter, Your Mom is correct!!! Great job! Most local folks would recognize this lady easily. She is quite well known and it is such a small world.

    Amy, This was an excellent year for the hostas. I had never seen such beauty. Some better than others, but still neat. Don't they turn up in your area?

  24. Great story Tina. Of course I have no idea who it is.
    I have a few hostas here but they don't seem to do well here. Too hot & humid. I like them & try anyway. My friend in N.C. has quite a few & boy are they huge. She puts them in big containers. I saw them this past June when I went on my little trip. Stupid me I didn't take any pics of them. I've forgotten how many different kinds she has. I couldn't believe the size of some of the leaves.
    At the time I was more interested in my friend.

  25. Lovely story, I like hostas but I have got a single one in my I think my garden is to sunny and dry for them.
    I wish you a happy weekend / Tyra

  26. Being a hostaholic is more fun. The plant of friendship has lived up to this taga, Dear friends in 6 countries and many states. The Bob Solberg mention has a website, great for southern growers So glad Tina shared my story, I have many more! Somtimes I can do realy dumb things,it just makes grardening more fun.

  27. Too funny! I was thinking that her problem was that she was siting it properly to bring out the color. I loved the ironic little twist. I have long prized the autumnal color of my Hostas, which I like to pair up with the pure yellow of the autumn foliage of Merrybells & the gold of Polyganatums & Smilacina.

  28. Hi Lola, Hostas are so nice and as you know, I think they do much better in cooler weather. I hope your friend still grows them and perhaps you'll get to see them sometime.

    Tyra, You have a lovely garden, even without the hostas. I wish you a very happy weekend too!

    Delona (aka Anonymous), I am so glad you were able to visit. I will surely check out Mr. Solberg's website. Thanks for it! If I ever get to NC I am going to visit Cameron and Mr. Solberg and the camellia farm and oh dear I think I must not go visit or I'll be mortgaging the house. I loved the story and it has stuck with me. Nice talking with you today.

    MMD, What are polyganatums? I am dying to know as I have never heard these names before. I Googled all the other names and it brought up your blog for the polyganatums but I couldn't find a picture. The merrybells are so pretty! I can bet those would do very well with the hostas. You have such a wide variety of plants in your garden and your bloom day posts show it all. Thanks for dropping by and do tell me that polyganatum when you can get the chance.

  29. Dear Montgomery County Master Gardener, don't feel bad. Read below to see what a Mercer County, PA Master Gardener once did:

    It was a week before Christmas, two years ago I think,
    We had no poinsettias and I was feeling quite pink.
    A house without poinsettias at this time of year
    Is not very conducive to holiday cheer.
    We usually have two or more for shelves and on floors,
    But had not purchased even one yet and the house looked a bore.
    I don't grow tall paperwhites as lots of folks do,
    They get floppy and their odor is, well, just plain P U!
    I used to grow amaryllis, their blooms are pretty and big,
    But they got just as leggy as paperwhites did.
    I needed poinsettias to make Christmas right,
    Poinsettias in red and poinsettias in white.
    So I planned to buy some and buy them real quick
    For Christmas was coming, and with it Saint Nick.
    I knew where to go, whom to see, what to pay,
    But worried they'd all be sold out on that day.
    Oh how elated I was when I saw hundreds lined up
    In pots and on end caps in the aisles towards the front.
    I rushed to the flowers and eyed them with glee
    I picked out the prettiest one I could see.
    Gently now, gently I set it in the cart,
    And slowly rolled towards the checkout part.
    This was the most beautiful poinsettia I had ever seen,
    And I carried it home oh so carefully.
    I knew just where to put my new beautiful flower,
    On the mantle next to the miniature angel choir.
    This poinsettia topped all the rest,
    It glowed as none other had glowed in the past.
    I watered it well taking care not to drown it,
    Then I went to my chair and sat down for a moment.
    My wife was due home, I was excited and proud,
    "I love poinsettias!" she'd often say very loud.
    She came through the door and stopped at the mantle,
    For a moment I thought she looked a bit rattled.
    And then she sang out as if in an operetta,
    "Hey Hon, where'd you get the fake Poinsettia?"
    "Fake??!" I shouted and ran to the flower,
    My hands were shaking, my mouth turned sour.
    "Yes, it's silk," my wife said with a chuckle,
    and when I touched a fake leaf my knees almost buckled.
    I couldn't believe I had thought it was real,
    I even watered the thing, how dumb I did feel.
    So now when I see poinsettias out,
    I'm warmly reminded of my very real doubt
    That Santa will ever let me forget
    Of the time I watered a very fake plant.

  30. I am so jealous now, TC. Tina gets a whole poem from you, and I get one or two lines about (yawn) politics. OK. I see what you're trying to say: on your knees, W2W, and get those hands in the dirt and among the roots! Well, I'll get my hands dirty (sandy), but can I use one of those cushioned kneelers?

  31. And what a poem it is too! TC, you have to do one for W2W too now. Can't wait to see it! Thanks TC for this fun poem, but methinks you should do a posting on this super fun poem as it is wonderful! Ha! The watering is really funny.

  32. W2W: I wrote it like three years ago, so (sorry Ms. Tina) it ain't like I did it spur of the moment. But you're right, I do feel guilty now for hardly sayin anything on your most recent post. Imagine that, me not havin much to say!

    Ms. Tina: I might toss it out on my blog sometime Christmas week. But I'm still embarrassed that I watered a fake plant.