When I get a chance I love to travel, mostly following my kids around in their life adventures. Last week found me in Michigan and I became a little crazed while walking down the street. This is not all that unusual but can be embarrassing for the grandkids. They start tugging my hand and saying ‘It’s ok Gma, let’s go back’. Both in this little town and on the streets of Boston (another kid lives there), there are hostas everywhere! At least I think they are hostas, without the holes and slime it is hard to tell. These are not plants that are loved, cherished and watched constantly. They are growing around telephone poles, in abandoned gardens, around foundations of houses that haven’t seen a gardener in many years.

hosta border unattended
hostas around foundation
hostas tree skirt

When I see plant inventories from Plant Delights, Naylor Creek, and other growers with hundreds of hosta varieties I’m always amazed that Hostas are popular at all. Here in Slugville (not the baseball kind), we are hosta challenged. Our dreams of beautiful tropical spears of leaves and wonderful flowers turn into nightmares. We plant, pick slugs, coddle, pick slugs, fertilize, pick slugs, spread slug killer (organic pet and wildlife friendly, if there is such a thing really), put collars around, (slugs crawl over duh), and put gravel mulch around. There is even the beer method where you get dead slimy slugs swimming in beer to dispose of. One gardener I know takes the morning paper out of the plastic bag and picks snails and slugs for the first hour of her day, EVERY DAY. Still the hostas here look like swiss cheese. The little precious baby ones with tiny leaves disappear overnight with out a trace left to mark its passing.

Why is that! Can we trade slugs for fireflies? How about a two for one, slugs and snails for fireflies. How about developing an insect, bird, or animal that loves to eat slugs while leaving the rest of the garden alone. Or maybe a slug that tastes like blueberries so the Robins will be fooled. Here are a couple of pictures of my hosta!

northwest hosta
northwest hosta

You can see the slug method of cultivation. This is with the pet friendly slug killer around them. Maybe slugs are really pets in disguise. The first photo in this post is one that I inherited with the house growing in an odd place, on an island surrounded by asphalt, planted with gravel and Agaves.   That one is safe for the time being. Maybe someday the slugs will find away to get to it. They are sneaky like that.

Susan Calhoun, The Plantswoman

The Plantswoman

Hello and welcome!  I'm Susan, owner and principal designer of Plantswoman Design. When I'm not designing for others I'm in my own garden growing and experimenting with plants. I want to inspire everyone to grow something. So, join in the conversation and then let's get outside!

Plantswoman Design, Inc.

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