Monthly Archives: July 2012

hosta worship

I’ve never quite understood the appeal of the hosta. It’s a big leafy green thing that just sits there. You can’t eat it, and it doesn’t produce colorful flowers. For the longest time, I thought of the hosta as dull landscape filler.

My dad, on the other hand, is a hosta devotee. A few years ago, I called him on a Saturday late in fall. He answered the phone with a very reverent, dreamy quality to his voice. I immediately became suspicious and asked him what he had been up to. He proceeded to explain that as the first frost was nearly upon his central Wisconsin garden, he had just come inside after cutting leaves from each of his numerous hosta plants and was in the process of placing every single one in its own pretty stoneware bowl throughout the house. So that he could worship the leaves just a little longer. Because he loves hostas so much.

I know, Scout. I know.

Anyway. I’m here to say that perhaps I too am becoming a hosta-worshipper. Here’s my story.

Back in March, I bought a low-maintenance, no-turn compost bin at Metro–the big Enviroworld thing you see there. Our yard is small and I was concerned it would be a dominating presence (and not in a good way), but there appeared to be an empty spot along our south fence between a couple larger bushes. I grabbed a shovel and jumped on it a few times to make sure I wouldn’t be covering anything up. I encountered no root structures, and there was no surface evidence to suggest that anything had ever grown or been planted there.

So there it went.

Towards the end of May, Jesse was in the yard mowing grass and noticed a leaf sticking out from underneath the bin. Ever curious, he investigated–and found this sad (and probably angry) specimen beneath:

FORGIVE ME HOSTA! I BESEECH YOU! I checked. I checked! With a shovel! There he sat, all white and slimy, with a few leaves poking out from underneath the bin shouldering the entire photosynthetic effort for that big plant. The compost bin was immediately relocated (thank heavens it had a bottom panel) and within just two weeks,

I was forgiven! I even made an offering of Sluggo to him, sprinkling the organic molluscicide at his hosta-feet, and now his leaves need not fear becoming slug lunch.

I’ve seen the light, as it pertains to the hosta. These resilient plants can stay, and it seems that they wouldn’t care if I said they couldn’t.

These days, I’m filled with the hosta spirit.


and we’re rolling

While the rest of the country burns, either literally or figuratively, we have glory.


I have responded by actually relaxing a little bit (don’t laugh) and regrouping for another garden experiment. In my last post I expounded upon all the reasons why nothing has grown in the back yard, and why things may grow in the front. I have done the research, imagined an intervention (or fifteen), and am ready to implement.

So, in the back planter boxes: it’s all a game, baby. Trial and error. This playful iteration will involve the following adorable little plants that Portland Nursery gave me in exchange for 9 bucks: Bright Lights rainbow chard, Flashy Troutback romaine (how could I not?!), Joi Choi bok choy, and Gourmet Mix lettuce. These puppies are going in the heretofore  fallow raised beds in the back, and we’ll just see. They’re happy and robust and have a lot of potential energy built up in those little bodies. If they don’t make it, well, that’ll speak volumes about my soil. Or something.

In the front: rail planter boxes! On the front porch rail! I’m going to hold off on details in the hopes that we’ll get the first-hand account of their installation from a very special guest blogger.

In the meantime, I also grabbed some big (16″ and 20″)  fake terra cotta pots and plopped them in front of the steps up to our porch.  These containers are sitting in full-ass sun for most of the day. I transplanted one of the pepper plants from the back beds into the 16-incher as a very unscientific experiment. My hypothesis: this potted pepper in the front will go bananas, and the guy sitting in the back yard will remain all runty. Nevermind that they’re two different pepper varieties (padron in the back, jalapeno in the front), are in two different kinds of soil (Miracle Gro Organic Choice outdoor potting soil in the front, endogenous dirt and Black Forest Soil Amending Compost in the back), and that one is in a pot and the other isn’t. Anyway. I also put some of that Organic Choice crap in a big pot and went nuts with carrot seeds. And LOOK!!!!!


I felt a lovely cool breeze of relief when I peeked into that pot this morning and found those guys standing at attention. Like, I almost cried. I put them in that pot 15 days ago and have had a little worry in the back of my mind about them ever since. I’m not sure why this whole gardening thing tickles my anxiety, or propels me towards globalizing–as our dear android Data would say, “making an unwarranted extrapolation” from one minuscule ‘failure’ in the garden to the broader landscape of my life and choices. I have ‘failure’ in quotes because this is a fucking experiment, and in research, results which do not confirm your initial hypothesis ARE STILL IMPORTANT AS HELL and worthy of report.

So here we are.

I’ve got posts coming up on the rail planter experiments in the front, the amazing food we ate and fun times we had when Rachel and Tracy came to visit, and how hostas will outlive the nuclear armageddon and maybe even the zombie apocalypse.

Expect more semicolon overuse and rampant run-on sentences.