Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Collecting Requires Discipline

Don’t be horrified - I threw out some hosta this week. The plants had no names, were unhealthy, not attractive or were not performing well. None of the plants are featured in these photos. Collecting hostas should be about quality not quantity - right? I’m collecting big, beautiful, luscious leafy plants. It’s all about the foliage and not about collecting names. When I began collecting, I did not understand that I could not have them all or that some may not be worthy of collecting. With over 8,000 registered varieties; I could not possibly fit even a 10th of the hostas available in a yard the size of mine. It is too easy to buy hostas with different names that look the same. Anyone can register a hosta. Do you know how many look-a-likes are out there? Also, I may sound a little callous; however I have no interest in wasting precious garden space with poor performers. I don’t need hostas that look bad in the middle of the growing season, burn in the sun, or attract slugs like ants on a picnic blanket. What I do need is a system to ensure I make well-thought-out purchase. This spring I vowed that I would only purchase a new hosta if I have observed the mature specimen growing in someone’s garden. This was going to help me to be more selective. However, I toured a few more gardens than usual this summer; more opportunities to see mature plants. I added about 59 new varieties to the garden and added quite a few hostas to my “lust list” (right now about 114 varieties on the list). Next year will be different. I have already prioritized the “lust list” and plan to purchase about 10 must have, really unusual, hard to find hostas that I could not find this year. I’m also looking forward to attending my first hosta convention in Minnesota. How many hostas can you pack in a suitcase?

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