Garden Photo of the Day

Hostas: A Wide Spectrum of Green

By Kim Charles

'Blue Angel'

Here we are back again in Sue Strong's NW Arkansas garden that is chock full of over 100 varieties of hosta. Enjoy this sweet feast for the eyes!

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'Francis Williams'



'Paradise Island'

'Paul's Glory'

'Queen Josephine'

'Stained Glass'



View Comments


  1. Maggieat11 01/31/2017

    Lovely varieties... and great companion plants. And the garden accents always add a touch of interest. And Oh! That Peony is stunning too! Thanks for sharing!

    1. NWAgardener 01/31/2017

      Good Morning Margaret - I agree, companion plants do make a huge difference. In any garden there are stars and supporting actors and we often overlook those in the supporting role. I love garden accents and most of mine play supporting rolls or add whimsy. 'Bartzella' is an Itoh peony which increases in size (and beauty) each year. It has lovely foliage, too.

  2. user-4691082 01/31/2017

    I just can't wait to add Paul's glory after seeing yours. Your gardens are beautiful! It's fairly bare here in Pa, so I just can't wait for spring! Thanks for sharing!

    1. NWAgardener 01/31/2017

      Hi Rhonda - my 'Paul's Glory' was one of the first hostas I planted here, so it's been in the ground five years and gets larger and more lovely each year. It's bare here in NW Arkansas, too, but I have noticed that my crocus are about an inch out of the ground, so I should have a little color soon.

  3. user-7007498 01/31/2017

    Sue, it is great to see your garden again with the wonderful hostas. Making me yearn for the return of summer. I enjoy seeing established clumps of hostas, as I try to look for additional cultivars to tuck into my garden. It is sometimes hard to envision the real beauty in a small nursery pot. I love the coloration on 'Lakeside'. 'Wheee' looks pretty cool, as well.

    The photo with 3 hostas, labeled 'Stained Glass', which I think is the hosta on the far left. Do you know the name of the hosta in front right. I love the color variation on that one.

    Thanks for sharing.

    1. NWAgardener 01/31/2017

      Thank you Kevin - the picture titled 'Lakeside' is actually 'Lakeside Paisley Print'. Lakeside is a breeder with many lovely varieties. You are correct - 'Stained Glass' is the hosta on the left. 'Sum & Substance' is on the right and 'Rainbow's End' is the variegated one in front. It's a real winner - great color, one of the first out of the ground in the spring, and it holds it's color until the first frost. You should definitely add it to your lovely garden. 'Wheee' is wonderful, too, and the name makes me smile every time I think about it.

  4. User avater
    meander_michaele 01/31/2017

    Good morning, Sue, it's such a delight to see additional pictures of your gorgeous hosta. I couldn't resist a smile at the perfectly named 'Wheee' being placed near that luminous peony...I would feel similar childlike exhilaration myself in the presence of something so special. Is the peony one of the Itoh varieties? Is your garden ever plagued by voles? and if so, do you have a secret recipe or strategy to discourage them?
    The quality of your photos is outstanding, by the way. The hosta seem so crisp and well defined.

    1. NWAgardener 01/31/2017

      Good Morning to you Michelle! 'Wheee' is truly a happy plant. It gets more ruffled and lovely with age, so I'm excited to see how it looks this spring. The picture above was taken its second year in the ground. Yes, the peony is the Itoh variety 'Bartzella'. I am hoping to add another Itoh to my garden this spring, so I'm anxious to see if our local nurseries have some nice new offerings. I don't have a problem with vols but that may be because I have a cat and my neighbors have cats, too. They are great little hunters.

      1. User avater
        meander_michaele 01/31/2017

        Oooh, I have a 'Bartzella' also and really love it. It seems to be good about increasing the flower count each year and I'm also already getting excited about this upcoming spring. The rippling edge effect on 'Wheee' definitely adds to its allure.
        Sigh, you are right about cats helping so much in convincing the voles to live (and munch) elsewhere. I didn't start having a problem with them until our two barn cats went to kitty heaven. I'm not sure why I feel reluctant about starting over with a new set of cats. I guess I keep hoping one or two will show up and adopt us and our property. The thriving vole population is my punishment for being a procrastinator.

