Re: Hosta Species
Dear Cousin Clyde,
I enjoyed your listing of your favorite hosta species but surely the
longipes forms should be among them. They are my favorites, not just
because they bloom last...but because they possess many favorable
characteristic combinations, such as stately stems which hold the leaves
erect, but allow a twist now and then as if to show off the leaves to
their best perspective. The leaves often have waves, ripples or loose
piecrusting (that term again, sorry!), and then serrated margins at a
lower level hierarchy within the macro-level ruffling. Petioles vary
from pink, red, lavender, brown, maroon and almost black...all colors
constructed from small dots of anthocyanin colored tissue which may be
separate from others or coalescing with others on the petiole. One of my
longipes seedlings actually has red dots sometimes almost two inches up
into the top of the central vein into the large leaf. The undersides of
leaves often are varying shades of white from the rather fuzzy deposits
of wax on the undersides. There are a few longipes forms which are
variegated...also a few streaked forms exist but I do not have any
...YET. That's my next acquisition priority.
A few years ago, I was given some seed by Jim Wilkins of Grand Slam x
Bumble Bee. I want to publically thank him for these few open pollinated
longipes seeds. They produced a magnificent group of 13 longipes hybrid
seedlings which are so different from anything that I have seen that I
have given them such garden names as Little Slam, Home Run, Slam Dunk,
Three Pointer, Touchdown, Gooaal, etc.
All in all, it is a charming group of longipes hybrid forms, all varying
from each other. Some are just plain shiny green but their charm exists
in the form of the leaves and stems and the overall shape of the plants.
George Schmid has a discussion of longipes and similar, related species
in an excellent article in the new edition of the Journal. I read it
with delight because I have almost all of those he described and more. I
am no longer a collector of hostas...I am a collector of longipes
hostas. I might even speculate modestly that what I have acquired is
perhaps the largest group of longipes growing together in one small
place on earth...on top of Backbone Mountain in Maryland. They grow very
well here in fertile soil at 3000 feet altitude with cool summer
temperatures and good rainfall.
My favorites among all is a seedling selection of H.l.'Urajiro Hachijo'
seed sent to me by a Japanese friend ...identified as 'LUH4'. A beauty,
if there ever was one. I plan to tissue culture it to make it available
as soon as possible so that all can get it and appreciate it as I do.I
have eight young plants from bud cuttings now. They are almost exactly
alike...like the eight Disney dwarfs (or was it seven?) marching off to
work. I will try to get a photo of them for you and the third
Robin...which, by the way, you deserve a lot of credit for initiating
So please consider adding longipes in all its forms to your list of
favorite hostas. If you have the opportunity to come for a visit here in
Western Maryland and see them...please do. You might even return home
with a few you didn't have before.
PS BTW, I discussed this somewhat last year.... I have quite a number
of small plants of H. longipes 'Urajiro Hachijo' now. Those Robins who
indicated interest in acquiring this rare, expensive plant...e-mail me
again please. They are not for sale...they are for trade. Whaddayagot?
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