This cute little variegated one is 'June', a 2004 addition we purchased at the Van Dusen Gardens sale last year. Here it is on the 19th of June, 2004. Judging by how it's coming up this year (2005), I expect it to grow itself from just the single point it is now to hopefully 3 or 4 points by fall. It's nice and strong so far (April 6th); though it may not be as big yet as for instance it's neighbouring 'So Sweet' is, it looks big and fat for it's second season in our garden.
This cultivar was the Hosta of the Year for 2001, as selected by The American Hosta Growers Association, and it's easy to see why. To receive this honor the plant must be readily available in the nursery trade for retail distribution and meet the criteria for pricing, which is around $15 in the year of selection.
The Hosta Library says the following about it: "a 'Halcyon' sport and has lovely gold centered leaves with wide blue-green margins and excellent pest resistance and substance." It continues "There is some debate about whether there is more than one sport being sold under the 'June' name. Certainly the plant responds to the season and to the prevailing light conditions very readily." Well, there's certainly no doubt that the one we have did NOT show any gold centered leaves last year, matter of fact the margins weren't what you would call 'wide' either. We'll just have to wait and see how it develops as it matures. The picture below shows somewhat wider margins and perhaps we'll see those 'gold centered leaves' later, though there's no indication the plant is lutescent. Could well be however that, just like 'Golden Tiara', 'June' looks quite different when it receives more direct sun than what it gets now.
It may be a little difficult to make a direct comparison, but here is the same root on April 27th, 2005. You can easily see though that the variegation is heavier and the colours are more vivid.
Now that the plant is a little larger than last year we realize that the location we chose for this plant just doesn't cut it, it will have to move from where it now is so we can have it in much better view and get to appreciate it more and allow it more space. 'June' is not what you would call a massive plant when mature and having it this close to the edge of the planter it is in means it gets lost behind the dog barrier that's in place most of the year. It's sort of tucked away and deserves much better exposure than what it gets presently, time for a re-location in the fall. I want to put it where it gets more direct sun than what it got here and see how that affects the variegation.
By the middle of August '05 our plant is about half way through its flowering cycle and we're pleased to see that a couple of seedpods have formed already, let's hope they produce viable seed. This is the first year we will collect Hosta seeds, all open pollinated. We can't wait to see what will come out of them, but most likely all we'll see will be solid coloured ones, even though the bulk of the seed will have come from variegated cultivars.
The hopes we had at the beginning of the season for new shoots have been dashed, there is no evidence of that; maybe next year?
It is interesting to note that of all the Hostas we have, this one seems to want to hang on the longest in the fall. Not until early November did we see any signs of die-back.
The two pods you see here matured and produced seeds in 2005, about 30-40 and come early spring 2006 they'll be seeded out into a 5 gallon pot and we'll see what happens.
A few seeds did sprout in early 2006 and, as expected, they all were green without any form of variegation. So, none of them were kept. If at some point I want to use 'June' as a pod or pollen parent, I'll go to the original. It's good to know it's fertile.
Certainly from the small TC plant we started with in 2004, it has gone on to nicely grow to a plant with good substance with two shoots in 2006 and it grabs most everyone's eye when they visit the garden. I'll have to make a point of grabbing some pictures of it to give a better impression of how it is doing. We're so taken with this variety that we bought some additional bare root stock at a local nursery's end-of-season clear-out on July 4th and they are nicely breaking ground when I'm writing this July 28th. So, not only will we have more to plant around, but we'll have some for splitting/Rossizing for next year's plant sale.
A few paragraphs up there was the suggestion the plant should/would be moved from where it was originally planted and that has not happened. The reason it has not happened is that we decided to take down the barriers we had up on all our garden boxes to keep out the canines and now that we're down to just one dog, Ace, we have found he is not one to jump into the boxes the way all the others did. We still have to keep our eyes on him and make sure he doesn't jump into the garden boxes, but when he's out in that part of the yard his main focus is on ripping up and devouring grass, something he's very good at. With the barriers removed there is a much better view of the plant -surprise, surprise- and not just this one 'June' but also the neighbouring 'So Sweet'. This picture from early July 2006 gives a good impression of how removing those canine barriers has improved things.