        1. NWAgardener 01/31/2017

          NC Yarden may have some suggestions which I just asked him/her to share.

  5. WinstonSalem 01/31/2017

    I am looking forward to adding more hostas to my shade garden. You have inspired me. Do you have a good mail order source for hostas or do you order them locally? I'm in piedmont NC in Winston-Salem so if anywhere here has suggestions, that would be good too. Thanks.

    1. NWAgardener 01/31/2017

      Good Morning Ellen - I have the good fortune to have a couple of excellent local nurseries from whom I buy many of my hostas. In addition, our Lowe's carries some new varieties each year. However, the local selection is limited and I am increasingly ordering the majority of my new hostas from Made In The Shade Gardens, an exclusively hosta mail order nursery. They have hundreds of hostas from which to choose, the plant size is substantial, the plants are healthy (I've never had one fail), their prices are reasonable, and the website offers lots of helpful information. In fact, I just ordered 15 new hostas from them this weekend! Five of the hostas pictured above were from Made In The Shade Gardens.

  6. User avater
    Tim_Zone_Denial_Vojt 01/31/2017

    Sue, so great to see more of your collection! I know it's not a hosta, but I recognized Bartzella right away. A stunner, and finally more widely available. Lakeside Paisley Print is a beauty; all the more so set off by the dark Heucheras. Queen Josephine is one of my favorites. The glossy, rich foliage makes the green so dark and luscious, set off by the variegated border, and smaller so as to fit in any garden!

    1. NWAgardener 01/31/2017

      Hi Tim - I'm hoping to add another Itoh peony this year. They are a bit pricey, but I love the way their strong stems support their blooms. My 'Bartzella' has tripled in size since I planted it three years ago. 'Queen Josephine' is lovely and holds its beauty through the hottest summer weather. I got mine at Lowe's year-end closeout for a couple of dollars! Funny how we remember bargains. :-)

  7. NWAgardener 01/31/2017

    Thank you Diane - I share your love of 'Stained Glass'. I am at the point now when I often have to remove a duplicate plant when I want to add a new one. It's worth the sacrifice, however, and it makes my fellow gardeners/friends/neighbors happy to receive a "gift". I just planted my 'Loyalist' last year, so I'm anticipating some nice growth this spring.

  8. Chris_N 01/31/2017

    Wonderful, Sue. I keep your posts bookmarked to use as references for great hostas!

    1. NWAgardener 01/31/2017

      Thank you Chris. It is helpful to see pictures of hostas (or any plant for that matter) in "real people's" gardens as opposed to catalogs. I just ordered 15 new varieties, so I will have lots more "ammunition" for future posts. I also discovered that YouTube has some wonderful hosta videos. You might enjoy some of those. Pintrest is also an excellent source of lovely hosta pictures, although some are not identified and that can be disappointing.

  9. NCYarden 01/31/2017

    Hostafarian, indeed! Love all of these. I have always been fascinated by that oily sheen 'blue angel' puts on. I have such a huge problem with voles that it has curbed my hosta inclusion as I test my new planting methods (that thankfully appear to be providing the strong deterrent I was hoping for). But as I just got the new Plant Delights catalog, I realized I flagged a good number of hostas once again, many of which are here in your pics. I am looking forward to planting some in all the new woodland garden space we just cleared. FIngers crossed. Your photos today have certainly applied a little pressure. Beautiful, Sue! Thanks for sharing.

    1. NWAgardener 01/31/2017

      Good Morning - the leaves of 'Blue Angel' do have a nice sheen, however, I must admit that I had just watered when I took the picture above and that is why the leaves look extra shiny. Please share your new methods for controlling voles. Michelle (meander1) just asked if I had any suggestions and I had none other than to get a cat. In addition to Plants Delight Nursery, you might also enjoy checking out the Made In The Shade Garden's website. They specialize in hostas and offer hundreds of varieties. Five of the hostas above were purchased from them. There are also other online nurseries that specialize in hostas. I envy the fact that you have enough room for a new woodland garden!

