Garden Photo of the Day

Calling All Hosta Lovers!

Thanks to Cathy Brown for sharing her father's inspirational story!

"Barney Spearman is an 80-year-old hosta enthusiast in Dayton, Ohio, and his backyard hosta garden is spectacular. Barney has about 40 different species of hostas, and probably about 200 total plants, artfully arranged around stone pathways (he personally collected and installed the stepping stones as they were excavated from nearby construction sites.)

Barney likes to feature several of the ”Hosta of the Year” as selected by the American Hosta Society. He appreciates that these plants are resilient, easy to grow, and easy to maintain, and he suggests that gardeners should use these as a guide for planting. While Barney started several of the plants from fellow hosta gardners, he has also purchased many others from local nurseries. His favorites include: June, Stained Glass, Segae, and Paul’s Glory.

Barney’s magnificent garden has grown and flourished, because, once established, hostas can be split into 3-4 new plants every season.  He says, “I have tags to ID each specie in the garden. I merely cut a cross section of a hard wood and used a rigid wire to place the painted ID next to the plant.” Annuals are blended in hypertufa pots which Barney hand makes from peat moss, portland cement, and pearlite. The plants he likes to include are begonias, astilbes, impatients, and ferns. He selects the plants based their ability to grow in the shade."


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  1. frankgreenhalgh 04/04/2016

    Nice garden and stone work Barney. A real credit to you!

  2. jeffgoodearth 04/04/2016

    nice nice nice! I am jealous of your Hosta collection as the voles eat them up here like gourmet snacks, I can only have a few in pots. Happy to see yours so healthy and flourishing

    1. User avater
      HelloFromMD 04/04/2016

      Hi Jeff, after losing my mature hostas to voles, I have a strategy to defeat them. I remove every leaf and bit of debris so any ground is totally bare. With my circle of 80 foot oaks, it's a big job in the fall, but so far it has worked. Not a single open air tunnel.

      1. Cenepk10 04/04/2016

        I do that as well- I found a new hideout yesterday: Right on the edge of a pine straw mulched bed- My cat kills some every day as well- I think I have the equivalent of a small city of the rascals

  3. wGardens 04/04/2016

    Love it! So lush,. so attractive,.so inviting,.Great use of the stones and like the hypertufa pots also. Thanks so much for sharing this lovely garden!

  4. user-4691082 04/04/2016

    I can feel the love as I look at that beautiful garden. Barney, you have a real talent as a designer! Cathy, thanks for honoring your dad and sharing with us...

  5. User avater
    user-7007816 04/04/2016

    Wow! What a beautiful space. I love the way you have mixed the different colors, sizes, and shapes of plants. You inspire me.

  6. diane_lasauce 04/04/2016

    Lovely, do you ever have problems with slugs and if so, what do you do to eliminate them?

  7. User avater
    meander_michaele 04/04/2016

    Cathy, how sweet and thoughtful of you to share your dad's oh, so lovely collection of hosta. They are certainly making my heart go pitty pat. I love all the variety in color, size and shapes...his hosta world is a delight. I share Jeff's sigh of envy because my garden, also, has been hit with voracious voles who love to dine on hosta roots. I am starting to replant my survivors in containers. Seeing the carpet of in ground hosta your dad is maintaining is a real treat.

  8. User avater
    HelloFromMD 04/04/2016

    Hi Barney, Love all those upright hostas. That vase shape is so appealing. We share the same favorites except I went with Paradigm and Dick Ward instead of Paul's Glory. If I get the space will have to add that one too. There is one upright that towers above all the others, what is the name of that one?

  9. Quiltingmamma 04/04/2016

    Lovely hosta garden. Thanks for sharing it. I love the hardwood labels, and hostas as border, love, love it.

  10. NCYarden 04/04/2016

    Amazing. I love seeing large masses of hosta like you have done. It's magical. My battle with voles is so great, but I have been working on a pretty good planting strategy that seems to be that I am able to reintroduce and enjoy them in the garden again. But nothing like this gorgeous oasis you have made here. Thanks for sharing.

    1. User avater
      meander_michaele 04/04/2016

      David, don't think you are going to get away with making a reference to having an anti vole eating hosta strategy and not have someone beg you to share the details...please, please, please.

      1. NCYarden 04/05/2016

        You're right. I should put together a little picture tutorial (even though it's nothing too special or difficult) and submit it. I just planted some more hosta this weekend I'm feeling so confident with the method. I should probably watch being too arrogant though...I am always reminded you cannot win against Mother Nature...proof? - a freeze tonight...ugh!

  11. User avater
    Tim_Zone_Denial_Vojt 04/04/2016

    Go Ohio! I've always loved a tapestry of hostas. With the different shapes, sizes and colors you can have a lovely oasis with one species, and even some cool floral displays. Nice job! I really like the hardwood section signs. It somehow seems more decorative than a metal tag.

  12. anitaberlanga 04/04/2016

    that garden is GORGEOUS! thanks for sharing!

  13. annek 04/04/2016

    Love the hostas and love that meandering stone path. So peaceful. Lovely garden!

  14. Cenepk10 04/04/2016

    Voles eat mine as well where they'd be most beautiful in my garden. Every single time I plant them- multiple times- as I am a slow learner… hehe Spectacular collection !!!!

  15. GrannyMay 04/04/2016

    Thanks for sharing your father's hosta garden, Cathy. That stone path sets off his beautiful collection in a very natural way. Barney, those wooden name-tags are ingenious! .

  16. janeeliz 04/04/2016

    Love your hosta garden.... so very elegantly arranged! The stone paths are wonderful, too, and very inviting. I'd love to be strolling along them now admiring the beauty of each individual plant ....instead of huddling inside waiting for the thermometer to rise enough to go out and safely uncover my Maine garden.

  17. schatzi 04/04/2016

    Spectacular woodland garden! Beautiful use of color and texture, beautiful stone walkways, love it all. No slugs and no voles? Wonderful!

  18. VikkiVA 04/04/2016

    Beautiful Hosta haven. I have long been a fan of hosta and have many in my garden. Thanks for sharing this lovely space. Vikki in VA.

  19. Clarkpark 04/04/2016

    Cathy, thanks for sharing your father's wonderful hosta collection. I also have had a terrible time with voles. One winter the voles created an elaborate freeway system through the grass in my garden room and ate every lily bulb in that area. For some reason they leave all my hostas alone. This spring I have placed a barrier of crushed oyster shells around all new planted bulbs. I will be interested to see if the shell barrier works next spring. ??

  20. perenniallycrazy 04/05/2016

    Sweet hosta garden Barney! I hope they name one after you.

  21. kim_lincicome 04/05/2016

    I miss my hosta garden! Had a lot of them in Ohio but living in Florida now.. :(

  22. randsimmons 04/05/2016

    Fantastic! I so love Hostas and this is an inspiration.

  23. views_opinion 04/05/2016

    Wow. Hard work, Patience, Dedication. Beauty.

  24. foxglove12 04/06/2016

    So, So AMAZING! The photos are so lush and green. I want to walk and explore each path. Excellent job. THANK YOU Barney!!!

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