Take my hostas. Please.

Manse hostas

Isn’t this just the most luxuriant spread of hostas? I know it makes me sound ungrateful (to the people who created this garden at the Manse), but it is a little too luxuriant for me. Time to unload some hostas!

I’ve mentioned many times how appreciative I am of the fact that people from St. Andrew’s United Church, Queensborough, planted and maintained a perennial garden for years before Raymond and I bought this old house. The result of that planting and maintenance being, of course, that we have a garden that looks pretty respectable despite my dire lack of knowledge about horticulture and my equally dire lack of time (this summer, at least) to do weeding and maintenance.


People, I will admit it: I am tired of hostas. I mean, I get how they are great because they will grow and flourish no matter what the weather or sun/shade conditions are, and no matter what you do (or don’t do) to them. I totally get how people (St. Andrew’s church members) who planted a perennial garden at a Manse where the inhabitant (i.e. the minister) might or might not have the wherewithal to deal with it would install things (hello, hostas) that require zero attention.

But hostas do spread, it seems. And while I very much appreciate the green they bring to the northern portion of our perennial garden (where there are several planted, and flourishing), I feel the time has come – well, will have come by the time of next year’s gardening season – to put different things in that garden. Like maybe more phlox, such as I planted this year. And peonies. People, I want peonies!

But the hostas are taking up all the space.

So what do I do with them? I gather real gardeners (that is, people unlike myself) know how to divide and transplant hostas and other such things. I, on the other hand, haven’t got a clue. And on top of that, I don’t actually want to transplant half an existing hosta plant anywhere on the Manse property. I have enough hostas!

So, good gardening friends, please tell me what to do. If any of you who live in the area would like some or all of these hosta plants, you are more than welcome to them. They are very healthy, believe me. And if you don’t – that is, if you yourself have more hostas than you need or want, and I expect that includes pretty much anyone who has a garden – will you give me dispensation to yank them out and toss them?

Or – is that gardening sacrilege?

Oh dear. I have so much to learn about gardening. And also: so many hostas to get out of my life.

16 thoughts on “Take my hostas. Please.

  1. You could, of course, bury them in concrete, like Jimmy Hostas. Or wrap them in nice bright paper and offer them as hostas gifts next time you’re invited to dinner. (Sorry, I get silly when I’m in Montreal without my honey.) Seriously, I would leave them alone in the shady northern stretch of garden and move the phlox to the southern side, replacing the brown-eyed susans (or whatever) that have crowded us off the front porch.
    Miss you!

  2. “hostas gifts” — Love it, Raymond!
    Before you move hostas out of your north side garden, you need to consider what will grow in shade. Does that garden get any sun at all? Peonies need at least 5 hours of sun a day to bloom, and phlox are definitely successful in a sunny south side garden. Two plants that do reliably well in shade are heuchera (coral bells) and astilbe. Connan Nurseries will still have some, as may Richter’s, Farmgate, and the garden centres in Thomasburg and Madoc. Plant the heuchera (valued for their interesting leaves which come in many colours and varied textures) in front of the astilbe (pink, white or purple blooms, and you’ll have an interesting shade garden. You could leave a few hostas for contrast. Planting within the next few weeks will give the roots of your new plants a chance to get established before the winter’s cold breath arrives at the Manse.

    I can always find a place for more hostas, so before you bury them in concrete, send me a message!

    • This is great advice, Pauline – thank you! I never know what to plant in shady places (our garden/terrasse in Montreal was all shade), so this is most helpful. I looked up photos of heuchera and astilbe and I think they would be lovely additions to the Manse garden. That said, the section in question does get a reasonable amount of sunlight; that’s where the phlox are, and they seem to be doing well. And I got the idea for peonies because back when I was a kid we had a peony bush there that had the most gorgeous deep-red blooms. (Covered with ants, of course.) Anyway, if the hostas get yanked, I will be sure to let you know!

  3. I hang my head in shame; I couldn’t resist. As the late Flip Wilson used to say, the devil made me do it. … Actually, Katherine, I like hostas. They’re very low maintenance, which I appreciate in a plant, a car, a house … anything.

    • Ah, Jim, it was the old print headline-writer in you coming out! Remember how at the Gazette I used to rail (when anyone would listen, which was – understandably – rarely) against puns? Those were the days…when we all assumed print had a future (per your Facebook post today about the demise of the Ottawa Journal). Meanwhile, at the Manse – would you like some low-maintenance hostas?

  4. Puns? You were against puns? I knew you objected to alliterative headlines, and so I eschewed writing them for that very reason. But puns? I recall writing a few and being secretly pleased with myself, thinking, “Katherine’s going to love this one.” (Winnie does accuse me of not always being totally clued in.) … As for the hostas, I’d be happy to relieve you of your extras, but it would be quite a schlep from Queensborough, Ont. to Verdun, Qc.

  5. We’d like that, Katherine. In fact, I’ve thought of visiting you and Raymond, plus Gordon Beck and his bookstore in Brockville, but I usually take the northern route (Ottawa, Renfrew, Bancroft, Orillia) when visiting family in the Georgian Bay area. Next time we come by on the 401, though, we might just pop in (giving you ample notice, of course).

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