      1. NCYarden 01/31/2017

        Hahaha, silly me - suppose I could have guessed a fresh watering, but I still find it interesting how that oily effect develops on this one through the season so that by the end of the summer it is so shiny.
        I will check out Made in the Shade Garden for sure. I just happen to have the benefit(?) of living 9 miles up the road from Plant Delights...a blessing and a curse.
        Thanks Sue.

        1. NWAgardener 01/31/2017

          Oh my gosh - to live 9 miles from Plants Delight Nursery - pure heaven!! I live 3 hours from Made In The Shade Gardens and always look forward to my annual trip up there with my brother and sister-n-law. I do get many hostas from them via mail order, but it's much more fun to "visit" the plants and demonstration garden in person. I told Michelle (meander1) that you might be able to share your new methods for discouraging voles. I know she will be hoping to hear from you. Thanks!

  10. User avater
    LindaonWhidbey 01/31/2017

    Sue, you always ramp up my hosta envy when you post your large array of gorgeous, slug
    damage free, hostas. It's hard to pick a favorite but 'Paradise Island' is one that I may have to try in my deer free area. As Tim said, that Bartzella makes a beautiful background plant but one of mine is now in its second year and has definitely pushed itself into center stage. Thanks for sharing.

    1. NWAgardener 01/31/2017

      Hi Linda - yes, 'Paradise Island' is lovely and the picture doesn't do it justice. You should definitely add it to your garden. 'Bartzella' is a rapid grower here, too, and definitely takes center stage when in bloom; however, I also love it for its beautiful shiny foliage.

  11. GrannyCC 01/31/2017

    Gorgeous, a feast for the eyes. A great record of your collection and a few ideas for my shady spots.

  12. greengenes 01/31/2017

    What a treat seeing your hostas today! They are all so varied and beautiful! I really like the curly leafed kind. You must not have any trouble with voles. I so love your bartzilla too! I have one and i love it! But mine is in full sun and i dont think a hosta will grow next to it. These are fun to see this morning...thanks Sue!

    1. NWAgardener 01/31/2017

      Hi Jeanne - I don't have a vole problem (at least not currently) and it may be thanks to my and my neighbors' cats. My 'Bartzella' gets full sun, but 'Wheee' is behind it (north) and under the canopy of my dogwood.

  13. user-7007496 01/31/2017

    Gorgeous, gorgeous, gorgeous!!!!!

  14. schatzi 01/31/2017

    Gorgeous photos! I love Bartzella = such a beautiful yellow peony. Mine is 2 years old in my garden and I wait for it to bloom every spring. My favorite hostas are Fire and Ice and Wheee! How could you not love it with that name? and the beautiful wavy leaves. You must not have a slug problem, like we do here in the PNW. I have to be careful siting my hostas or buy the thick leaved ones. Gorgeous garden.

    1. NWAgardener 01/31/2017

      Thanks Shirley - 'Fire & Ice' was the first hosta I planted when I moved here. They line my front walk garden and I love them, too. I bought 'Wheee' because the name made me smile and it only took one year for the leaves to get wavy and they get wavier and better each year. That's one reason I love hostas - they evolve and get more lovely as they mature. I have very few slugs. I think part of the reason is that I use compost in lieu of mulch to dress my beds. The compost doesn't give them a shady retreat in which to dwell as wood mulch does. If you use wood mulch you may want to try compost in one of your beds to see if that makes a difference.

      1. schatzi 02/01/2017

        Thanks, I will try that.

  15. user-5117752 01/31/2017

    Hey Susan! Yes, yes gorgeous photos and more gorgeous hostas!!! That 'Wheee' got me this time! You're making me spend a fortune on hostas this spring ( just love finding someone to blame for my obsession)! Simply can't wait! Our temps have been bouncing up and down so much, I don't know what to expect or when!

