Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Hosta 'Liberty'

Very rarely it seems, does one come across a specimen of a plant that instantly and dramatically takes them aback, especially one of a variety that they are somewhat familiar with. But such was the case this summer, when I observed a relatively mature Hosta 'Liberty' in all its glory in the garden of Bruce Cumpson (Olde Towne Gardens, Niagara-on-the-Lake).

Registered in 2000 as a sport of 'Sagae', it has gained some popularity in the industry, but nowhere near as much as what it warrants, at least in my opinion. Amongst Bruce's collection, it was easily the most dramatic -- a true standout from several metres way. I planted one in my own garden the next day.

I had actually grown it for several years at the nursery, but at some point had became disappointed with the variety. But that has certainly changed after seeing this beauty, and we are growing it once again! It certainly underlines the fact that mature specimens are generally the only way to observe and evaluate a Hosta variety.

Interestingly, it is a patented variety, and I can recall a conversation with Yoshimichi Hirose (variegated plant guru from Japan) who insisted that this plant had previously exsisted in Japan prior to its discovery, naming and patenting in the U.S. Such is the life of Hostas and plant-patents I guess. The new Zilis encyclopaedia lists four other varieties as being similar to 'Liberty'.

In any case, if you are going to plant one Hosta in 2011, make it 'Liberty'. You will not be disappointed.

Here's to dirt under your nails.

Mark, the coolplantsguy


scottweberpdx said...

I have to agree, I tend to really respond more to seeing those large, mature clumps...it's so hard to gauge what they will be like when you are at a nursery surround by 1 gallon pots of plants!

Beech Street Gardens said...

Very cool, I purchased this variety a couple of weeks ago....