Beyond Gold (Dutch Hostas)
Two years ago I went to a nursery about 1 1/2 hours away ( a major trip
in garden season). I knew that the owner imported bare root Dutch hostas-
but I knew nothing of the general identification problem.In the full sun
were some new hostas recently brought from his greenhouses. I would add
here that the owner is a retired colonel who runs a very profitable
nursery but in terms of hostas he goes by the wholesalers word.There
were two flats which were astounding. The hostas in these flats were the
most orange color I have ever seen in the hosta world. There were that step
beyond gold. They were labeled 'Gold Standard'. There was not hint of a
border and the leaves were heart shaped. Now I made a major tactical error.
I called the owner over and nicely explained that they were mislabeled. I
swear I did this nicely . He turned very red and explained that he had put
the labels on himself and that they were right.He said that the color was
the proof of the name. I gave him further descriptions of 'Gold Standard'
and said that I did not think that he should sell a mislabelled plant to
the public. He offered me a character assesment and I left. My pride did
not allow me to buy one of the hostas. Or ten for that matter. A got a
speeding ticket on the way home. That night I kicked myself for hours for
not trying to purchase some. Pride be damned. Early the next morning I went
back to the nursery and the colonel spotted me and came up and apologized.
He said that he had done his homework now and indeed there had been an
error but he had rectified it. He said that the plants had been composted
and a stern letter of warning had been drafted to the Dutch wholesaler. I
whimpered and asked him if I might go to the compost and see if I could
salvage some of the plants to buy from him. He smiled meanly and explained
that he would not dream of selling mislabelled plants. I got a second
speeding ticket on the way home.
The color was most certtainly unique. There was no burn and a reasonable
substance. Certainly full sun had played a role in what I saw... but in the
midst of 25 different cultivars they stood out like a beacon. So it goes.
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