September 07, 2006

Halcyon days

Halcyon hostaHalcyon is such a wonderful word. It is invariably associated in my mind with the phrase "halcyon days of youth". It's a great word for a garden, too: tranquil, peaceful, joyful. So it's entirely appropriate that this is the name of the first hosta I ever owned. In honour of that fact, I planted another one when I moved into this house. (I do tend to get a little sentimental in my plant choices. They often have connections to former homes or particular people.)

Halcyon is a prize-winning hosta, and there are good reasons for that. Its thick sturdy leaves are slug-resistant and of all the blue hostas, it keeps its blue colour the longest. My picture, I'm afraid, doesn't do it justice. Like almost all hostas, it's tough and uncomplaining, and is happiest with only a little sunlight. The flowers, while unspectacular, are charming and much beloved by bees.

It is sterile however, so it won't set seed. This is an advantage if you don't want volunteers and a disadvantage if you do want them. It is also very slow to establish. In my last house, it took four years to get up to five eyes.

Immature Halcyon hostaAll this makes it sound like a rather placid member of the garden club, but it does have a quiet sense of humour, as I discovered last year. I'd bought a bare root plant by mail this time and I became quite convinced that they had sent me a mini hosta instead. The leaves were much smaller and narrower than I remembered them. I concluded it must be a Blue Cadet, seeing as it was the only mini blue this particular catalogue offered, and labeled all my pictures as such.

Well, it came up with bigger, wider leaves this year and I have since learned that an immature Halcyon does indeed look different. I could almost hear the darn thing snicker as I changed all my pictures back to the Halcyon label, both on my computer and online.

Still, no hard feelings. I'll probably move it to set it to better advantage to prove it.

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Blackswamp_Girl said...

I love 'Halcyon'--had one at my old house, but haven't found quite the right place for it here at the new one. Yours looks really lovely next to the brunnera ('Jack Frost' right?)...

Sigrun said...

Hi Janet, I have also a Halcyon since some years. Last year I have diveded it and given parts to friends.


Janet said...

Yes, it's right next to Jack Frost. The colours play off each other rather nicely.