October 2008

We have two varieties of Tricyrtus in the garden at the moment and both of them are now in bloom. You saw 'Blue Wonder' in late September, this one is 'Hirta' and it has a few more blooms on it than the other one this year. Like so many plants, they are nothing really special to look at for most of the year, but they sure are fascinating in the fall and provide a welcome contrast with all the plants that are going down for the winter already.

Among the multitude of Hostas we have there are a couple that have really red petioles, those would be 'Fire Island' and 'Miss Grace'. The latter was the only one of these that actually flowered this year and as you can see the scape is quite red as well. Both of these 'red-petted' Hostas were additions from late August 2007 and were both subjected to the bleach-bath process in an effort to try and irradicate an infestation of foliar nematodes. It was good to see both of them pull through the process and the fact only one of them flowered this year is a minor thing indeed.

The seemingly late flowering of this cultivar is to be expected by the sounds of it, as all the red-petioled Hostas are noted for their late flowering period and it is not unheard for breeders to have to finish the maturation process indoors by placing the scape with the seedpods in sugar-water solution, something I cannot see me doing myself any time soon.

The collection of Hostas that were subjected to a bleach bath last year has been kept under cover to avoid having water splashed on their leaves, just in case one or more are still infected with foliar nematodes. That means they are also at slightly higher temperatures than most of the others and only now are we beginning to see the first signs of senescence in a couple of them. This 'Tattoo' is not of those. Earlier in the year it looked to be struggling and a closer look revealed that the crown really was set a little too deep, so a good deal of the soil mix was scratched back and ever since there has been nice, steady growth. I didn't want to disturb the roots and repot it this year, that'll wait until next spring.

It is quite fascinating the colour changes on this 'Deja Blu' with the 3 green leaves turning first, while the blue leaves still have virtually all of their colour.

Among the more established plants it seems that invariably you will see one or more which start putting up new scapes when the first signs of senescence begin to appear. This here is a 'Guacamole' cluster of buds that represents the promise not kept.

I think you'll agree there is something quite fascinating about the pattern seen in this 'Fire Island' leaf. While it's sad to see all the perennials die back in the fall, there are fairly short periods that offer unique colours and patterns for those who care to look around and observe.

This is the same shot as above, except that the original was cropped in order to hi-lite the fascinating texture evident in this picture, that kind of detail simply gets lost in the first picture. It is almost snakeskin-like in appearance don't you think, you certainly wouldn't suspect this is a Hosta leaf, would you now?