The National Collection of Hosta plantaginea

The Hosta  Plantaginea  species caught my attention because of  its ability to produce fragrance, something that I am seduced by in any flower.  Mostly I like leaves, ferns and structural plants which are integrated around  the garden at Newtonairds.

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Hosta plantaginea and H. ventricosa were the first plants of the Hosta genus to be imported to UK  in 1790,  by wealthy Englishman and amateur naturalist George Hibbert. Hosta  plantaginea is one of the only species that throws up fresh new foliage all  summer and also one of the few species to
Fragrance is absent in all other naturally occurring  species of hosta. Due to being the southern most naturally occurring hosta, it  is actually more heat loving than other members of the genus. Some of them  require warmth to help encourage flowering, so we have purposefully planted some  of the collection throughout the garden and not just banished them to ’Hosta  Hill’ (shady).


 Some species are used in  cooking where their young leaves are often forced and harvested as a delicacy in the Far East. We have eaten Hosta ‘Fortunei Hyacinthina’,  cut as emerging shoots much like asparagus would be harvested, then sauted in a knob of butter. Very tasty!


 The side of the hosta bank has been  terraced, inspired by the terracing at Inverewe gardens (on a smaller scale  obviously) but also to make full use of another planting surface. At the base of  the terrace I created a raised bed which I covered in newspaper to suppress  weeds and then filled in with many tons of topsoil an adaptation of the method  used in ‘Lasagne Gardening’ by Patricia Lanza.
Another point of interest  is that our Indian Runner ducks do not seem to cause damage to the plants, even  though they rush through them at high


Speed at times, however  they nip off a few young vegetable shoots here and there! On a positive note, they  help keep the slug population down.
We have a limited number of hostas , some of which are from the collection, and that are not generally available at garden centres.Fragrant Hostas such as H. ‘Fragrant Bouquet’, H. ‘Guacamole’, H. ‘Fragrant Dream’ and H. ‘Fried Bananas’
Other Hosta varieties for sale are Praying Hands’ a very  upright hosta that looks like upward pointed fingers in a lovely dark green. There is H. ‘Dream Weaver’ that is green blue  with a striking cream central  flash. For flower arrangers I have H. ‘Red Cadet’ that produces lovely red mottled stems.  We also have a number of other plants , mostly herbaceous perennials, propogated from the garden and available for sale .