A Host of Hostas


My friend Chambercombe Bob asked if we could find a home for some hostas. I like hostas. I like their succulent leaves which are often washboard ridged; lime and chartreuse, avocado and absinthe, glaucous and steely blue, with variegations of cream and gold.  I also like their spikes of sometimes scented flowers, mauve or white or palest pink.  I like that in Japan, where they are known as urui, the yet to unroll leaves are harvested for lunch.  I even like their original name, funkia, which never fails to raise a smile. What I am not so keen on is the heart break they so freely deal out.  Just one night and the green goddess is transformed into a perforated wreck, perfection has been turned into despair.  I think you know what I am talking about.  Those demon molluscs.  There is an attraction so strong that they will scale the steepest pot, pull their slimy bodies over desiccating soot or skin ripping gravel, risk electric shocks from copper bands and dodge poisonous pellets just to get a taste of the most delicious of them all.  One tiny chink in the defences and they are there, munching like there is no tomorrow.  Which is quite likely if I catch them.  Don’t worry, when slugs die they go to Hosta Heaven and gardeners aren’t allowed there.

Do not fret, this doesn’t mean we said no.  Two will be staying with us, to be potted on and watched night and day.  The others will be part of my planting dating agency.  They are strong and hole free specimens.  CB tended and protected them well.  Let us hope we can keep them that way!

20 thoughts on “A Host of Hostas

      1. To tell you the truth (and knocking on wood), we have a very sunny lot and don’t get armies of slugs and snails. So far, the ones we get are smallish brown snails and smallish green slugs. Before we moved, we lived near the forest. We often saw huge Pacific banana slugs on our driveway and elsewhere. There was much damage to hostas, etc., although apparently slugs do have admirable qualities.


      2. I meant to tell you that my daughter had good luck placing “slug pubs” in her strawberry patch. An empty tunafish or other can is two-thirds filled with beer and sunk into the ground. When the slugs come to take a drink, they fall into the beer and DIE!


  1. I like them too, but they’re a lace doily before I even turn my back. I have to content myself with admiring everybody else’s plants, with only just a little hint of the green eyed monster on show.


  2. You would think that when I lived in Yorkshire with little rain in comparison to the South West, and a sandy free-draining loam, that my hostas would be left alone, but no. A friend arrived late one night and there I was, out with the head torch on and a bucket over my arm, 73 snails was the tally on that occasion. She has known for a long time that I am a keen gardener, but thought 10.45pm was too late to be out hunting snails. I suggested that there might be sufficient for the following night’s dinner, but Mr TT cooked the evening meal and declined my offering.


      1. Maybe, but I have never really fancied eating them, even in France. No way were those snails getting another bite of my hostas, I had a very obliging thrush and left the snails in the vicinity of her nest a long way down the garden. We don’t have any thrushes here, such a shame, they would get well fed.


  3. I have decided to grow mine in pots ringed with copper. They will be marinated in garlic (the hostas not the slugs) and given a mulch of 1 part wood ash, 1 part coffee grounds to 1 part eggshells. Or pistachio shells if I run out of eggs. Maybe a few berberis prunings to make it look nice. And if that doesn’t do it I’m giving up.

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  4. Gorgeous I love them, good luck with keeping them intact. I find life is not long enough, by the time I have killed all the lily and asparagus beetles it is too late to start on slugs and snails. Besides, picking them off is like trying to stop the tide coming in with a teaspoon.


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