Most plants that thrive in dark places are themselves dark. Not hostas--they display many shapes, sizes, and shades of greens, blues, and yellows, and make garden statements ranging from subtle and delicate to strikingly bold. Use the full range of hostas to provide dramatic architectural and sculptural interest to any shady space. A list of recommended species and cultivars for every problem area comes with a guide to all aspects of cultivation and care
Hailing from the Far East, hostas have become almost a cult plant here in the UK and in the USA with breeders striving to create new varieties every year. Originally classified as members of the Liliaceae family, they now have their own family - Hostaceae - although this can cause a few heated discussions! Lush foliage combined with dainty, often scented, flowers in shades of white through mauve, they give an almost tropical feel to a garden. Gently unfurling their luxuriant growth in Spring they soon fill their allotted space with a neat mound of leaves. Plain leaved or variegated, bowl-shaped, lance-shaped, glaucous, golden and blue, their diversity provides an endless source of fascination for the collector. Relatively free from disease they are infamous for their appeal to molluscs. Many a gardener has despaired at this attractiveness to slugs and snails and given up their cultivation. But some well-timed treatment at the start of the season should ensure a healthy plant whilst good garden practice will ensure such pests are kept in abeyance through the rest of the growing season. In borders or containers, in sun or shade, hostas are a valuable addition to the garden, filling out space under shrubs and trees without complaint. Diana Grenfell, President and co-founder of the British Hosta and Hemerocallis Society, brings her unrivalled knowledge to this study, sharing her in-depth, expertise with these fascinating plants and giving detailed botanical facts, cultivation details, propagation, pest and disease advice and ideas on their uses in the garden. Part of the RHS Wisley handbook series, this is a comprehensive and concise look at the genus Hostaceae, fully illustrated and clearly written. Aimed at both the amateur and professional grower, this is an invaluable addition to any serious horticulturalists bookshelf. - Lucy Watson
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