06 June 2008

Livin' la Vida Hosta

Just back from a flying trip to Rothesay, New Brunswick, where I had the great pleasure of meeting with the Fundy Gardeners, a great group of gardening enthusiasts. Thanks to Steve Nason, the president, for the invite, to Lynn and Peter Kinsella for hosting me at their wonderful house, and to the highways of New Brunswick for being so great to travel on.

Lynn had told me that her husband was not only a great gardener, but he was passionate about hostas, and that as a result, they have a LOT of hostas. Well...she wasn't exaggerating. In fact, I would say a LOT is an understatement. Something between 4-5 hundred--different cultivars, not five hundred plants of the same variety. Everything from the miniatures that could grow in a tea-cup to the massive plants like Sum and Substance, in every size and colour combination between. It was blissful to see all these marvelous plants, each one labeled, each one growing at its own size and speed, each one distinct and cherished.

I've been in gardens with a few dozen, or even a hundred or so different varieties. I'd never seen anything like this, however. Peter adds mushroom compost to the soil, which hostas (and other plants) just love. He also sprays a solution of ammonia to combat slugs, and finds this very effective. He's had problems with deer in his tulips, but so far, not in his hostas--whether they don't like the ammonia, or dislike Plantskydd, they're dining elsewhere rather than on a hosta buffet.

The Kinsellas don't just have hostas--they have a host of flowering trees and shrubs, perennials, container plantings, and lots and LOTS of garden whimsies, and it all works really well. I especially like the juxtaposition of neatly-growing hostas, with their methodical and regular patterns, with unique and fun garden art pieces.

Though it was a fun trip, it was also hectic, and I was limited in my Internet access, so once again, I'm behind with visits and comments and replies, oh my. And let's not even discuss the state of my garden, also known as the jungle. But it's a happy jungle. Doesn't have quite so many hostas as this one, but I'm inspired to collect a few more now. Just a few.


  1. Wow, that's A LOT of hostas! They have a wonderful garden, thanks for sharing.

  2. I love hostas. But this looks like deer heaven to me. I expect the deer around here--the ones who eat my front flower bed hostas--to look into our windows.

    Robin at Bumblebee

  3. Don't fret, Jodi ... life has a hold on all of us. A joy to catch up with your earnest post. My passionate 'hosta heart' beats with Lynn's husband. A lovely post with great photos ...

  4. You just can't beat hostas for visual effects of color and texture of foliage and I can get just as excited about that as I do about blooms.

    Jodi, I'm right there with you with being behind in reading and commenting on other blogs. I miss my online friends!!

  5. Jodi,
    Where are you? your comments on other blogs are very interesting and valuable :)
    Hostas collection you are showing looks great :)

  6. This hosta garden is marvelous. I would like to know the ammonia recipe. I do have trouble with slugs eating my hostas. 500 hostas. WOW that would be like being in hosta heaven.

  7. Isn't it wonderful to see someone so passinate about a particuar plant.To see how they use them in their gardens, mixing the colors and textures can be inspiring. I especially like the way he used the hostas as a border along the pathway. I've never seen that done but is something I could incorporate into my garden. Great pictures and thanks for sharing your visit.

  8. You'd think a garden of mostly Hostas would be boring, but it definitely is not. It takes a fair bit of skill to combine so many different cultivars & types to look so good. What a neat garden. Sounds like you had a fun visit. (Ok, I can't resist - those gardeners really put the "Fun" in "Fundy." Sorry.)

  9. Jodi: It was great to have you visit the Fundy Garden Club.
    I learned all about thrillers, fillers and spillers.
    We have a great group of dedication of members.
    Lynn and Peter are great examples of that dedication.
    This summer we have a big bus trip to PEI have you ever
    seen a bus full of gardeners and a large Fall speakers event
    in Sept. (more details to follow) so mark your calendars and
    come on down.

    Steve Nason

  10. I enjoy hostas. But nothing like this. Whew!! As a hobby photographer, I like that the hostas with their forms and shapes can be excellent subjects for both color and black-white images.

  11. Anna-Flowergardengirl
    Hey---I'm not blogging but am reading my buds blogs. I quit doing my own blog so I could do more research and other interest.

    Like---plant up these hostas. I'm convinced after seeing these pics and the use of ammonia, that I could transform my back beds in to something similar to this.

    Great report and picture show. Glad you got home safely.

  12. Hostas grow really well in my shady garden, but I would not have enough room for all the varieties your friends have.

  13. I think this is a busy time for just about everyone.

    This is a very enjoyable post because I love hostas! I had over fifty in my yard in Alabama and I thought that was a lot. I don't have much shade here at all but I still have quite a few hostas.

  14. I saw your comments on another blog. Loved the profile photo of the lined-up cats;)

    Cats, books, gardens--wonder why so many of us share the same passions?

  15. Hostas are beautiful on their own, but I think they also make just about any color pop when planted next to them. Beautiful plants and wow...what a garden!

  16. B-E-A-UTIFUL! I love hostas for their simple beauty and fabulous choices in variety and colors. These are lovely - thanks for sharing photos from your trip!

  17. I would die for a garden like this! What amazes me is not how many hostas they have (well, that is pretty amazing), but that they're all labelled! Most of my hostas have been passalong plants or begun as small starts from mail order companies that didn't label all of them.

  18. Same as Rose, I always lose the labels or get nameless plants, but admire those greatly who are more disciplined. :)
    Do you know where to find this ammonia recipe? Would like to try this out on my slugs.

  19. How wonderful! I love hostas I wish we had more shade. Now they are in full sun, but seem to doing okay, not great, but okay. :-) Looks like a paradise to me.

  20. The photos of the hosta garden are so lush! Just beautiful!!!! I've always loved hostas but can't grow them in our hot location. It's so refreshing to virtually visit a hosta garden in a cooler clime.

    Cindy at Rosehaven Cottage

  21. I don't have much shade, so have never tried hostas. but have to say, these photos interest me.

  22. Jodi, thanks for great write up of our plants. The comments are also wonderful.For those who would like to try the slug and snail spray, I use 1 liter of household ammonia to 9 liters of water and 1 tablespoon of liquid detergent. It kills on contact but also leaves a residual taste that do not like. I also think that that same taste deters the deer from eating.
    There are lots of hostas that will take full sun.
    If you have a collection of anything, they all should be labled or at least mapped.

  23. Lynn and Peter...thanks for my tour of your garden in mid-may. From the pictures on Jodi's site...what a display and how those hosta have grown. Everyone should stop by to see your "deer deterent" folkart fencing around your vegetable garden too! And they are not just inovative gardeners... check out Peter's turned burl pieces and Lynn is a wonderful rug hooker. A talented couple and I'm happy to count them as friends!
    "Window" Mary


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