Here at Ravenscourt we face the west and have two-story houses on both sides creating some very shady beds on the sides of our house; with their own micro climates. Having lived in Northern California for a decade or so, I fell in love with ferns and hostas. They are perfect in shade gardens. Hostas and ferns love rich evenly moist soil. We have been working on our soil health for years and it is now rich with earthworms and crumbles easily. We always mulch right before summer to help our beds retain moisture and again before winter to protect the roots from the cold.
I have found two varieties of hostas that can weather our summer and have come back for three springs now. I started with the So Sweet hostas and then added in the Stained Glass hostas the next year.
Hosta ‘Stained Glass’ Plantain Lily forms sturdy mounds of foliage, topped with lily-like blooms. They are hardy in zones 3 – 9 and more sun tolerant than other hostas but prefer light shade. They grow up to 18” and can spread up to 3 feet. Their bright yellow gold leave can grow up to 10’ long and have prominent green veins that give the look of stained glass. They are summer bloomers with fragrant pale lavender flowers. Hummingbirds enjoy their nectar. They were first introduced in 1999.
Hosta ‘So Sweet’ is a herbaceous perennials from the family Asparagaceae. They prefer shade and grow best in zones 3 -8. They get about 6 to 8 inches in height and can spread up to a foot. They bloom during the summer months on nice juicy stock with fragrant white flowers that can be cut and put in a vase. They tolerate heavy shade and are said to be able to tolerate being planted under black walnut trees.
Hostas under our Japanese Maple this spring.