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New Member Bio [ long ]

Hello Hosta lovers. I am a walking and bending challenged gardener from
Wichita, Kansas. Six years ago I bought a 1929 vintage house in the beutiful
College Hill Park right next to the park. We have brick steets and stately
oaks and elms that form tunnels over the streets. The squirrels and birds own
the place and put up with our houses, cars, and walking around. As for
gardening, well, they give us permission to do what we want if they can do
what they want. 
I have a steep slope where my front yard meets the sidewalk, and when my son's
foot nearly went under the lawnmower while tending it, I just killed the grass
and started bringing rocks in from the countryside. I didn't know squat about
rock gardening but had a hunch it would give me some satisfaction. Didn't know
what I was getting into. Three years later, I have what me and my wie and kids
have named "The Hopping Rock Garden". No the rocks don't hop. But when I was
setting the largest rocks in place, I needed help, and my kids are always
underfoot when I work outside [I don't discourage their company]. In order to
give them some ownership of this new garden so they would remind each other
not to trample the plants there,  I consulted with them on the placement of
the rocks. This worked better than I ever could have imagined. Now they want
to help when I am planting or dividing and our rock garden is actually looking
like it might someday be completed. 
Now I get to the part where I tell you why I am here.  There is a large maple
at the bottom of the slope, and another at the top. One end of my 40 foot bank
is heavily shaded by them. I thought I could fill the slope and bare spots
under them with plants appropriate for the light level and soil type. After
years of losing plants there I have finally run into the advice that maples
are one of the worst trees when it comes to sucking the water out from under
the plants in the garden. I would cut them down if they weren't 50-60 foot
beauties. However, My lovely wife had purchased a Hosta lily not long after we
moved in. I had never heard of them and couldn't believe she spent $11 on a
plant whose flowers were irrelevent. But it grew on me. They also survived
under the maples, almost as well as the Vinca Major.  Eventually we saw more
Hostas and learned of their variety. We knew that if they weren't so expensive
we could fill our shady slope with them. A local friend has given me
catalogues like Shady Oaks and White Gardens and I now see and appreciate the
wide variety and beauty available in Hostas. We also learned that Hostas from
seed are not the most sought after ones. Nevertheles, I bought a pack of mixed
Hosta seed from Chiltern and have them on the 70F degree mat on damp paper
towel in petri dishes waiting for germination.[and bagged] I am open to advice
on what to do next.
My three year old Francis William has not grown appreciably even though I
fertilize it twice a year [time release]. My clay is heavy and wherever I
amend with rotted leaf mulch, peat, or , this soil gets washed away in the
next hard rain. I am forever re-setting some of my stones and may have to
'pave' some areas to keep the rocks steady enought to walk on. I wonder if
anyone else out there is fighting sweet gum or maple roots, and maintaning a
heavy clay slope and how they cope. I also want to know how to treat my little
hostalings when they sprout. I have a timed light in my basement and prefer to
plant into a soil called Bacto[dark]. So far it looks like I came to a good
place for this. I am also saving my money to drive a few hours to go to the
Sunshine Nursery near Yates Center Kansas as rumor has it their Hostas are
large and inexpensive. I don't dare open the expensive catalogues as I have a
lot more desire than money. 

Tim Chavez
Wichita Kansas z 6

In the future I will keep my posts short or person to person.
I also have a digital camera if you want to see my slope.

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