At our last Garden Club meeting we had a speaker come in to talk about hostas. He’s the president of our area’s Hosta Club- who knew there was such a thing? Hostas are big, with good reason, around here. Big trees mean big shade, and everyone knows hostas love shade. We all know they aren’t picky about soil condition and can more than put up with our weather extremes. Everyone here has hostas, even me.

But here’s where it gets interesting/crazy. This gentleman has over 1,500 varieties of hosta in his garden.

Fifteen hundred different hostas.

Gobsmacked I tell you!

For one, all hostas are basically green, blue-green, yellow, or white and perhaps some possible combination thereof. Who knew there are 70 species of hosta and over 3,000 registered varieties (some 6,000 total including non-registered varieties)? My mind was blown. And then I starting wondering to myself if there was any plant that I felt a burning need to collect all or most of. The answer was a pretty easy “No”.

I adore my irises, but I don’t want a National Collection as there are many that simply don’t appeal to me or match a color scheme I have in place. Baptisia? I’m in love with them. But I don’t fancy the brown-ish varieties and find most of the white ones too creamy and yellow for my liking. I can honestly say there isn’t a plant that inspires that kind of drive/obsession in me.

I’m absolutely obsessive about gardening, just not about specific plants. The real question is: Are you? Do you know someone who is? What is the plant that flames those obsessive tendencies? How does a love affair like this begin and how does one sustain it? I’m utterly fascinated and want to learn more so don’t be shy! Tell me your obsessive plant loves!

7 thoughts on “Obsessive?”

  1. Obviously I was obsessed with herbs for decades….going through my “sage” stage and “lavender” stage with probable excessive greed. Then it was daylilies, heucheras, coneflowers. I think I’m past the obsessive stage, although agastaches and tritomas seem to be gaining momentum!

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  2. Colchicums. Why? They were growing at the first house we owned, and so I started researching them, and found out there wasn’t much info out there. Then I started collecting them because . . . because I could? New varieties were hard to find, so part of it was the thrill of the hunt. I have over 50 different kinds, and I now know there are a lot of species I’ll never be able to grow without constructing a special bulb frame so they stay dry in winter. Don’t think I want to go that far. I’ll just stick with what can grow in my garden, and maybe push the zone a bit and try some that are supposedly only hardy to Zone 6. They’re fun because they have a very weird growth habit. There are a lot of other plants I have several of, as Jackie Everts said above, “peonies and all spring flowering bulbs.” And lemon yellow daylilies. But colchicum is the only genus I’m really trying to acquire every single one that will live in my garden.

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  3. Hostas do not excite me at all. I do get momentary obsessions about various genera, but they usually last just a couple of years. I have certain species that are long-term favorites – but that’s usually just one species, not something that would drive me to have a collection of varieties.

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  4. I like hostas only because my yard is mostly shade and they do grow into those lovely balls of variegated greens. And they tolerate my lack of gardening skills…..Cortney is my daughter, and her master gardening skills came from another part of the family. She got my charm! How lucky am I to have a master gardener who loves to make my yard pretty. lucky indeed!


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