August 2006

On August 1st we took some meager lottery winnings that were burning a hole in my pocket and converted them to some more perennials for the garden, mostly Heucheras as you can see, but not exclusively. There was the inevitable addition to the Hosta assortment as well of course, as you see below, and we also couldn't resist another Fuchsia, a white version of F. magellanica.

Hosta 'Blue mouse Ears'Hosta 'Blue Mouse Ears' had been on my want list for some time and I knew that at least one nursery in the area showed it in stock on their website. It's just that they are somewhat out of the way and a special trip was made on my holidays that first week of August to make sure it would grace our garden with its presence.

They all looked to be at least second year TC's and the one that came home had 3 plants on its crown and a resident slug. We parted company with the slug upon its discovery of course and by the middle of the month the crown was divided and each plant was given its own #1 pot.

Over the Hosta flowering period I engaged in performing manual sex on them: selective pollination. Repeated cross-pollinations were done with 'Minute Man' and 'Revolution' both ways. Several nice big fat seedpods are developing, the ones on 'Revolution' are the most fascinating in that some are striped, like this one for example. It'll be interesting to see what sprouts out of them next spring. This one has 'Minute Man' as pollen parent.

Both of our 'Revolution' clumps -bit of a misnomer actually, one's got 5 shoots, the other 3- had flower scapes that were decidedly reddish towards the top as well as a red stripe along the separation between the chambers in the pod. You can see a bit of that in this picture.

Last year we didn't see any pods on 'Guacamole'. Most fragrant Hostas seem to be difficult to get seed to set, likely an issue of a combination of factors of course with ambient temperature being fairly high on that list apparently. On top of that the 3 fragrant ones we have do not seem to produce anywhere near the volume of pollen you see on 'Revolution' for example. I used pollen from 'Minute Man', 'Revolution' and 'So Sweet' on the early flush of flowers on our biggest 'Guacamole' and a few actually took. This I believe is from 'Revolution' pollen and it's interesting to see the length of the pod, easily the longest one of all the Hosta pods this year. Probably has something to do with the size of the flower itself, and 'Guacamole' has large, fragrant flowers, particularly the lower ones on the scape.

One of our planters was turned into what we refer to as our 'Hosta Nursery' last year, basically to grow out smaller divisions prior to potting them up the spring after. Between what's in the planter and what's potted out on the planter's cap we can see the following starting top left: 'sieboldiana Elegans', 'Sum and Substance' directly below it and then 'Wide Brim'. Back up again you see 'Minute Man', with 'Blue Mouse Ears' just above it to the right, below it is 'Revolution' and the three small divisions of 'Bright Lights' that were the subject of a Rossizing experiment in early June. Directly above them is a sizeable 'Guacamole' with the single leaf of a 'Golden Tiara' poking through directly above the far right potted division. The 'Guacamole' is actually shading/hiding a single root of 'Platinum Tiara' and a couple of shoots of 'Feather Boa'. What you cannot see in this picture are about 3 or 4 'fortunei Hyacinthina' in the planter and on the cap we have another 6 or 7 'Bright Lights', three ''Dream Queen', a couple more 'Feather Boa', 'Guacamole' in both #1 and #2 pots, as well as another 'Golden Tiara' for good measure. Certainly a good deal of what is presently in the planter will get potted up come spring. The 'Sum and Substance' is coming out for sure and will go into the spring garage sale, there will be 'Revolution' division and there's a 'Morning Light' underneath that all which needs more room and light.

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