    1. NWAgardener 01/31/2017

      Hi Judy! Our temperatures are all over the place, too! At least my hostas are staying below ground, but I worry about my daylilies which are almost all sprouted now as well as many other perennials. I know we've still got some harsh winter weather ahead of us. Today it will get up to a sunnny 60 degrees and I am on way outside to rake the never-ending leaves that blow in from all my neighbors' yards. It's just glorious to be out on a day like today - even to rake leaves. I'm happy to be the inspiration and scapegoat for all your hosta purchases. 'Wheee' is definitely a must have. I placed an order for 15 new hostas this past weekend and some of them were based on recommendations from my last hosta post. It's fun to share information.

  16. meta_chalker 01/31/2017

    Hello Sue. What a wonderful collection of Hostas you have. I can only grow a couple of them in my hot Florida climate. Wonderful to see what there is available in your climate.
    So healthy looking as well. Thanks for sharing.

    1. NWAgardener 01/31/2017

      Thanks Meta - I moved to NW Arkansas almost six years ago from Fort Myers, Florida. One of the greatest joys is being able to grow all the plants I grew up with in New England - hostas especially. Florida sure is nice this time of year, but I really enjoy the seasons (including, but not as enthusiastically, winter).

  17. Cenepk10 01/31/2017

    Pretty ! Paul's Glory is fantastic. Love hostas ...

  18. tennisluv 01/31/2017

    Sue, probably the last to post on your beautiful hostas. I am quite envious of your ability to grow so many beautiful varieties. In North Georgia without much shade, my options are limited. FYI, the combination of the Bratzella Itoh peony paired with the Hosta 'Whee' is absolutely my favorite. Prior to your posting I have never been able to convince myself to pay the price for an Itoh peony. You just suckered me in. That combination will exist in my landscape in the very 'tiny & moist' area that I have. Thanks so much for your posting. Know that I will enjoy EVERY hosta that you are able to grow and show.

    1. NWAgardener 02/01/2017

      Thanks so much Sonya! Here in NW Arkansas I, too, am only able to grow hostas in shaded and semi-shaded locations as the summer sun is so intense. Fortunately, about half my garden areas fall into that category especially now that I have planted lots of trees and shrubs. I'm glad you have decided to plant an Itoh peony. Barzella is exceptional since yellow peonies are rare. If you buy a peony this spring be sure you purchase a potted and not bare root plant as bare root peonies should only be planted in the fall. I know that because I planted a bare root plant by mistake one spring and it wasn't until it failed mid-summer that I did my research. Fortunately, it did come back the following year, but still was not strong or big enough to flower, so hopefully I will finally be rewarded with flowers this spring. Since peonies can live as long as humans, think of the purchase price as an investment and if you move be sure and take it with you. I'm so glad you enjoyed the pictures of my hostas. I keep adding to my collection which currently contains 105 varieties. I will add at least 20 more this year, so I should have lots more pictures to post in future years as they mature.

  19. user-3565112 02/01/2017

    Good morning Sue, Sorry I am late to your posting. Your hosras look terrific & I want to thank you for mentioning Made in the Shade. I contacted them last night re: questions about sun tolerant plants & they responded within 15 minutes. They don't list Barzella but they did have a some recommendations.
    Good luck, Joe

    1. NWAgardener 02/01/2017

      Thanks Joe - Made in the Shade only sells hostas and the reason 'Bartzella' was in the last picture is because I was photographing hosta 'Wheee'. If you check with your local nurseries you should be able to find 'Bartzella'. If you are planning to plant one this spring be sure to buy a potted plant and not a bare root plant via mail order. Bare root peonies should only be planted in the fall, so if you go bare root, wait till the fall. Good luck!

      1. user-3565112 02/01/2017

        Thank you , It was my mistake. I thought Bartzella was the the hosta & sun tolerant . Made in the Shade gave me some info. re: hostas in full sun. I've put together a list based on some of yours & their catalog. I think Made in the Shade will be a pleasure to deal with.
        Thank you & good luck this spring, Joe

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