So years ago when we lived in apartments I would dream of the things I would do in our future house. A lot of those dreams involved plants outside, which I'm sure was mostly because the closest I had ever gotten to that were some potted plants out on my apartment patios or decks.
I dreamt of clematis vine for one -- so I planted some last year and this year it was absolutely gorgeous!! And then some critter ate ALL of it. Seriously, one day it was full and blooming like crazy, one day it was all GONE. I may have shed a tear. I don't know what animal likes to munch on clematis -- anyone know?
So that one happened, if only for a couple weeks. Another one was planting a shade garden. I'm one who actually loves dark dreary days, so I think that's why I'm always taken with the photos of beautiful shade gardens filled with dark foliage. Most of those included hostas and I quickly became obsessed with them.
Fast forward to a couple years ago when a friend moved into a gorgeous house with a beautiful garden -- but the garden was taking up all the lawn space for her kids. So she sent out the word on the Internets and told us all we could come take whatever we wanted. HELLO. That's heaven for a thrifty gardening girl like me.
I got plants for free that week because I have an awesome friend. But I'll share how you can also get some of these plants for free here in a minute. Awesome friends may be required there too. ;)
I grabbed a GORGEOUS full peony, even after talking to our landscaper friend who told me they don't transplant well. I could not resist it, duh. But he was right. It died immediately. I also grabbed some huge landscaping rocks to add to ones we already had in our landscaping (you can see those in the garden tour here).
The best finds were when I walked back there and there were TONS and tons of hostas. Glee! I couldn't believe it. I had always heard hostas were only for full shade and didn't think I had a good spot for them, but hers were huge and booming in full sun to dappled sun. So I dug my little heart out and threw them in the back of my car. I did two trips with the back of my car full of hostas. It was a beautiful day. :) (Thanks Andrea!)
This is the side of the house I had in mind for most of them:
Obviously I hadn't done a thing to this area. I didn't even clear the grass when I planted them -- unless you kill it first pulling up grass is seriously one of the worst things EVER. Goodness I hate it:
These things are pretty hardy -- they did OK that first season, but it wasn't till last year that they really perked up and started growing like crazy.
Initially I planned to add more types of plants to this side but I fell in love with them so much (and they got SO big) I just went with it. I added a few more this year, the last of which I planted yesterday:
I thought hers were huge when I planted them but I had no idea! They are so gorgeous -- I absolutely love their big leaves. Oh and by the way -- I just laid the mulch over the grass. I didn't kill it or anything -- just put a good layer down and it did the job. ;)
It wasn't till last year that I realized they bloom:
It's only for a few weeks of the summer and the storms we had yesterday took off a bunch of them (I had to go out late when it stopped raining, hence the twilight photos).
I have a thing for purple and red flowers so the blooms fit in perfectly around here:
So here's the thing -- I added a few more, as I mentioned. They are the ones with white on the leaves:
But the cool thing about these plants is that they can be split pretty easily. That means you can dig out part of them and replant -- so if you have any nice friends like I have, you too can create your own hosta garden for free. :)
There's a few tips to it -- you can do it any time, just make sure they are healthy at the time. Spring of fall is best (as with most plants) and spring would be really easy because you can really see where each section is growing. Go for plants that are a few years old at least. The entire plant is made up of a bunch of smaller ones and you just need to separate as many of these as you want:
This is really easy if you've purchased a plant -- you can just cut the sections apart then. Many tutorials will tell you to dig up the entire plant to do this, but if you just need a few smaller sections there's no need to do that. You can pretty easy just separate a few of the outer ones while it's in the ground.
Make sure to water both the one that you took from and the new planting well. I haven't split these just yet, but I did split some of my free ones that I planted in the front yard and they are doing fantastic. (I would have gotten a photo but it rained again. And it's raining now. Always, rain.)
I adore these plants! They are so lush and full:
A few things about hostas -- in general those with lighter leaves can tolerate more sun -- this spot gets morning sun only and it seems to be perfect for even the darker leaved ones that require more shade. I don't think any do great in hot afternoon sun.
They seem to retain water well so they don't need to be watered nearly as much as say, a hydrangea. I rarely have to water these during the summer.
Also -- deer like to munch them. :) So if you have deer they may not last. The ones I planted along our back tree line are little nubs most of the season because of them.
I think they are beautiful addition to landscaping. I love the lights mixed in with them! If you are interested in reading how to install your own landscaping lights like the ones in this post, check the how-to here:
You can really see how much these have grown since then! So many are intimidated by that project and it's one of the easiest I've ever done. I promise!
Because I love those before and afters, I had to show this one -- here is that side a couple summers ago:
And now with my free hostas and a few more I added in earlier this summer:
Of course you can propagate and split SO many plants! I'll leave that for another post because there's so many that you can use to add to your garden this way. Or take them from a sweet friend. If you bring me a margarita I'd probably share. ;)
Have you done this with any plants? Do you love hostas too?