I have a slightly shady part of a garden, that I designed, that this Hosta and Geum absolutely love. What a contrast the red flower of the Geum makes on the rich dark green of the Hosta leaf, it really works well. I love the way small beads of water are held on the leaf of the Hosta long after the rain has finished. This combination is so simple but very effective and best of all, it is “low maintenance”.
I was reminded how useful the Guem is when I saw The Seedlip Garden, by Dr. C. MacDonald, at this years Chelsea Flower Show. Geum “Totally Tangerine”, Euphorbia griffithii “Fireglow” and Iris “Kent Pride” were used for their orange colour in designers brilliant Artisan garden where copper distillery pipes were used.
So Geums are a really good plant, and the one I used in this photo is Geum “Flames of Passion” (wouldn’t you love to name a plant!). It gives a summer long flowering display of small round flower heads on thin stems. Deadheading the flowers is not needed, but trim the flower stems after flowering has finished. When mass planted at the front of a border it would have great impact. But like the photo, it looks equally good planted in between other non variegated plants.
Hostas are also known as plantain lilies. They are herbaceous perennials and a great plant to use in a small or large garden. Their lush foliage and low growth habit makes them an ideal plant choice for a range of situations, including containers, borders, pond edges/wet areas. When I am preparing a planting plan as part of a garden design, Hostas are always included as they are such a good plant to use for our climate. I do stress to the garden owners that the slugs and snails also like the Hostas, so keep an eye on them.!
Hostas will grow in any fertile soil that will hold moisture. So really dry sandy soils and heavy clay soils are out, unless they are improved with plenty of well rotted farm yard manure, leaf mould or compost. Even when planting into a good soil still add some form of soil enricher and water well.
Early spring is a great time to divide a Hosta. Simply dig out a mature Hosta and split it in two equal halves with a good sharp cut of the spade in the centre of the plant. These two halves can be split again, depending on the size of the mother plant. This is a great way to increase the amount of Hostas in a garden.