Thursday, April 23, 2009

Spring is taking its own sweet time...

...but it is coming.  It's inevitable.

If you belong to a church or other similar organization, you know the danger of leaving your car unlocked in the parking lot in August.  You lower your guard for three minutes and some well-meaning soul packs your car with zucchini, some of them the size of a watermelon.  Grocery bags tear from the strain, and your friends thrust loaves of [x]-zucchini bread upon you, where x=damn near anything.  Chocolate zucchini bread is only tasty because you can't taste the zucchini.  It turns to cellulose and water, as it should.

Hostas are lovely garden plants that breed like Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt.  You turn around and there's another Hosta brangelina sprouting up where before there was only one.  Drive around a neighborhood with some serious gardeners in late summer and if you slow down to wave, they'll throw clumps of Hosta wrapped in wet newspaper in your backseat.  Hostas are the zucchini of the garden plant world.

Hostas have fanatical followers.  There are hundreds of varieties now, and hosta poaching is not unheard of.  Some of varieties are as common as dirt, perhaps more common.  The dirt variety is H. ulungata variegata.  Anyone who actually pays for these plants has absolutely no friends.  If you stand around a gardener in August and glance at the bed of the H. u. v., before you can blink they'll load you down with a clump or five.  They'll even get you a box in which to carry them home.

Then there are the fancy varieties, named by people with a sense of humor.  "High Gloss Finish."  "Hip Hugger."  "Let's Get High." "Incredible Hulk."  "Blue Light Special."  These are purchased by people who are in Hosta Clubs.  They dig up huge tracts of shady area and put in major league patches of H.

My experience with hosta first stemmed from attempts to eradicate it.  Then last summer I noticed a bare patch of lawn in front of the Shack in the backyard.  My wife observed that the neighbor across the street had a few giant clumps of H. in front of their house, wrapped in wet newspaper.  This is a sign that they want you to take them.  So figuring that H. would be better than dirt, I grabbed the clumps.  The day after, there were more.  I grabbed them too.

Then the ├╝bergartner down the block placed a wheelbarrow full of a cool little variety of H. in front of her house.  I took those too.  The next day she followed me home and put some on my front porch.  If she does it again, I'll move and leave no forwarding address.

So now, instead of dirt, I have a latent Hosta garden, roughly twenty plants laid out in some sort of pattern in front of the Shack.  I was out observing the Trout Lilies and decided to take a peek at the Hosta crowns.  They're alive, they made it through another Wisconsin winter, and they're starting to go.  In a month I'll have a beautiful spot of green where there used to be brown.

So Hostas aren't so bad.

Respectfully submitted,


1 comment:

Cat Pippitt said...

I have a forwarding address for extra hosta! I inadvertently killed about half of mine a few years ago and have been trying to repopulate from what I have. But that means digging twice...whole thing smacks of effort.