Hosta Garden: a Shady Solution

My mom has always been a fan of hostas, a leafy garden staple for shady spots. I thought they were nice, but preferred the color punch of annuals and flowering perennials. Hubs was not a fan at all…he thought they were boring. Until now. Now we’re in hostalove.

The great change? We visited a hosta farm…yes, there is such a thing.

On a drive through Western New York, I spied this sign along the side of the road:via DustandDoghair.com, hosta garden, shade garden, hosta varieties, flowering hostas, Murray's Hosta Farm

One hasty louie and we found ourselves at the home of Jerry and Ruth Murray and their sampling of 300 varieties of hostas.

We were familiar with the area-standard green and white medium-leafed variety….but everywhere I turned there were new shades of greens, yellows, and blues in leaf sizes that ranged from dwarf to something I’d expect to see in Jurassic Park.

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The colors on some were so beautiful that they reminded me of a silk plant…too perfect to be real. But here, in front of me, was “June,” her yellow green leaves dipped in a margin of blue green, with streaks that ran to nearly the middle of the leaf. It was exquisite.

The names were as intriguing as the varieties: Night Before Christmas, Orange Marmalade, Whirlwind, Pineapple Upside-Down Cake, Striptease.

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The gardens are set up as a sampler, you stroll and note the names painted on flat rocks along the pathway. There are many to remember, so on arrival you’re issued a clipboard with a four-page inventory sheet that describes each plant’s color, leaf size, flower color and sun tolerance.

After you’ve surveyed the show gardens you can go back to the alphabetical stock area and make your selections.

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While enjoying the view, we began to think of where we could add more hostas to our yard and thought of a water diversion berm in our yard where we’ve planted trees. We lined the berm with a few layers of stacked stone earlier this year…but if the Murray’s had 300 varieties of hostas, our berm had a similar variety of weeds. The trees left the spot mostly shady…and it was certainly too large to plant flowers…so the hostas seemed like a great solution for us.

So, once again we nuked the weeds, and this time we put down layers of newspaper before adding new soil to the top.We’ve revisited the nice folks at Murray’s a few times and selected some lovely plants, and augmented those with bulk and sale hostas from other vendors.

murray's hosta farm, hosta garden, shade garden, hosta varieties, flowering hostas, Murray's Hosta Farm murray's hosta farm, hosta garden, shade garden, hosta varieties, flowering hostas, Murray's Hosta FarmIn all, I think we planted more than fifty in the front and back of the berm. The ends are pretty sunny, so we’ll use annuals or sun perennials when we replenish the plant budget.

We’ll be back to see the Murray’s next year to add different hosta selections in other areas of our yard, but it’s on to other projects for now…starting with soap shredding to keep our new garden from turning into a wildlife salad bar (see Oh, Deer!).

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For more information, visit Murray’s on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/murrayshostafarm