I love my hostas. I get annoyed, in fact, when I hear people tell me how horrible hostas are. Maybe it’s because like me, they grew up where these plants were about the only thing that would grow in shade, lean soil without watering or any care. Except when we kids ran down the row of them and popped the buds, which exploded loudly and satisfyingly while we raced on. Before the landlady came out with her water pail and broom and threatened us for all the world like a wicked old witch from Snow White’s legend.
So when I purchased my second house in New Jersey, there they were. All scattered and lopsided in the landscape. This time, they were there by virtue of the fact that the soil on my property was fertile and well cared for by the previous owners.
But, they were boring. So I would agree that they were the worst landscaping feature on my property.
Until I realized that they had merit. In fact, their carelessness and their variety had a lot to offer.
In the new landscape, I could use a hosta as a counterpoint to many other plants, or alone. These days, I’m even experimenting with dividing them and adding just a couple of other plants and this seems to work.
In my shade garden, I have no less than five varieties living side by side, met by a heuchera, some columbines and a Christmas fern.
Give it a try. Don’t be shy. Put a blue one next to a winterberry. Add them to a border with asters and astilbe along with cranesbill.
They will look fresh all summer long, tolerate wet and wind, and disappear to sleep all winter long.
One of the best things about spring is seeing them pop up from nowhere, and do their job of filling in, and cheering up the darkest corner.
I hope I threw some light on what is otherwise a shady subject.