H. 'Katherine Lewis'
The first new addition to the Hosta assortment in '07. Yes, it's another Costco purchase, so I'll have to keep a close eye on it and be on the look-out for possible early signs of HVX. Well, it never did in 2007 and it looks a if we're off to a good start for 2008 in that regard.
Here it is March 10th, 2007. The package this new cultivar came in said 'Eskimo Pie' and it is the only one of our Hostas to be this far along. With the bagged roots having been in temperatures well above freezing for probably 4 weeks or more, that is quite understandable.
'Eskimo Pie' apparently is medio-variegated with puckered leaves, pale yellow centers and blue-green margins, none of which is visible as yet this early in the unfurling process. If indeed they are as indicated that is, after all, it wouldn't be the first time we ended up with incorrectly labeled bare root bagged perennials from Costco. While in the past I might have simply put up with the error, if it turns out these are not as labeled, they'll probably go for a refund!
Having said that, it wasn't as billed, but it is an uncommon variety in this neck of the woods, so I'll hang onto it. Matter of fact, it's coming back so well and with such vigour in 2008 that at least one of the 2 remaining plants will get divided late May/early June.
It's perhaps a little hard to see in this small picture, but after almost 3 weeks you can see a faint outline of the variegation. It would appear as if the contents just might match the description, hoorah!?!
A little over a week later and the variegation shows better still, which is to be expected of course. It'll be interesting to see how quickly the center of the leaf starts to lighten up, to confirm we have the real McCoy here. I'm a little concerned though that there is no sign of corrugation as yet....And then again, perhaps I shouldn't get too bothered about it. Taking another look at what's in the Hosta Library actually shows little corrugation in the pictures shown for this cultivar. One thing's for sure though, the perimeter of the leaves is getting darker by the day, and that's a good thing.
While the variegation has become quite noticeable and is starting to lighten up by the first week of May, I have this nagging feeling we're not dealing with the real McCoy here. Given where I bought it, Costco, that shouldn't come as a shocker. We'll see how it progresses over the weeks to come, but I may have to call upon the good folks on the various Hosta forums to help me properly identify this mystery plant.
On top of that, out of the 4 crowns that came in the package, one is decidedly different from the other three. The leaves are very lanciolate and a solid green. Again, time will tell what we have there.
It's a nice enough looking plant alright, but it sure as heck doesn't look as if we have what we bargained for. A posting on Hallson's Hosta Forum of this picture, brought three responses and three different answers as to what this might turn out to be: 'Paul's Glory', 'Katherine Lewis' or 'Captain Kirk'. Time will tell which, if any, of these are correct. I must keep in mind that we're dealing with an immature plant here and I can expect to see a rather different looking one once it has matured.
June 15th I stopped by a nursery I'd been meaning to visit for some time and there I saw what sure as heck looked like the variety you see here and it was labelled 'Katherine Lewis'. So I guess it's mystery solved!
Or at least for 3 of them. I'll wait and see what happens with the solid green one and throw it's identification up for grabs next year. It has not yet flowered as of the end of August and flowers could provide additional clues.
By mid May '08 it was rather clear to me that whatever that mystery Hosta was, it was decidedly HVX infected, so it was unceremoniously disposed of. So far the 'Katherine Lewis' ones seem to be virus clean, thank goodness. However, the variety is listed as being HVX prone as is June for that matter, and I'll have to keep a close eye on it for the next couple of years.
One of the three in the package went to Ottawa as part of a trade in July '07, the others were kept back and I'm certainly tickled pink to see how both of them are coming back with vigour on April 12th, 2008. This one has 6 shoots, the other looks as if there will be 4, perhaps 5. Nice to see and another candidate for division, if not Rossizing.
Some refer to KL as 'an improved June' and while they are similar in some respects, for us in our garden they show as two very different cultivars. No doubt there is a family resemblance, as there should be since both are 'Halcyon' derivatives, but certainly for us they are two distinctly different forms. And they certainly show a marked difference in vigour. June has been slowish but steady for us since we got it in 2004, KL has done much better in its first year for us, with both remaining crowns going from single to 5 and 6 shoots this spring.
One of the two was indeed divided and the other, this one here, was given a larger home: a #2 pot. For 2009 it resided in the North sideyard with the pot in a cedar planter filled wtih some more potting soil and a Petunia. A bit of an odd couple perhaps, but we're not afraid here of doing the unexpected.
One of the divisions had a most peculiar fasciated scape in 2009. And it wasn't the only Hosta to exhibit that, several others did to one degree or other, much more so than in previous years. And it wasn't just something we saw in Hosta, we had Sedum and a Lilium do the same thing. From the digging I did on the condition, it would appear as if contributing factors may well be larger than usual temperature fluctations when the meristem is developing as the plant is breaking dormancy, something we certainly saw in late winter/early spring in 2009.
It occurred to me early September 2011 how closely this variety resembles a 2010 acquisition, another 'Halcyon' derivative: 'Paradise Joyce'. I took a few divisions of 'Katherine Lewis' in 2011 and for 2012 I'll make a point of growing similar sized plants of both side-by-side and take lots of pictures. Certainly comparing the pictures of them in the Hosta Library shows quite clearly how similar they are. Supposedly 'Katherine Lewis' is out of a 'Halcyon' seedling, whereas 'Paradise Joyce' is out of 'Halcyon' itself. No doubt as to the family resemblance here.
The two cultivars are shown here late in the season, September 19th 2011, and both are showing signs of senescence, which is to be expected that time of year. The picture does serve its purpose though of showing how similar these two varieties are. 'Katherine Lewis' does show a slight tendency towards what I would describe as a re-greening of the leaves, where there is a blush of green showing up again in the center variegated area, something we do not see in the 'Paradise Joyce' here.
It's difficult to say what, if any, difference there might be in the colour of the seedpods, seeing as none developed on 'Paradise Joyce'. But, there are notable differences in the petioles, at least at this juncture, keeping in mind the 'Paradise Joyce' plant is smaller and less mature than the 'Katherine Lewis' one. The bottom of the petioles of 'Paradise Joyce' are clear of any markings, there is an ever so slight darkening of the very bottom and the center, but barely noticeable, the ones on 'Katherine Lewis' on the other hand clearly show a maroon speckling for a good portion of the lower part of the petiole. It'll be interesting to see if this difference maintains itself as both plants mature.
Next season's series of pictures of these two will make an interesting comparison, I think the early ones in particular will make it very difficult to tell which is which by just looking at the tops of the leaves. BTW, like this year, both will be grown in near full sun placement, leading to a quite light coloured medio variegation. I would expect the variegation to be a fair bit darker with a shadier environment.
You will find Hugo's Database has more information about this variety.