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Re: Pictures of Hostas doing badly

My complaint with such lists, both this one and Kevin's, is that I don't think that lists made in such a manner have much meaning. (I'm speaking only about the list Kevin posted, not what may or not be in his article.) You say that one purpose of the list is to warn new hostaphiles to stay away from these plants. Obviously there are some no-brainers on the lists, but there are also Patriot, Frances Williams, Great Expectations, and others that I'm not convinced belong.

If you include some explanation, which Kevin plans to do, then I have less of an objection. I simply don't think that people new to hostas have the means to evaluate the list and make their own decision. Are they going to know that many, if not most hosta growers think Patriot is a pretty good plant. Do they understand that whether you should grow Great Expectations probably depends on where you live? Why would you want to warn a new hosta grower in Wisconsin away from Great Expectations because people in the South can't grow it? And I'm not a fan of Frances Williams or any of it's variants, but I'm told that it's not a problem in the North. If you're going to publish a list with no explanation, then I think it should include only those hostas that are absolute losers, and except for the drawstring problem, I can't think of all that many. I think I've seen good plants of every one of the varities on Hank's list except Lunar Eclipse. I heard that even that one can be grown if you cut back the first flush, but I would agree that it's probably not worth growing a plant if you have to do that.

I am all for putting out as much information as possible, and I agree that there are a relatively few hostas that shouldn't be grown. But just because a hosta might not be easy to grow everywhere doesn't mean that nobody should try. I would agree though that those of us who are selling plants that we know can be a problem should make more of an effort to warn people that the plant may not be among the easiest to grow. The problem is that unless you have the luxury of writing detailed descriptions, if you say anything the least bit negative about a plant, most people won't buy it, and many plants don't deserve to be totally ignored even though they might not be perfect.

If you want to see how I can justify selling a plant I don't like, go to www.bridgewoodgardens.com and read my description of Embroidery. (Anything to get you guys to my catalog. I have no shame)


Hank Zumach wrote:

Because the recent discussion has involved the list I compiled last summer, I
thought it might be helpful to re-post the following message that I sent out
when the list was posted at the Library.

Hi All--About 2 weeks ago I started an admittedly unscientific poll of the
members of Hostapix, Hosta-Open, Phoenix, and Hallson Gardens Forums, asking
that people name their LEAST favorite hosta varieties.  Bob Axmear has agreed
to put the results on the Hosta Library.   OK, OK, So "Loser's Lane" may have
not been the most diplomatic name choice for  the new listing at the Library.
Maybe "Difficult Dozen" would be a more tactful choice (the fact that the list
has 15 entries is a mere technicality).  Simply calling it "Difficult to Grow"
might be the most acceptable.  I'll leave that up to Bob Axmear when he adds
the list to the Library.

The basic idea was to compile a list of plants that are problematic for many
gardeners so that newer hostaphiles can avoid them.  I don't claim that the
list is without flaws but it is probably a pretty good starting point.   I can
imagine modifying/adding to the list as time goes by.  I will admit that the
"rules" for inclusion on the list could be called "arbitrary".  I prefer the
word "informal".  61 people named a total of 81 varieties.  I simply tallied
up the votes and decided that those varieties that got at least 4 votes would
be included.  Here is the way the voting went:

1.  Lunar Eclipse  10 votes
2.  Brim Cup  8
3. Fire & Ice  7
4. Cherry Berry  7
5. Great Expectations  6
6. White Christmas 6
7. Color Glory  6
8. Flame Stitch  5
9. Super Nova  5
10. Knockout  4
11. Patriot  4
12. Tattoo  4
13. Frances Williams  4
14. Sea Thunder  4
15.  White Centered Varieties by general acclimation.

I included the last category because there were a number of white centered
varieties that were mentioned but  did not get enough votes to make the list.

Hank Zumach
Stoddard, WI

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