Where we have our 'June' it sees about 3 to 4 hours of morning sun and the plant still stays mostly green and blue, no sign as yet of that gold-centered appearance I speculated it might develop with more sun exposure. Never mind, we think it's a great plant the way it sits and many people who have seen it have made comment on how it looks. It will be interesting to see whether the additional bare roots of 'June' we purchased about a month ago will prove to be which version: the green-centered or the gold-centered, time will tell, soon.
By the middle of August it looks as if the 2 new bare roots are the gold-centered version, but let's wait and see how it colours up next year for final determination. After all, these 2 new additions probably are 2nd year TC's and we shouldn't draw too many conclusions from what we have seen on these 2 roots thus far.
We're now into early June 2007, the fourth growing season for 'June' in our garden and it's now large enough that the leaves at the front see a fair bit of direct sun during the day, whereas the back still stays quite well shaded. It does make for an interesting looking plant. This still being fairly early in the year you see the first stages of course, but by the end of August you'd notice quite the difference in the colouring of the center of the leaves. The ones towards the back are decidedly green, the front ones are much more yellow. You can see the beginnings of that in a couple of leaves already, it gets more pronounced later in the season. This is one cultivar that takes on quite a different appearance depending on the amount of direct light it receives. That concern expressed 2 paragraphs earlier about the green versus the yellow version of 'June' is no more than inexperience with it. It has become quite clear to me this variety is quite the chameleon! And, go back to the top of the page, where it is shown as a small TC liner. A more mature plant shows much heavier variegation and darkens up a fair bit. It looks a different plant when still very young.
In 2007 it sure has done gangbusters in the seedpod department. All 5 shoots (or eyes if you will) on the crown have a scape that is about as loaded as the one below is. Because of decided lack of space it is absolutely impossible of course to sprout all but a very small number of the seeds in these pods next year, and I'm looking forward to seeing what will develop out of them. Others have reported some interesting seedlings out of 'June'.
I am very pleased with how our Hosta 'June' did in '07. Not only was it a good size, it also flowered rather profusely, as you can see from the picture above. By the middle of October some of the pods have started to open up, signaling that it's time to harvest the rest of the lot and grow a few next year. June seedlings apparently can be quite varied in their colour, including reported yellow ones. A nice yellow seedling with the substance of the June leaves would be a nice thing to have, even if it is only a solid coloured one.
In 2008 we added another couple of small 'June'. I just couldn't bring myself to divide the original and it is one plant that always solicits favourable comments from people when they first see it in the yard and I thought we should have some available for sale. These new ones came back nicely in 2009 and here's the larger of the two -to the right in the picture- and it sees much brighter light, as in direct sun, than the one in the ground and I thought I'd bring it close to the more mature one for an interesting comparison of not just the colouration, but also the size/width of the green edge, which is much thinner when the plant is immature.
I haven't bothered counting to see how many shoots there now are on the plant originally planted as a single shoot TC liner back in 2004. It's early May 2009, and from what I recall there are well in excess of 20 shoots on this crown. Impressive!
'June' has been a remarkbly good grower for us and I decided on April 3rd, 2011, that it was time to take advantage of that and do some dividing. So, up and out it came and it went under the shovel and knife. Just take a look at the size of the crown and all the buds that are developing on it. I decided that it would be best to take somewhat larger divisions, with several shoots on the crown, so that it will make a good showing for their new owners when planted in the yard. I ended up taking 3 divisions with anywhere from 6-10 shoots each. In another 2 or 3 weeks they'll be leafing out nicely and will make prime choices when we have our plant sales this spring.
You will find more information about this cultivar on Hugo's Database.