Hostas – Plantain Lily Written by Linda Paquette
Hostas, commonly known as plantain lily, own so many distinctive characteristics that it’s difficult to pinpoint which of them has pushed it ahead of day lily (Hemerocallis) as most sought after herbaceous perennial for home garden in US.
A low maintenance plant, shade tolerant, and hardy in zones three through nine, there are currently over 2500 species of hostas available. Native to Orient, hostas were first imported to Europe in late 1700’s and made their way across Atlantic in mid 19th century.
One interesting fact about hostas is that they don’t reach full maturity until between their fourth and eighth year. Moreover, with each season hostas clumps become larger and wider, colors become more intense and leaf patterns acquire wider variegations, dimples, and other traits like seer suckering.
Grown primarily for foliage, hostas leaves may be either solid in color or variegated and are enough to add a rainbow to any garden with colors that include white, ivory, gold, green and even blue. Moreover, a single cultivar may exhibit striking differences in its foliage, depending on amount of sun it receives.
In addition, hostas bloom in summer with lavender to white lily-like flowers on tall spikes. Those hybridized from Hosta plantaginea not only carry 6-inch long white flowers but add a delicate fragrance to your flower garden as well.
The Home GardenWritten by Charles French
The Home Garden
The garden should be near house and away from trees. If it's some distance away from house, it will not be as well looked after, nor will most use be made of vegetables grown. Vegetables near trees cannot get full sunshine; even more important, tree roots will rob them of water and fertilizer they need to do their best.
If you can, move garden spot every 10 years or so to help keep down diseases. Proper rotation and use of disease-resistant varieties will help, but sooner or later old garden spot becomes so full of various disease spores and nematodes that you cannot grow a good crop of many vegetables without use of special soil fumigants.
Soil should, of course, be well drained. Few vegetables can stand "wet feet." A sandy loam with a clay subsoil is best. Heavy clay soils may be made quite suitable by adding heavy quantities of stable manure or compost, or by turning under cover crops, preferably legumes such as vetch, clover soybeans.
Since best quality quantity of vegetables cannot be duced on anything but a fertile soil, do whatever is needed to make it fertile.
Requirements for growth. 1. Proper degree of heat. 2. Moisture. 3. Oxygen in air is essential for seed germination and good growth.
English peas, for example, will sprout when soil termperature is only a few degrees above freezing, while seed such as tomatoes will not germinate at all.