H. 'Thumbs Up'
Such a nice surprise to see this as part of my August 2007 Secret Trade. What's not to like about this one: reddish legs, variegated and good substance, can't wait to see how it does next year.
The batch of 8 varieties I was blessed with in this trade looked a little battered and tattered, like this one. That would be primarily because the lady who grew them had been hit with 2 hail storms within the month prior to shipping. No big deal though, it's fairly late in the season, I'm seeing early signs of senescence all over and as long as these get a decent chance to establish their roots for the winter I don't really care.
In retrospect those were not early signs of senescence I was seeing, they were signs of the presence of foliar nematodes, unwelcome guests that hitched a ride on this plant and at least another 3, maybe more, of the batch of 8 I received early August 2007. That whole sordid affair is detailed a bit more on another page and while some fairly drastic steps were taken, the short horizon is mid August 2008, the long term outcome of the attempted elimination is at least a couple of years away.
This one cultivar seems to have come through the bleach bath quite well, I'd say. We're looking at 5 shoots here on April 16th and that's all very encouraging.
When you compare last year's picture of this one with some of the others you'll see that there really wasn't much in terms of nematode damage, if any. But I couldn't afford to take any chance as this root had shared a 5 gallon bucket of water with all the others that came in the shipment and odds would have been very high there was cross-contamination because of that. That's why this one was also bleached.
It's coming right along here, though I must admit to being puzzled and cautious about the minor spotting I noticed on the largest leaf, just left of center. It's little hard to see in a picture with this low a resolution, but something's going on and while it could be a nutritional issue, I do have my concerns.
I think I have figured out what the cause of the spots was: either thrips or aphids, but most likely the former. The pots with my 'bleach babies' are on a shelf in a covered area where I also had some hanging baskets I over-wintered. The geraniums in those proved to be quite the breeding ground for thrips and those buggers of course easily spread to the Hostas. If you look carefully you can actually see some thrips on the lowest leaf on the right, they have now been dealt with.
We're now into the middle of August 2008 and of all the divisions that were bleached it has certainly proven to be the most vigorous one of the lot. It's not as tall as it was last year and given the severe stress the roots were subjected to that is quite understandable. There also is no sign at all of nematodes making a comeback in this cultivar. I'm even tempted to do a division on it because of the excellent expansion of number of shoots/eyes, and I'm also kinda curious to see how the roots are doing.
Almost a full 2 months later and it's still hanging in there on October 13th, 2008. I particularly like the one creamy leaf at the 10 o'clock center position with just the very narrow strip of green.
This was a good grower in 2008 and when it started up in 2009 it simply continued right along the same growth pattern, so I decided it was probably a good time to do an early season division. A total of 4 divisions were made and one of those was a single shoot that has considerably wider variegation than the others, though not as wide as what you see in last year's single odd leaf above. Needless to say that one will be kept back for growing on and at least one of the 3 shoot divisions will hang around as well. Part of the variability I'm seeing probably stems from the fact this variety comes out of a streaked breeder: 'Achy Breaky Heart'
One of the divisions had a fasciated scape this year, something I'v seen on more than just Hosta in 2009.
We didn't see any flowers out of any of the divisions last year. It's a different story this year, with all 3 divisions in bloom by the end of June.
In 2010 one of the divisions -the same one you see to the right,- had another leaf that was half and half, very similar to what we saw in 2009, as well as one leaf that was completely white. There was no point in trying to separate the all-white section, it simply wouldn't survive without chlorophyl. If there is evidence again in 2011 of yet another very unstable shoot on this crown, I'll probably take it as a division, just to see what will happen with it over time.
Some more information can be found in Hugo's Database.