Friday, April 2, 2010

Everything's coming up.....Hostas and such

This is one of my most favorite times of the year around our yard. I'm always pleasantly surprised to see that my perennials return after winter. Not sure why they wouldn't, but it makes me feel like more of a real gardener when they do.

Validation - I gots it.

What's happening in my garden you ask?

Grape Hyacinths. For the most part, these were here when we bought the house. I've added a few, but I can't take credit for the majority of them. Around the other side of the tree, I'm trying to create a 'river' of them, but it's not coming about as quickly as I'd like. Not sure if these little guys naturalize or not - I think I'm just going to have to plant a whole bunch more and then over plant with some sweet woodruff (or as we call them - daisylooking plants), as grape hyacinths don't last for too long, in fact, their 'leaves' emerge full force in the Fall, get all shitty over the winter, then the flowers show up in the Spring. Then they die back. Such is the cycle of life.

Below are some Stars of Bethlehem. I love how they burst out of the leaves (see all the leaves? they're part of my weekend plans, yay me.). They'll get a bunch of little white star shaped flowers on them after a while. The flowers close up at night and open up again in the morning. These were already here too. We've got loads of them. A bunch of them are growing in the dirt patch between the front beds and the street. I'm slowly digging them up and moving them into the beds, so they don't get trampled.
More bursting. More leaves. Jesus, that's a lot of leaves. Luckily, they all sort of fuse together and peel up off the ground in these big leafy sheets. Which exposes all the worm poop below. Our earthworms are PROLIFIC. They have been hard at work over the winter, and they make the best dirt. Luckily, CrabbyC and Tex are coming over on Sunday and I'll have some help getting the leaves up. I'd love to leave them on the ground, but they are a tough barrier for a lot of plants to get through - it's sad to uncover anemic looking sprouts, and sometimes the leaves get caught around my tulips and create a kind of choke-hold on them.

Vicious bastards, those leaves. So, we have bursting and choking. FUN.

The hosta beds have been cleared out, but so far, not too much action going on in them. And I have to put my sign out.
This is our corner. It's another work in progress. I've got some hostas in here, along with a couple of ferns, a grassy plant, vinca, and a chrysanthemum. It gets a fair amount of morning light, so I may, at some point, try a few things that like a little AM sun out here - just to see how they do.
What absolutely loves this bed is the daisylooking plants. They spread out and create a lush groundcover that other plants poke up through. I highly recommend. All of my woodruff came from CrabbyC's garden. The stuff below was one or two stems that went in the ground 2-3 years ago. And this is March/April. I can't wait to see it in May.
Hostas are slowly starting to peek out of the ground. I'm a nut and spend at least 30 minutes after work, almost every day, wandering around our property, staring at the ground and futzing with the soil.
These are from the terraces.

Here we have Red October:

And Guacamole. I hate avacados though. But Guacamole hosta is pretty cool.
That's all from the terraces, because right after I took the picture of the guac, I stepped right on another emerging hosta and freaked out. So much for the up close and personal approach to the terraces. At least until these things come up a little further and I can spot them more easily. Easier? Whatever.

The success I've had with this guy (one of CrabbyC's legacy hostas) in a container has got me considering potting up some more this year. This one has come back for the last 2 years.
A source of frustration for me in our peninsula garden is that emerging lily-of-the-valley and hostas look damn near the same. Since I can't remember from year to year where I've planted what hostas, and the peninsula is completely filled with lily-of-the-valley, I spend an inordinate amount of time trying to tell them apart.

This is a hosta.
These are lily-of-the-valley.

You see the problem.

Because of my addiction, I regularly scour the racks at our local nursery for new babies. I picked up a few items on our last trip. We went in for praying mantis egg-things and came out with more hostas, and no eggs. Story of my life.

This guy is 'So Sweet'. Aw.

And this is 'Regal Splendor'. I have this guy already - maybe even 2 of them. One isn't looking so good out back, so I may be doing some replacement work.

I take chances on sale items. This is 'Hosta Assorted' - so it's anybody's guess what's in the pot. He's got lots of noses popping, which is a good sign. For $2, I'll stick it in the ground (or maybe a container!) and see what comes up. I have another one of these guys on the deck from last Fall, waiting to be planted. I should start another bed and just plant it full of the $2 international hostas of mystery and see what I get.
It's supposed to be 80 today and close to 80 over the weekend. I plan to spend most of my time outside, cleaning up the gardens and getting a bike ride or 2 in. I've got to get some miles under my belt before the Cancer Ride in July. Especially if I'd like to shave another hour off my time and finish before they start dismantling the end point this year.

If I don't have a chance to post again before Sunday, everyone have a happy Easter or Passover or whatever you happen to celebrate.

I celebrate chocolate and champagne. And hostas.


  1. I just got around to looking at your blog. Love it! You sound like me, there isn't any such thing as too many hostas! I can tell you, grape hyacinths do naturalize, and very well. They reseed and come up everywhere. They were here when I moved here, and maybe have been here since the l950s, and there are thousands of them! I too am working on creating a river of them, thru the woods, and they are doing pretty well for the first year. They transplant very easily this time of the year. Look out for star of bethlehem, tho, they can be really invasive once they get a root-hold! So can lily of the valley. I've had to dig them out where they made such a mat of roots that nothing could come up between them. Happy gardening!

  2. For years now, I've been thinking of planting grape hyacinths in my yard (Zone 7b), and your post has inspired me to take the plunge, shitty winter foliage and all. :-P I'm also taking the hosta plunge...armed, of course, with diatomaceous earth and sweetgum balls to head those marauding slugs off at the pass.

    Looking forward to reading more about all your gardening adventures! (I found your blog via my sister's site, Why Architects Drink. Hope you don't mind that I linked to you.)

  3. Found your blog through Welcome to Chaos. Cool pics. jim

  4. Hi! I feel like such a dork because it's taken me this long to comment back. Ugh - sorry. My freaking blog is blocked at work (it's some auto-blocker program or whatever) and I can't get to comments while I'm there - which is the majority of my days. But anyway - hello to you guys! I'm so excited to have more than my mom reading this stuff. Link away Miss Kitty (love the name) your sister's site is a hoot - I love it. OK, anyway - I just wanted to say HI and let you know that I wasn't ignoring you. Not that you'll ever see this. :) Deb