Thursday, January 9, 2014

BIG Hosta

I like BIG hosta and I cannot lie... (Sorry, couldn't resist.)

Hosta 'Blue Angel'

I actually used to despise hostas, and swore I would have the only hosta-free garden in America.
My issues were probably due to the fact that they are so commonly grown around here, and are often used alone, in big boring groups of nothing-but-hosta. Or planted in ding-dong looking ring-around-the-rosies around every tree trunk in the otherwise empty yard. Which I still think looks terrible and boring.

Hosta 'Paul's Glory'

But I have now come to appreciate these plants, especially the REALLY REALLY big ones. The bigger the better. They make such a good texture contrast in the shade garden, where everything else tends to be ditty-bitty and makes my head hurt.

Hosta 'Stained Glass'

Hosta 'King Michael'

I have added some large hosta varieties to my garden, and keep adding more each year. It will take them a while to mature and look fabulous. But eventually they will. The pictures in this entry are from my hosta-research forays to public gardens.

Hosta 'Abiqua Drinking Gourd'

Hosta 'Diana Remembered'

Since I gravitate towards the tough-textured ones, slugs have not been a big issue. Possibly because all the slugs of the neighborhood are in my vegetable garden eating my beets. Sluggo works, if I can remember to keep sprinkling it around.

Hosta 'Paradigm' with Japanese Maple

What are your favorite large hosta varieties? In my garden I currently have Andrew, Blue Angel, Brother Stefan, Captain Kirk, Devil's Advocate, Dream Queen, Great Expectations and Sleeping Beauty. I might have space for a few more really good ones...

Hosta 'True Blue'

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Mid-season Peonies at Olbrich

I am very behind in my postings! Let's start getting back on track with some memories of mid-season peonies at Olbrich Botanical Gardens. Olbrich has a fantastic peony collection, with lots of unique selections from Klehm's Song Sparrow. These photos were all taken in early June.

Beautiful Senorita - this striking Japanese type has strong pink petals and fabulous spiky centers.

Herbaceous peony 'Beautiful Senorita'

Fuchsia Jazz - the shape of this herbaceous cultivar is almost tree-peony like. As you can see, eye-popping color!

Herbaceous peony 'Fuchsia Jazz'

Bowl of Cream - one of those super-packed doubles I am so fond of. A very good white with strong fragrance. Seemed to have pretty strong stems for such an enormous flower.

Herbaceous peony 'Bowl of Cream'

Fluffy - I like Fluffy although the name is perplexing. It's not particularly "fluffy" at all - perhaps they had in mind the gold poof at the center. The petal edges are nicely fringed.

Herbaceous peony 'Fluffy'

Coral Supreme - this is one of those WOW peonies. I love coral peonies in general. It would be hard to choose a favorite between this one and 'Coral Sunset'. The dark coral pink slowly fades to apricot-cream. The gradations of color, floriferousness, and overall plant habit make a breathtaking show in the garden. I took about 18 pictures of this one... here are a couple for you!

Herbaceous peony 'Coral Supreme'
Herbaceous peony 'Coral Supreme'

Sweet Shelly - another nice Japanese type, this one with very large soft yellow centers, and short, flat pink petals.

Herbaceous peony 'Sweet Shelly'

Karl G. Klehm - the flowers on this rose-shaped creamy white peony are simply enormous and heavily double. I love the antique look of the blooms, but as you can see the flowers are so heavy they droop seriously - the plant really can't hold itself up at all. The plant in the picture is well-supported, but still the stems fall and weep.

Herbaceous peony 'Karl G. Klehm'

Flame - the picture here does not do this peony justice - the color is an indescribable coral-red, which really does seem to burn with a mysterious inner fire. It was also growing, for some reason, in what appeared to be nearly complete shade. The color carries across the garden amazingly well, and from a distance it appears like a stand of enormous but delicate tulips.

Herbaceous peony 'Flame'

Pink Luau - I remember not liking this peony when I saw it... but the picture sure does look attractive. Certainly a unique peony, perhaps more effective as a close-up than for garden effect.

Hope you've enjoyed my memories of June... Visiting Olbrich is always so torturous - if only I had endless space to add more peonies to my garden!
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