Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Hosta Heaven

It’s amazing to see the differences from…

…this photo (taken in April)…

…to this one (taken just two weeks ago)!

It’s been a lot of work turning these old and neglected flowerbeds into a place of beauty, and I’m happy for every effort that I’ve put into it!

I think I’ve learned more about hostas than any other plant, over the last two years. I’ve become acquainted with the three species that were already growing on this property and I’ve introduced four other species, just this year (species that I’ve stolen from my mom’s garden and two of my neighbours).

Some have very dark green leaves – which remind me of elephant’s ears. Some have rubbery leaves that are quite small and some have leaves that are a very bright green. Some leaves are tinged with purple and some are almost yellow with green highlights.

Some flower at the end of June while others bloom in July. I really like the flowers that are in bloom right now – one is filled with large white flowers and the other is filled with delicate purple flowers. I like these ones the best because they are late bloomers. While most flower gardens are nearing their end, at this time of year, these beautiful hostas still have two more weeks of flowers to share with the world.

Two summers ago (when Jo’ and I had just moved in to this house) there was one large and lonely hosta growing in this flowerbed… with lots and lots of weeds. This was the first flowerbed that I worked on restoring. I dug up the hosta and split its roots into seven sections and spread them through this garden. In between the hostas, I planted many spring flowers – two species of tulips and daffodils. Now this garden blooms twice a year. Once the spring flowers have finished their season the hostas grow up and over them to fill this space with green until they are ready to bloom. The spring flowers’ leaves fill the underside of the hostas and this keeps all the weeds from growing. Ta-da! I’m learning how to design flowerbeds that are almost 100% self-sustaining and seasonally changing – requiring very little maintenance and with no weeds!!!

When we first moved in, this front garden had just two hostas – one near each set of stairs and lots of weeds. Again, I split the hostas into smaller root clumps, spread them out throughout the entire flowerbed and filled the space in between with tulips to bloom in the spring.

This year I wanted to try something a little different. I wanted to add some additional flowers to compliment this garden. You can see the large plant that is just off of the centre mark, getting ready to bloom with lots of small purple flowers. I don’t really like gardens that are completely symmetrical. I always challenge my designs to create ‘balance’ using asymmetrical theories. To create the asymmetry I had planted several lilies to the left of the tall plan. Hmmmm… where are they?

Whenever a plant is transplanted its first obligation is to its own roots. The plant usually spends its first year getting stronger – healing from its move – and it produces a minimal amount of blooms. The lilies that I planted were quickly overgrown by the hostas, but I know that next year they will bounce back with full strength and then my planning will come to fruition.

Even though these lilies were dominated by the hostas they still strove to survive to produce what flowers they could. At first, I thought that the lilies had died and then one day I was mowing the front lawn and the tiniest hint of colour caught my eye. I got onto my knees to peer under the hosta leaves and behold!!!! A surviving lily! I hadn’t failed… maybe just miscalculated by a little bit.

I’ll end this story with another photo of my front porch garden, as it looked last week… in full bloom! The hostas in white and the other flower (not sure what it is) blooming in bright, light purples turned out rather nicely!

I’ve often thought that plants can teach us a lot about ourselves and I always enjoy learning about both, while I’m tending to my gardens. I’ve come to recognize that most flowers are very social life forces that enjoy living in communities that offer unique environments for their growth and happiness.

I’m feeling inspired to share this story with our local city planners so that they will learn that humans need happiness to grow within a community setting – not a housing development surrounded by fast-food chains and department stores!


No comments: