It took me years of gardening to appreciate the pale beauty of its leaves and flowers, but now that I have learnt to look at them in the right way I can begin to see what other gardeners meant when they extolled the merits of the Funkia.
One has a lot, an endless lot, to learn when one sets out to be a gardener.
The Joy of Gardening, 1958
My husband and I have struggled with the front yard. Steeped in shade, we’ve had a hard time growing anything there. My neighbor and friend kept coaxing the idea of Hostas. I would only shrug and moan while expounding my grievance.
I’ve always disliked Hostas. They are too ordinary. I always picture them grown in an unkempt plain yard, belonging to plain people with a plain house, and they like plain clothing and listen to plain music. No color, no flavor, no caring, no love. Meanwhile, Jeopardy blares in the background under the watchful eye of no one, and the un-mowed grass slowly takes over all plant life. That’s the bizarre place they take me to. It makes me feel sick to my stomach. I don’t want to think about that place.
Beside that, I never liked that single flower spike they throw up once a year… and no one ever chops them so once shriveled and dead, they hang there mucking up the entire landscape for half the summer. Those flowers should be lopped off when they die, perhaps if more people did so I wouldn’t have this ugly vision of them in my head. Also, they are a pain to eradicate. Once they move in and get comfortable you can expect them stay, for they are happy just about anywhere.
But for some odd reason my palette this year can not take the sight of many colors. I sit and yearn to see subtle, calmer shades. White seems to be popping up in the landscape wherever I can plant it.
So at the nursery, with hesitation and a heavy heart, I strolled over to the hosta section, and had a look around. I had to suppress my disgust but I made it through and actually found a variety that pleased me. Its leaves were full, textured beautifully and touched with blue. Hidden underneath its foliage were white stalks speckled with red and pink. “Beautiful,” I said out loud to no one. A nearby staff member agreed with a nervous smile.
It is called ‘Blueberry Muffin’. I immediately bought five of the best specimens. I planted them yesterday amidst some Jacobs Ladder, sweet woodruff, Japanese painted fern, violets and purple astilbe – all the better to enhance the blue tinge of the hosta leaves. Our front yard looks much better now. I can sleep at night knowing that the hostas and I have made amends; the war is over. Perhaps you too have an empty little spot for a hosta. Play around with its coloring or shape and invite other plants along. Like Vita said, they can offer a lot if we only look at them the right way. For me, they lighten up the shadows.