By: Jennifer Bateman | Friday, November 08, 2013
Fresh hostas with renewed dirt are ready to grow next spring.
Flower gardening is one of the many fun aspects of owning a northern Minnesota family resort. We're lucky enough to have some wonderfully mature pine trees on the resort, which create shade. Since much of my growing area is nearly complete shade, I rely on a variety of hostas to grow and give my garden areas some beauty. Most people say, "Hostas are great. There's no way you can kill a hosta! They grow like weeds."
This apparently isn't the case for me. I could write a book and title it "How To Kill a Hosta in Three Years."
In 2005 Bob made some natural stone flowerbeds in the hillside by the lodge. The pine trees don't allow much grass to grow there, so their purpose is erosion control, keeping dirt in place during heavy rains. You would think this would be a perfect place for hostas, but it's more complicated than that (did I happen to mention that I could write a book titled, "How To Kill a Hosta in Three Years"?)
For the past eight years this has been the routine - plant hostas, nurture them to look 'okay', watch them dwindle, eventually dig them up and pitch them in the woods! Then go 'hosta hunting', which means ask all of my friends and family if I can have splits from their thriving, begging-to-be-divided, plants. I plant them, watch them die, and start over again. This isn't really my idea of gardening! I needed to find out the problem, and it turns out the problem is the pine trees and the dirt.
The dirt the hostas are planted in has been taken over by a network of spider web roots, preventing the plants from really getting established and growing. All I can say is, "Thank goodness it wasn't my fault!"
This fall I had some experts from Flying W Gardens come in, rototill the beds, distribute some lime, some gypsum, and some Cow Pow (liquid cow manure - I just love that name). Then they replanted my healthier hostas as well as a truck load of some new hostas (I had just returned from a 'hosta hunting' trip in the Brainerd lakes area).
The deer moved through shortly after planting to give the hostas a good haircut, and uprooting some just for 'fun' (ugh!)
This should help for a while, but I expect over time the spider web roots will take over again. That's okay. I think you'd agree that a tree is more important to keep than a few hostas. I'm looking forward to seeing how they grow next summer!
Until next time ~~ Jennifer
Jennifer and her husband, Bob, take pride in tending to the grounds at their resort. Two Inlets Resort is a quaint lake resort located near Park Rapids, MN.