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Beauty Curve in Hostas

Open Robins,

Dan Nelson asked if anyone had any ideas for discussion on the
hosta-open Robin.

I have an idea that has been buzzing around in my head. It relates to
discussions on one of the Robins some time ago about the merits of
Golden Tiara as  an all-around good hosta. This subject has a lot to do
with how we perceive hostas. I discussed with myself what is beauty?
What are the attributes we want to see in our hostas?. I listed a few
and came up with the traditional ones we all are familiar with. When you
put them all together we have something we consider beautiful or less so
than something else we compare it to.

If we plot beauty using a numerical scale from one to ten, we come up
with a beauty index, based upon our personal judgment at that time. This
judgment takes into consideration all attributes that add to or subtract
from those characteristics we consider beautiful. Then if we plot these
indices over time, on a chart, we have a series of points indicating our
opinion of how beautiful that hosta was over a long period of time.
Connect the dots and you have a line which is probably curved upward,
then flat for a time,  then curved downward.. This curve (of beauty)
thus plots our opinion over time of our judgment of its beauty.

A very beautiful, excellent hosta may have a curve of beauty that rises
to a high level early in its life and stays there all summer, then may
decline in its index toward the end of the season. It has a high and
flat curve...a very desirable hosta indeed. Another may not achieve a
high judged levelof beauty until much later in the season...and the
index may not be very high...and the plant doesn't show this beauty for
very long. Its curve of beauty is slow to rise as the season develops,
reaches its rather low peak of beauty perhaps in mid-season but then
declines rapidly.... perhaps its colors fade, its edges frazzle, it
declines into obscurity in our gardens with a steep decline in its
beauty curve.

There! I lay that out for discussion. Is beauty too difficult to plot as
one would scientific data on a chart to show patterns, differences in
time, and as a  standardized way to characterize or define beauty in our
gardens? Do readers have a better way of plotting changes in beauty over
the season? Are esthetics so hard to measure? Are we being too
scientific in regards to art and beauty? If so, let's hear your ideas.

Jim Hawes

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