Plant clutter!!!

mommabirdMay 12, 2011

I like the "cottage look" for landscaping my Cape Cod home. Nothing fussy, nothing too professional-posed looking, nothing overdone. Problem is - I think I've over-done it! I love hostas of all shapes and sizes. Over the years I've "collected" more than 50 varieties, but usually only one or two of the same type.

I finally put my finger on it today - what I am dissatisfied with about my landscaping. I admired several houses while driving the neighbhorhood today and realized while they might have used a lot of hostas, they used many of the same variety grouped into large runs or large areas.

I've realized mine look very mis-matched and random. Now my problem - I can't bear to just dig up these plants and throw them away! What can I do with all these hostas?

I plan to divide some of the largest and replant them in groupings to get the more unified look, but that will still leave about 30 random ones.

Any ideas on how to get rid of live plants?

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If you are the plant clutterer, I'm the plant hoarder! I started growing African violets 5 years ago, and it got WAY out of hand in no time. I was up to almost 1000 plants in various stages of maturity, from propagated leaves to full blown plants. I feel your pain.

I am in a non-acquisition mode right now, so I have been adopting my 'babies' out. Some to friends for Mother's Day, some for just being friends. I am speaking to a garden club in September, and will try to take a plant for everyone. Some I will take to an independent living facility where I had classes. I'm making a road trip from Maine to Seattle, and will take plants to give away along the way. Like Johnny Appleseed......

For you, Mommabird, I'd be willing to bet that a note to the closest garden club would do the trick. Members would be thrilled to come and take them away for you. Even a post on your local bulletin board may have the same results.

If a friend has a birthday/anniversary/etc., dig one up, and give as a gift, including planting it for them.

If I still gardened outside, I'd come down and trade you hostas for African violets!


    Bookmark   May 13, 2011 at 12:12AM
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I share mine with my neighbors.

    Bookmark   May 13, 2011 at 8:18AM
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While you may have a lot of different varieties, and now hostas are available in every slight variation in color, I'll bet you can identify those that fall into the main categories of green, blue-green, golden, white-variegated types and so on. See what you may be able to do in terms of relocating some hostas and grouping ones that are reasonably alike in that way; or group those that "match" in reverse (the middle vs. outer stripe)--that's fun to find the exact color matches. This might allow you to get more visual flow. The white types to me are the ones that really break up this "mass" effect if just spotted here or there. With the greens, you can sometimes achieve a rainbow effect of transitioning from one green to the next. Or sometimes the leaf shape provides the mass effect or "abundance" you are looking for--a lot of lance-shaped leaves might read as one group if not way too different in color.

Also, while maybe you love ALL your hostas, maybe you don't! I have some that have turned out to be slug magnets or fade a certain way. I've gotten more attached to the very thick-leaved ones. So you might find you are ready to be more selective--divide and propagage the ones you really love.

do you grow any of yours in containers? They do pretty well that way, and it gives you a chance to pot one up and move it around --either 'cause you're not sure you want to pitch it yet or you want to play around with combinations without having to keep digging them up.

    Bookmark   May 13, 2011 at 12:56PM
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Move them to some other section of the yard? Around a tree or something?

Or, can you group them so that there's a gradation or something?

Or, can you split a hosta? And then space them out, and be patient for a couple of years until they spread enough to fill in the gaps?
These folks say you can split them.

and from the link below:

Here is a link that might be useful: Hostas!

    Bookmark   May 13, 2011 at 4:17PM
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Put them on Craigslist as "Free Hostas" ... you should be rid of them in no time.

If you move them so the plants with similar leaves are together, with the big varieties at the back of the bed and the smaller ones at the front, you unify the looks. I've seen it done with collections of agaves and yuccas and it looks better than the "botanical zoo" effect.

Use the ones that stand out - yellow, lime green or whatever - as accent plants among the more sedate green and bi-colored ones.

    Bookmark   May 14, 2011 at 6:56AM
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Hostas are such great utility plants. I have only about 25 of them, all different varieties... but many of them look "remarkably similar" to someone who isn't a collector.

I sort of read you really don't want to pare down your collection - just make it more cohesive looking. My suggestion would be to go over to the Hosta Forum on the garden side; people there oftentimes post pictures of their collections/gardens and that might give you some ideas. The woodland garden of a fellow posting under the name hosta_freak is especially amazing for putting different hostas together. And he's just one of many on that forum who have a certain knack.

    Bookmark   May 14, 2011 at 1:30PM
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How about putting your excess plants outdoors on a table with a sign "Free-take any plants you like". Neighbors will be interested. I think that would work where I live. Make sure you have enough containers for them. Perhaps your local garden store/nursery would provide containers. Or offer THEM your extra plants.

    Bookmark   May 16, 2011 at 6:42AM
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I spent all weekend digging and moving around my hostas and am pleased with the results:
1. I grouped 20 of the same variety in an arch around the side of the house. STUNNING
2. I grouped 15 lime green w/dark border and dark green w/lime border together on one side of the porch. WOW
3. I grouped 12 white w/green border together on the other side of the porch. GREAT

I moved all the "strays" into what I am calling a specimen bed behing my garage. The contrast of all the different varieties is actually very pleasing.

I ended up using all my hostas and they look great!

THANKS for the ideas!

    Bookmark   May 17, 2011 at 8:57PM
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So glad you worked it out and no plants were destroyed!

    Bookmark   May 18, 2011 at 8:01AM
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Would love to see some pictures.

    Bookmark   June 6, 2011 at 10:23PM
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