June 25, 2021

With the weather patterns we have been having this year the Hosta I planted along the sidewalk leading to my house have taken off.  I had been afraid that at least one of them had died between the heat we suffered last Fall and the cold snap we had this winter.  Instead, all three plants have thrived and are the tallest and fullest of the last three years.  I mentioned how the moles got the two hostas planted beside my driveway last summer.  Then last winter got the two agaves Melissa had replaced them with.  This is causing me to reconsider what to plant in these two exposed beds.  They receive full sun throughout the day.  No matter what I decide to replant, I know it is going to take more work.

When I looked online, Hosta is a genus of plants commonly known as hostas, plantain lilies, and occasionally by the Japanese name gibōshi.   Hostas (Hosta species pluralis) are America’s most popular perennial garden plant for a simple reason.  They are one of the few plants that thrive in shade, are easy to care for, and easy to propagate.  Unlike many perennials that require laborious work to be lifted and divided every few years, hostas are content to simply grow in place without much work at all.  I have three different varieties planted in the narrow strip beside my walk, and the pink and white hosta (var. Night Before Christmas) is currently in flower.

Every time I see my Hosta it reminds me of a memory with my sister.  I had purchased my first house in Kansas, and she came out from Maine during the summer to see relatives.  She has always planted flowers around her houses, and I asked for advice on what to plant at mine.  The front of the house had a narrow bed along the porch designed for flowers.  The problem was the porch faced north and the gable associated with it blocked the sun throughout the day.  Since most flowers require at least some sun during the day, Marcia suggested I plant Hosta in the bed.  There was just enough room for four plants to space properly.  We went to work, and soon the hostas were planted in my bed.  While I delighted in the hostas during the seven years I lived in this house, the best part was the memory of sharing this work of planting them with my sister.

Thoughts:  One of the mistakes made by beginning gardeners (or neophytes like me) is to put a sun plant where it receives too much shade or a shade plant where it gets too much sun.  We read the tag for the plant’s light requirements, and then ignore the instructions and place them where we would like to see them grow.  Another problem for beginners is defining what constitutes full sun, full shade, and partial sun, or partial shade, and the amount of light will directly impact the plants success.  My work in the lawn and garden has made me realize gardening is not so much about what is produced, as the memories shared in the production.  That is true when sharing yield stories with my gardener friend or remembering times shared with my sister.  Humans have always thrived on shared stories, oral and written.  It is hard to find unity when we fail to listen and discounted another’s story.  Do the work.  Change is coming and it starts with you.

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