Thursday, July 2, 2009

Plant of the Week - Hosta Yellow River

Plant of the Week
July 1st, 2009

Yellow River

Yellow River

As mentioned in last weeks’ plant review, we collect Hostas. My husband and I have many, many Hostas for a home gardener, but still not as much as some internet bloggers. You see, there was a time when we grew our lovelies here at our condo. Over time, however, we started hearing complaints from one of the ground level residents how we ”Gardened to loud”.

*Welcome to community living – if you want privacy, get a home in the country.*

Native: China and Japan
Origin: Montana sport or hybrid
Hardy: Yes
Growth Habit: Spreading rhizome

Growth Rate: Slow
Plant Habit: Upright

Height: to 2 feet
Spread: to 4 feet

Leaf Size: 12 x 8 inches
Leaf Color: Dark Green w/ Gray, White to Yellow margins


Yellow River is a late season starter. Its first of May ground breaking makes it one of the last Hostas we have - not the last, but close. Notice the Daylily and other Hosta are well on their way before Yellow River starts.

Three weeks later, Yellow River is large and present in the garden

My sister had moved up here from San Diego, and she offered to help rescue our garden. She has several acres on the peninsula, so they set aside about ½ acre I think for us to move our plants Since we don’t like being the seed of neighborly complaining, we decided to accept my sister’s offer and we pull out our garden. In one day. This is an entire blog of its own. My sister and her husband even came to help us move. On the day of the move, we just dug and bagged everything and put them on the truck & trailer, or in one of the other three vehicles

My sister told me soon after the move that she couldn’t understand what I saw in the Hostas – “they’re just a bunch of leaves, anyway”.

Once our plants started coming up the spring, she soon saw what we saw in Hostas – the variety, the textures, the colors, the shapes – a million different looks. And names – oh, she loved the names. She got bit bad. It wasn’t long before she put in her own ‘Hosta Heaven’, an exclusive Hosta garden area.. This year is her second with Hosta fever. Between my sister and us, we probably have over 300 varieties. This is not counting my husband’s over 500 ‘babies’ he has started from seed.

It is so much fun to see how much all the Hostas have grown in just these past couple of years. The Hostas in our garden area, being generally a few years older, have a lot more plant structure to them. Some are getting downright gigantic – much ‘huger’ than I had ever thought they’d get at our old shady garden!

One of my earliest Hosta purchases, and therefore one of those closest to my heart, is Yellow River. I love this Hosta because it is so graceful. And it stands out. You can see in the earlier pictures – nestled amongst all the greens and blues – there it is. Unmistakable cream borders on a wide spear shaped leaf.

It is not a fast grower. And until this year, I have never seen it bloom. It is absolutely gorgeous this year, and I feel strongly that it will bloom.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Plant of the Week - Autumn Fern

Plant of the Week

June 15th, 2009

Autumn Fern
Dryopteris erythrosora
Japanese Shield Fern

In the midst of our Rhododendron bloom season, we started talking about posting blogs with information and images of our garden. I did some quick mental calculations, and even though we hadn't added but a few this year, it would take us over three years just to do the unique Hostas in the garden. Only a few? Yes, only three or four. But last year we added almost 30 new varieties. A little overboard I suppose, but how else do you acquire 140 varieties in the prior five years?

Wait... three years.

Hostas are a way different story when it comes to our garden. They are not the only plant we have. I just used them as the example of the quantity of plants we care for and about.

This week we chose the Autumn Fern because this is the time of year is when it earns it's name. The name comes from it's autumn colors, which appear in the spring on the new growth. By mid summer, all new growth has finished and the plant is completely green.

Native: Enormous range of China and Japan
Hardy: 3 degrees F to 109 degrees F
Growth Habit: Spreading, but not invasive
Growth Rate: Slow
Plant Habit: Upright

Height: to 2 feet
Spread: to 3 feet

Propagation: Division or spores
Leaf: Spectacular spring color

Water: Moist, but not soggy.
Sun: Shade

These two ferns first came to the garden in 2005 as small plants. By mid 2006 the two plants were crowding their mates in the miniature garden area and were placed in roomier locations

The Autumn Fern does not have what you might know as a typical crown. The plant spreads by underground stems, slowly getting wider. The root ball was found to be surprisingly large during it's several moves. It has been moved in spring, summer and fall, each time without incident.

This fern is classified as evergreen. The winter state is not showy, but it does maintain it's green color throughout. We usually remove the last of the beat-up remaining foliage in early spring, then wait for the show of it's new color.

It is the last to emerge with new growth in our fern collection.

Although our two are not in 'shade' completely, they do just fine.

The Autumn Fern is on our 'Highly Recommended' list for those who live in an area which can accommodate this tough performer, and have enough shade and water to provide it with the environment it prefers.