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I Remember When


If I recall correctly, when you were Editor of the Journal, you said you
were going to ask several people who were into hybridizing hostas, what
they were doing and why....and I was one of those people you asked. You
were instrumental in encouraging me to put my ideas in writing. I did
just that and used this subject as the theme of a talk I gave at the
DELMARVA Hosta Club and later at the Potomac Hosta Club. Kevin was
Editor at that time and asked if he could publish it in the Journal. The
subject was Breeding Variegated Hostas by use of streaked pods parents.

Then just a few days ago, you asked the same kind of question on
hosta-open.You asked who was using Japanese species as breeder parents
and why. It occurred to me that your question was unknowingly focusing
on a change in the strategy I had developed during the last five years.
I have discovered (along with many other people) that some of the
Japanese species (and even Japanese horticultural varieties) have some
unique and highly desirable characteristics that do not exist in
American/European cultivars. I am referring mostly to the features such
as late flowering, heavy ruffling, white backs, serrated edges, twists
in the leaf, red, lavender, brown and purple petioles in which the small
dots of anthocycnin pigmentation sometimes merge and extend up into the
veins of the leaves...sometimes as much as 3 inches. The longipes
species and forms have been found to be a great genetic source for these
characteristics. It is quite easy to find examples of new selections
with a wonderful combination of desirable characteristics. For example,
from seedlings of longipes 'Urajiro Hachijo', now extinct, I have found
several wonderful forms. One of them is simply magnificent. I call it
LUH4. It has ruffled edges which allow the white back to be seen along
the edges even when viewed from above...that's how ruffled they are. It
needs a better name. I plan to take photos of it and will send them to
you for others to see...and drool over. I have fallen in love with it.
It is an eye-catcher for visitors. When Ian Chrystal visited a few weeks
ago, he saw it and HAD to have it. I gave him the first one to leave my
garden. I have seven more...from bud cuttings...all identical like the
seven dwarves in the Snow White fable..

So the pix will be on its way soon. If I wanted to be rich and famous
from hosta breeding, this is the hosta I would stake my good fortune
upon. I no longer am interested in breeding the old stuff. I am into
Japanese species wholeheartedly. You do not get the credit for shifting
my strategy...but just by coincidence you were almost calling the shots
on what I am currently working on. I always knew that coincidences were
SUPPOSED to happen.

 Cuz Jim

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