It Does Grow Here

“It Does Grow Here”, a copyrighted post, was written for my WordPress blog called Always Growing by Jan in Covington, Louisiana


I am starting to doubt more and more the  “experts”, or maybe it is the conventional garden “wisdom” that I am beginning to see as not applicable.  I have been finding over the last few years that many plants that are not supposed to grow or do well in my area are actually thriving.  Case in point, hostas.  For the longest time, I wanted but did not plant any hostas.  Books and articles I had read said that they really did require a cooler summer than we had to offer.  I never saw any hosta growing in any gardens, so I believed this myth.  One day, while visiting a nursery a little farther north from where I live, I saw they had a few small hostas for sale.  I thought I would give one a try, and figured if the nursery was selling it, it would grow in my garden (foolish, inexperienced, trusting gardener).  I was surprised how well that hosta has done.

 

Big Hosta (redu)

 

Once this hosta survived a year, I started buying more.  I even grew some from seeds that I bought from Parks Seed Co.

 

Hosta from Park seed (redu)

 

They all have done very well.  Does this hosta look like it isn’t doing well? Please ignore damage to the leaves that happened a short time ago when a small hail storm came through.

 

Chartruse Hosta (redu)

 

Hosta and Metallica (redu)

 

I even tried a blue hosta which was reported not to last long in Deep South.  Blue Cadet has flourished.  It is bluer looking when it hasn’t been doused by rain.

 

Blue Cadet Hosta (redu)

 

I was convinced by now that hosta do survive here in the Deep South.  All this is leading up to the brand new hosta I found Sunday.  I went to Lowes to buy a trellis for my new Pandora vine, and, of course, I had to take a quick look around the plants for sale.  Here is where I found Red October ($2.98), a hosta with red stems.  I have seen this one in gardening articles and was happy to find it.  I figured this would do well in entry garden with all the red flowers there to help the red stems of this hosta to stand out.

 

Red October Hosta (redu)

 

I only bought two because that is all I could carry in one hand with the trellis in the other (I was NOT going all the way back out into the parking lot for a cart).  I am tempted to go back, though, for one more.

I am beginning to think that a great deal of gardening information that has been handed out for years, needs to be questioned.  Now, I know that there are some hard and fast rules, for example, chilling hours for certain plants to bloom and/or produce fruit, but maybe we need to push the limits a little to experiment.  We just may find, like I have with the hostas, that plants we have denied our gardens will survive and thrive.

Hosta Blooms

“Hosta Blooms”, a copyrighted post, was written for my WordPress blog called Always Growing by Jan in Covington, Louisiana 

 

Hostas are extremely popular for their lush, beautiful foliage.  The leaves come in various sizes, shapes, colors, and textures, all of which adds interest to the garden that flowers alone cannot do. 

 

But foliage isn’t the only selling point of hostas.  Their flowers, esp. on some of the newer varieties, can be wonderful, too.  Tall spikes of lavender, purple, or white appear in early summer.  Some are fragrant, and all seem to attract bees.  Mine have just started blooming, and the bumblebees are constantly buzzing around them.

 

 

The funnel-shaped flowers show up at a time when there are not many plants blooming.  The daylilies are almost finished, the Easter lilies are finished, and the hosta’s lily-like blooms begin.  While hostas grow in the shade, a few hours of sunlight will enhance flowering.  I usually cut off the spent bloom spikes because I am not interested in getting any hosta seeds.  I want all the plant’s energy to go in to making a bigger plant.  This photo shows one of my hostas that is growing with holly ferns, Marguerite sweet potatoe vine, and a Night-blooming Jasmine in the background.  I have found this to be a good mix for interest of color and leaf shape.

 

While a single hosta’s bloom may not be spectacular, several planted together can make a wonderful show.  Remember hostas aren’t just for foliage.

Hosta Overnight

This post, “Hosta Overnight” was written for my WordPress blog called Always Growing by Jan in Covington, Louisiana 

 

The hosta didn’t really appear overnight, but it sure did seem like it.  Just a few days ago, I saw the first leaves emerge and they were only about three inches long.  Today.  Pow!  I’ve got an almost full grown plant.

 

I have not been growing hostas too very long.  This far south, people just didn’t plant them.  A few years back, I started some from seeds I bought from Parks Seeds, and they did very well.  Since then, I have added more hostas, and nurseries around here are carrying them now.  Since I have a great deal of shade, they are a great addition.  I have been surprised how much sun they can take this far South.  I thought that they would need complete shade, but after losing several large trees and having areas with more sun, the hostas in those areas are doing just fine.  Of course, I keep them well watered which probably helps.

 

My hostas have not grown as large as some I have seen in cooler areas.  I would love to have the big, blue ones I’ve seen.  I remember seeing hugh ones in North Carolina when we were on vacation in the mountains.  Even though mine are not that big, they do fill a nice niche in the garden, and I am happy to see them return.