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Jim Hawes Trip Report

Jim Hawes Trip report:

A while back I had the pleasure of visiting the home and gardens of
Jim Hawes. What a treat! Jim lives on the top of a mountain in Western
Maryland on many acres in a log cabin overlooking a pond and about an
acre of hostas containing over 700 named varieties. The meandering
paths around the stone-lined hosta beds are a sight to behold. New
beds are continually being planned and prepared for more hostas. I took
9 rolls of film to document my visit. Jim lives and breathes hostas and
has provided the hosta community some of its most scholarly
commentary and explanations of  why things are  in the hosta world. Jim
patiently answered all of my questions and provided clear answers and
explanations (just like his posts). Jim s passion for the unstable shows in
his collection of over 60 named streaked hostas. Using many of these as
breeders he has over 2000 seedlings growing under observation. He
imports and probably has one of the largest collections of hosta species,
most of which can only be pronounced if you can speak Japanese fluently,
which Jim can (among several other languages).

Attached to his log cabin is a greenhouse which was filled with wonderful
and rare hostas that were being nursed along until they were ready for
the garden. One of the first hostas he showed me is a sport of H.  Allen
C. Haskell  that he discovered this spring which has the coloring of
H.  Great Expectations  with a slightly narrower, more pointed leaf
(on this young division) and less rugosity. It appeared to be a very good
grower and definitely beautiful. Jim hadn t named it yet. Another hosta
rarely seen was H.  High Fat Cream , which was beautifully streaked. He
showed me H.  Merlin , a streaked sport of H.  White Magic  and three light
centered, green margined beauties: H.  Born Again , H.  Sound of Music ,
and H.  White Surprise . He had a streaked H.  Fragrant Bouquet  and
H.  Mandrake the Magician , a hosta with white leaves, green veins and
some green stippling when I saw it. Jim also had flats of culled TC hostas
from Q&Z with odd-ball leaves. He is beginning a study of these little
rejects which may result in some wonderful new sports. Stay tuned....

Next to the greenhouse is Jim s Tissue Culture Lab which I was very
excited to see as I would like to start one as well. I asked him to show my
wife and convince her that I really needed one (I think it worked).

Jim s Gardens contained rows of hostas and beds of streaked breeders
including H.  Breeder s Choice , H.  Crayons , H.  Torchlight Variegated ,
H.  Christmas Tree Gala , H.  Little Wonder Streaked , H.  Seventh Heaven ,
H.  Sea Tornado , H.  Diane Gray Dalton  and many others. He had beds
of species imported from the orient. One of his latest breeding programs
revolves around the species H. longipes and includes H.  Little Slam  and
H.  Slam Dunk , both seedlings of H.  Grand Slam  and H.  Red Spats  a
H. longipes F2 hybrid. Look for more in the future.... Another breeding
program involves H.  Chirifu  a streaked and mottled H. montana. Jim has
named some of its seedlings already. A very promising new breeder.

Other Hawes introductions include: H.  Yellow Flame , a H. ventricosa
 Aureomarginata  sport with a bright yellow center on the new leaves.
(Check out AHJ Vol. 28, #1 for a wonderful picture); H.  Parkey s Prize , a
sport of H.  Birchwood Parkey s Gold  with a green center (a mature clump
is a sight to see); H.  String Bikini , a narrow white centered sport of
H.  Gold Standard ; H.  Lime Tiara , a gorgeous lime-green sport of
H.  Emerald Scepter ; and H.  Lazy River , a white centered, wavy edged
sport of H.  Yellow River . He has a wildly streaked H.  Gold Standard 
sport aptly named H.  Foreign Exchange .

He had a mature H.  Sails Ho  with its unusual eye-catching variegation
(I knew it was eye-catching when my  non-hosta nut  wife saw it first and
went crazy!) He also had a new acquisition from Alex Summers called
H.  Yellow Sails , a yellow streaked H.  Sails Ho  that was fabulous! Jim
told me that Alex Summers once told him  I don t like streaked hostas
because they are unstable,  to which Jim replied,  I like streaked hostas
because they are unstable.  I think I fall into the second camp. They are
a little more work but definitely more interesting.

I couldn t imagine a more enjoyable visit for someone interested in all
aspects of Hostas and I left with many wonderful memories and a new
friendship. I m glad I was able to experience it!

(My apologies to Jim Hawes and the Forum if any of the details are not
totally accurate. I am relying on my memory for much of the information.)


Norm Lesch
Manchester, MD
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