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Archive for October 31st, 2009

It’s been an interesting few days at The Havens.   My moods have varied  from sunnily cheerful to deeply depressed followed by competently healing.  I’m not sure what effect the varied weather we’ve been enjoying has had, but it has been positively multiple in it’s personalities.   We’ve had wind, rain (5 inches), thunder, floods, sun, frost, and mist — and that was just in the last two hours.

I’m kidding.   It has taken five days to accomplish all that.

I have contemplated various subjects, including why my government cannot just bite the bullet and provide for every American exactly what I receive: Tricare Prime for life, how good the white burgundy Jim made from a kit he bought from The Home Brewery is, how the foliage out in the field I usually walk Ruby around has changed in the last four days, what sort of pictures I have of my beautiful hostas that could be grist for a post on Variegated Foliage, when I am going to have time and energy to write a real letter to my old friend K., automobile proof of insurance cards, why Smokey doesn’t like this flavor of cat food today when he did three days ago, when will it be dry enough after our 5 inches of rain in 5 days to pull weeds, why this or that person’s shoulder/hip/neck/lower back/knee keeps hurting, punctuation, gratitude, and I don’t know what all else.

Was that a run on sentence?

While I was folding my linens today, I found a “pair” of white athletic socks.  As I attempted to put them away I realized that my sock basket was way too variegated.  Who would have thought there were so many variations on the theme “Plain White Ankle Socks”.    I mean, even when they are all 100% cotton, there are variations in the size of thread and stitches, and in the pattern of ribbing.    Additionally, across the to there can be red stitches, green stitches, white stitches, no stitches; the socks can have grey toe and heel insets, or some other color, or, etc.   Being slightly obsessive compulsive, I have  a need for all those different variations of sock to be mated correctly.   So I spent some time involved in that, time that I occupied the rest of my brain with in contemplating some of the above subjects.

However, my real purpose here today is to participate in the post on Variegated Foliage being hosted over on Gardening Gone Wild’s blog.  I have been tossing around ideas on how to address this creatively for several days now.   While I was thinking, I sort of lurked about the other posts on the topic.

I was beguiled by a section of the Blogosphere that harbors professional plant people.  The burden of one of the posts I came across was how to have a professional relationship with your clients, agreements, prequalifying them, etc.   This subject goes beyond fiction straight  to fantasy in my Real Life terms.   Until the economy improves, I can’t afford to spend $50 on shrubs for my new stroll garden installation, much less rent backhoes or hire crews to operate them.

Take a few moments to stroll around my archives and see if you don’t understand why that post made me break out laughing.   I should be sending this guy my resume so he can hire me as a laborer.   I’m a champion weeder, I can tell you, and I love to move rocks around.  I built this garden, with some help from Jim:

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There was no back hoe involved, either.   Anyway, you may think that I am off subject but this rock work and path was built to showcase the part of my property that I call the Hosta Dell.  You can just see the edge of it off in the upper right corner of the above photo.  If I had to pick my favorite exemplar of variegated foliage, it would be this genus.   Here is a well matured planting of them in the oldest part of this garden.  It’s what you see if you walk to the very end of the thyme walk and turn to your right.

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This brings me to another part of my gardening blogging career that I have to admit I am sensitive and slightly defensive about.   I know it is important for plants you are posting pictures of to be identified, just in case a viewer wants to acquire the beauty for their own.   Well, nobody discussed this matter with the blue jays.  Also, I had no idea I was going to want to do a garden blog and be taken seriously when I first started working on this garden.   At that time, the internet was in its infancy and the concept of blogging hadn’t even been invented.

I was lucky if I had the energy to finish planting the babies I had acquired through various means after I had finished creating their stone frames.   Plant tags?   Plot plans?   It seemed a ridiculous waste of energy to make a plat of the garden bed I was working on when I knew that in a few months I was probably going to wind up moving everything around again.  That area of the yard kept evolving and changing, things kept having to be moved.  Someday, if I ever get my day lily bed weeded, I may make a post on the evolution of the Hosta Dell.   It is one of the first gardens I planted when we moved in here.   I believe the initial plantings were Passalong Spireas from my mother, followed shortly by a few Hostas I bought from Hornbaker gardens, in one of my most egregious forays into Traveling with Plants.

Add to the fact that I was wont to underestimate just exactly what the description “24 in. h 4 ft. w” truly looks like outdoors.   I know, I know, they warn you about this in the gardening books, and I really thought that I had figured my spacing correctly.   Tsk.   Another fantasy.  When the specimin so labeled is about one year old, 6 inches wide and 8 inches tall at the time you are planting it, it is far too easy to misjudge.   Things look so bare and naked when you plant them the correct distance apart when they are small and affordable.   The “Blue angel” hosta in the back of this picture was just such a baby when I planted it.   It took it four years to get this big.

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The little beauty in the front, Remember me, had to be rescued from under the skirts of the “Angel” this spring.   About three months later I discovered there was another waif hiding under there too, a Turk’s cap lily that I will be moving just as soon as it stops raining long enough I can find the bulb in the muck out there.  The other two I have moved at least three times each as the Hosta Dell evolved, and their tags and names are lost in the mists of time.   Sorry.

So, in artistic terms, the following pictures of un-named friends epitomize why Hostas are the prime examples of why variegated foliage is so wonderful.

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fall color 090

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Add to all this variation the fact that the hummingbirds really like the blossoms of the hosta tribe, not to mention there are enough different cultivars available that you can choose to have flowers all summer.  My advice to you is, if you love these pictures, run along to your favorite garden center and start acquiring your own collection.  There are hundreds of cultivars to choose from.

One of my favorites sources is Hornbaker Gardens, where my eyes were opened to the incredible variety of hostas available.   (They ship too. . .)

Don’t get me started on the Heucheras, which are almost as incredible.  The astute observer of the introductory photo of the Hosta Dell may have noticed that I have quite of few of those beauties dancing attendance on the hostas there.  This one is “Mardi gras”.

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Well, if you’ll all excuse me, I have run on quite long enough.  It is time to take down the laundry that is drying out on the line.   It’s a lovely sunny day, and all those hostas you saw featured above are wilted dead things now.   I need to go clean them up and get them mulched for the winter.    So, if you haven’t had enough of delectable variegated foliage, wander on over to Gardening Gone Wild and follow the links in the comments to more lusciousness.

Y’all take care, now, and come on back soon.

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