A Hosta Lover’s Garden

Today we’re visiting with Lonna and Jon in Williamsport, Pennsylvania. They are avid gardeners and particularly lovers of hostas. Lonna started collecting hostas in 2016 and now has well over 800 different varieties. Yes, EIGHT HUNDRED!

The big hosta in the center with the long blue leaves is one of Lonna’s favorites, Hosta ‘Tidewater’. Standing tall behind it is a new addition to the garden, a dappled willow (Salix ‘Hakuro Nishiki’, Zones 5–7).

close up of purple and white hosta flowersWe all know hostas have beautiful foliage, but the flowers can be pretty nice too, blooming at many different times of year. This is ‘Marilyn Monroe’, a late bloomer, coming in at the end of September with these elegant arching flower stems and attractive creamy bracts below each purple flower.

close up of hosta seed pods, some ready for harvest and some notNot content with over 800 named hostas, Lonna also likes growing her own hosta seedlings and has over 200 of them so far. This image shows how to harvest hosta seeds. The green pods develop after the flowers fade, and once they turn brown they’re ready to pick.

hosta seeds and seed pods in an open handHere’s what hosta seeds look like. If you just let the seeds develop naturally, you’ll get whatever hybrids the bees made as they went from flower to flower. Most of your seedlings will have green leaves, but growing from seed can be a fun way to explore hostas and get cheap plants to fill up your garden.

garden pond with conifers and pink flowers planted aroundAs much as Lonna and Jon love hostas, their garden doesn’t only feature hostas. Here an impatiens (Impatiens hawkeri, Zones 10–11 or as an annual) blooms next to a garden pond.

dark green hosta next to chartreuse hostaMany hosta varieties can change their look a lot during the growing season. This is ‘Empress Wu’ and ‘Dancing Queen’ in early summer.

same hostas later in the season with darker foliageAnd here is a shot of the same two plants in mid-September, after the bright colors have faded a bit. Many yellow-leaved hostas will fade to green as the season progresses. The blue color on a hosta leaf is produced by a layer of wax, and summer heat causes it to lose the blue color and shift to a smooth, glossy look.

garden better with various types of hostas growingThe hosta garden looks lush after a rain in August, a reminder from Lonna to keep hostas irrigated right through the summer. Though most hostas don’t grow new leaves after their first flush in spring, later in the summer they are growing the roots and buds that will be next year’s plants, so keeping them well cared for all summer will give you bigger plants next year.

gardener posing above a giant hosta plantLonna poses with Hosta ‘Niagara Falls’. This huge, beautiful plant started as a little division with two leaves that Lonna’s friend sent her in the mail. Clearly Lonna knows how to make hostas very happy in her garden!

If you are interested in learning more about hostas, Lonna recommends joining the American Hosta Society or checking out the Hosta Library. And be sure visit Lonna’s Instagram: @paintedleafhostagarden


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