H. 'Gold Standard'
Also new for us in 2005, 'Gold Standard' is showing some interesting behaviour, that is if the 6 roots we purchased are indeed as indicated, something that's always a question mark with packaged bare roots and bulbs. We knew from what we read on Hosta Library that it is a lutescent variety and this one here is the first of the six roots to start showing variegation and with it the transformation from an apparently solid colour into a yellow variegated one. So far only one of the other 5 have shown the same behaviour, but to a much lesser extent than what you see here, you can just barely make out the traces of the variegation border. I'll try and remember to take a shot of it soon, like maybe beside this one for comparison.
The missing part of the leaf on the left is because of an encounter of the canine kind. Periodically one of our dogs will be looking desperately for some plant material to chew on, preferably grass or Iris siberica, but they'll grab just about anything if the urge is strong enough. They do this because they have an upset stomach and want to throw up some bile and by chewing grass or something similar they irritate their stomach enough to start that process. If they have no access to grass, or Iris, they'll look for just about anything green and leafy: the tops of lilies or in this case part of a Hosta leaf.
As mentioned above, I did take the time and trouble to line-up all 6 roots we potted up as being 'Gold Standard'. When you see them like this it's easy to see which ones we suspect as having been mislabeled. Wanna take a stab at which three I think are NOT 'Gold Standard'?
Like another lutescent variegated Hosta we have, 'Golden Tiara', 'Gold Standard' also appears to need a fair bit of direct sunlight exposure to complete the yellowing process. We took the plant you see at the bottom right of this picture, transplanted it into a 3 gallon pot and re-located it to the shady side of the North side-yard, not exactly a spot where it sees a lot of direct sunlight. Several additional leaves grew on the root and it even flowered, but none of the additional leaves have gone yellow, they're all very much on the green side. The two pictures below will give you a better idea of how they differ.
The 2 following years one of the 'Gold Standard' plants was placed in 2 different locations that saw a fair bit of sun and both years the plant had started to suffer from burn-out by the time August rolled around.
If you take a close look you will see that the orientation or angle of the plant in this August 20th picture is quite close to what it was in the shot above. The yellow leaves in this shot still bear the same marks of course they do in the picture above and it is easy to see in this shot which leaves developed after it was re-located to this shady spot and which ones got the direct sunlight early on.
Yes, that's a volunteer Snapdragon at the back of the pot.....
From a slightly different and wider angle we can also see the flower scape developing. The white variegated leaf poking in on the right hand side is a 'Patriot' leaf.
Admittedly the colour temperature in this shot is different from the one above (this one was set manually for 'overcast/cloudy', whereas the one above was left on 'auto' and then manually corrected to a colour temperature of 5500ºK in Paint Shop Pro when doing the editing for the website) and that will account for some of the differences you notice, particularly in the yellow variegation. This shot, though a little towards the red side of the spectrum, is more representative of what it actually looks like.
The flowers have a lovely stripe to them, particularly noticeable on the bud on the left hand side of the scape. It'll be interesting to see if it sets seed.
For 2006 this 'Gold Standard' has been moved to a much sunnier location. This cultivar has a reputation for being a vigorous grower and that certainly is true for this one. The crown had just the one plant last year, now it's at four. Which is a good thing, seeing as it's the only one we have left. We'll probably split this crown next year for more plants.
The location we had it in for most of the 2006 summer proved to be a bit too much for it: there was a fair bit of burn-out evident by the middle of August. It did get full sun from about 9AM to about 3PM and that obviously will have to be changed for 2007. Mid-day sun, even at our latitude, is simply not to its liking.
This is where it was in '06: in a new planter, still in it's #3 pot, along with a couple of Heucheras and some Bacopa cascading over the edge to hide all the plants still in their pots. If you look carefully you can see the beginnings of the burn-out the leaves suffered, but, this is a vigorous grower and as long as we made sure there was plenty of water, it kept putting up new growth to replace what had been lost. Reason the potting of the plants was done, or rather not removing them from the pots they were in in the first place, is to make it easier to swap out plants without worrying about damaging root systems. Over the '06/'07 winter the Hosta has been removed from the planter -it will get divided late spring 2007, with one or more of the new shoots being sliced-n-diced- and a nice Black Mondo Grass took it's place. Both Heucheras are maintaining their foliage, so with the swap this planter will continue to give much needed visual interest over the winter.
The planter this 'Gold Standard' was in will probably get either a 'Guacamole' or a 'So Sweet', which are supposed to be quite sun tolerant.
2007 growing season is well over and done with as I write this and while the plant did spend the season in a new location, I did not notice much of a difference in burn-out compared to '06. It was again looking quite ratty by the time August rolled around. And it didn't get divided, like I thought I would do this year, perhaps next year, though there is less of a hurry to do that seeing as I think I have another 2 crowns I rather think are 'Gold Standard'.
What I WILL do in 2008 however, is make sure I truly limit the direct sun exposure of this cultivar as much as possible.
And it will end up getting divided, the pot it's in needs to have the mix refreshed so it will have to come out anyway. That'll be a good time to divide it.
Early August '08 and these two new leaves exhibit a rather unique form of variegation. I have my doubts I'll see this again in 2009, but, you never know, and hope springs eternal.
Well, nothing has become of the anomaly seen above. The pot has been relocated to a spot where there is quite a bit less direct sun on the plant and hopefully we'll avoid the early burn-out this variety has suffered from for the last 3 years. It seems to be holding up so far on June 21st, but it's a long ways off yet till the end of August.
It must like the new location I gave it in 2009, it's now September 3rd and I have never seen it look this good this late in the season. Yes, there is some burn-out evident, but it's nothing compared to the earlier years.
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