The poor hostas have had a tough year. The hazels that were supposed to give them some shade have struggled and they have had to deal with gales and harsh sun at times. Gratifyingly, most have had a good second flush of leaves and, like any good gardener, I have higher hopes for next year!
But it is possibly worth mentioning a few now, partly because they have done quite well and partly so that I get some of the 80 or so out of the way and don’t bore you rigid next year when, with them all looking perfect, I get carried away with them. Above is ‘Whee’. Or maybe it should be ‘Wheee!’ I am not sure. Even more confusing, it is a sport of an unnamed hosta and is not officially registered. Apparently is does not bloom, though I have found photos on the web of it in bloom. What a mess! And that is a shame since it is a very distinctive plant. The leaves are variegated – edged in yellow – and much more wibbly than the photo suggests, from the moment they appear. It is a small to medium hosta.
I mentioned ‘First Blush’, breathlessly, as soon as it appeared above ground in spring. Touted as the first ‘red’ hosta, it is very exciting. But, as I have got to know it – and I accept that it only has one rosette and is hardly showing full potential, I am not sure if it is worth the fuss (and the money!). Is it more attractive than most others? I fear not. Is it a contrast to other hostas? Yes, but not as good as a heuchera. I fear that I could get the same effect with a cabbage with clubroot. Sorry about this. ‘First Blush’ was registered in 2016 and raised by Bob Solberg, using ‘Beet Salad’ as a parent.
‘Wolverine’ has rather narrow leaves and is an elegant, arching plant, introduced in 1995. Not at its best yet, it was one of the worst affected of the hostas in the May frost, all the leaves turning to wet bog paper. But it has bounced back and looks half decent.
‘Captain Kirk’ was chosen, from many with similar colouration, for its name. In fact quite a few were, and he shares a bed with ‘Marilyn Monroe’. The colouring is not quite developed and the habit is still not quite there. Lots of hostas do not do what is expected of them until they settle down for a year or two. But he has grown well and is bright and looks healthy. He is a sport of the ubiquitous ‘Gold Standard’ and a large hosta, registered in 1999.
The hosta beds are not ‘just’ hostas but interspersed with some hemerocallis, lilies and Siberian iris as well as some primulas. I grew some P. denticulata from seed, sown in March and they have grown well since the rather small plants were set out. The idea is that they will bloom before the hostas get going and then the hostas will disguise their rather dull leaves later. We will see what happens!