hort.net Seasonal photo, (c) 2006 Christopher P. Lindsey, All Rights Reserved: do not copy
articles | gallery of plants | blog | tech blog | plant profiles | patents | mailing lists | top stories | links | shorturl service | tom clothier's archive0
Gallery of Plants
Tech Blog
Plant Profiles
Mailing Lists
    Search ALL lists
    Search help
    Subscription info
Top Stories
sHORTurl service
Tom Clothier's Archive
 Top Stories
Disease could hit Britain's trees hard

Ten of the best snowdrop cultivars

Plant protein database helps identify plant gene functions

Dendroclimatologists record history through trees

Potato beetle could be thwarted through gene manipulation

Hawaii expands coffee farm quarantine

Study explains flower petal loss

Unauthorized use of a plant doesn't invalidate it's patent

RSS story archive

Mary Chastain

Hosta Open,
I just came back from a visit to Tennessee, and Mary Chastain's Garden.  I must say, that Mary knows something about growing and hybridizing Hosta.  Her environment is not too different from ours, with heavy clay soils and scorching summer heat.  She and Roy have dealt with this by using an artificial shade cover (no competition from tree roots) and using massive additions of organic material (looks like they were mostly put on top of the clay).  It works, as the Hosta are spectacular, specially considering the dry hot summer we have had.

What was most impressive, was the fact that the Hosta did not have any signs of the stressful conditions of this summer.  Well, I should qualify this.  The Hosta that she has hybridized and selected showed no evidence of damage.  Some of our favorite varieties have not faired as well.  Several had brown edges and looked like they were finished for the year.  It is not growing conditions, as these plants are right next to her selections.

I would walk out into the beds and feel the leaves, and was always impressed by the substance (may have a lot to do with the resistance to heat).  I have seen a lot of discussion on the Robins this summer relating to the heat and the toll it is taking on the our Hosta.  Mary is doing something about heat tolerance by selecting plants from her hybridizing program that can withstand the often stressful conditions of the south.  Living in the south, I applaud this effort.  However, the plants are not just tough, they perform well and are quite beautiful as well.

I have also had to modify my opinions about why Lakeside Black Satin is such a dark green color.  She has seedlings coming along that are so dark that they have a reddish sheen from reflected light.  L. Black Satin does not even compare.  I think Mary is right, the dark leaf color is in the genes she has been working with.  There will be some interesting varieties come out of this breeding program.

The reason for my visit, was to talk to Mary about growing some of her new varieties in the lab so that everyone can enjoy them.  We have spent some time in discussions with Hosta hybridizers and continue to hear that TC labs just use the hybridizers for a source of new varieties.  The time, expense, and effort of the hybridizer goes unrewarded unless the hybridizer uses exclusive contracts with the TC labs.  We think that this is not right and prevents new varieties from getting into the market rapidly.  Therefore, we are going to produce plants for the hybridizers and allow them to add a royalty to the selling price.  Hopefully this royalty will help compensate the hybridizers for their efforts to bring us wonderful new varieties.

We are going to grow some of Mary's new varieties for her using the royalty program.  As new varieties are registered, we will put them into culture and offer the resultant plants to growers so that they can get into the trade rapidly.  The royalties will hopefully help sustain Mary's painstaking efforts to bring us wonderful new varieties.  This first year, we will offer Lakeside Sparkle Plenty, a most unusual variety.  This plant comes up gray green, turns bright gold, and then develops an emerald green edge.  An attractive addition to this array of colors is its bright orchid flowers.  We will also offer some of her older varieties (L. Kaleidoscope, L. Lollipop, and L. Looking Glass and possibly some others).

However, I think the best is yet to come.  She has some unregistered seedlings that will knock your socks off.  Mary is so critical in evaluating new seedlings, that it takes some time before they are saved from the trash heap and registered.  In fact, I saw one seedling that I thought was spectacular, but does not have what it takes to satisfy Mary's discerning eye.  Personally, I can not wait to see what she registers next.

Jim Anderson



 © 1995-2015 Mallorn Computing, Inc.All Rights Reserved.
Our Privacy Statement
Other Mailing lists | Author Index | Date Index | Subject Index | Thread Index