Gardener's Grapevine 04.13.2011

Written by David Green.

By Jo Erbskorn

Hello, fellow dirt lovers. Wasn’t it a beautiful weekend? It seems the thought of spring is the thing that gets me through the awful winter months.

Let’s go back to spring clean-up and yard work from last week. Now is the time to clean up around your area, even if you live in a complex. There is always something that has blown in since fall. At our house, it is the left over leaves from the whole west end, and they seem to love our fence and flower beds. The dogs add to the winter’s accumulation, so we have shovel and bucket duty.

These tasks are so much easier before the rain and muck of spring set in and they make your living space so much more pleasant to look at. Also, in a month or so, you won’t want to be cleaning up. The fun is in the planting and playing in the dirt.

Let’s talk about hostas. They are great plants with so many benefits. They do not have to be split, but over time will get enormous. They are so easy to split when the little points are a half-inch out of the ground, but so awkward after they have leafed out. Contrary to a friend’s theory that they scream when you split them, they do not. Hosta plants will fill back in after a few years. So to prevent overgrowth and gain more plants, split them.

To split the hostas, dig around the shoots. I normally go a good six inches beyond the spikes as some are slower than others to sprout up. Use a short handled long-nose spade and get the whole plant out of the ground. Shake or knock off the dirt so you can handle it more easily.

Set the plant right-side-up and slice straight down across the entire middle, nine o’clock to three o’clock. Then slice across it twelve o’clock to six o’clock. If it’s a huge overachiever, it can be cut into small sections, or whatever size you want.

Replant one section in the old spot and find new homes for the rest. Your neighbors might want some, or I put the extras at the front curb with a sign and people stop and take them.

Hostas enjoy shade and moderate sunlight. They may do well in sun in the spring, but on burning hot mid-July days they will get leaf-burn and not look very happy or attractive.

There is a new hosta on the market that is white in the spring and turns light green in mid to late summer. It sounds interesting. I always enjoy something new in the flower beds. There are numerous types of hostas and the miniatures are a favorite of mine. There is dragon tail, which has small yellow leaves and actually resembles a dragon’s tail. I love mouse ears, which look like tiny little mouse ears. There is another miniature called cat and mouse.

When you look on-line for hybrid varieties of hostas, you quickly realize a beautiful garden can be planted with all hostas. My grandmother, Katherine Wollter, has a hosta garden by her back door. It is probably five feet by sixteen feet. We have split her hostas twice in five years and they are huge again. She planted the giant leaf varieties in multiple hues and it has a very peaceful effect.

Hostas also work well to hide yard items that can’t be moved, so hostas are usually a good pick for anyone and they take very little care.

  • Girls.on.ride
    NADIYA YORK and Aniston Valentine take a spin on the Casino, one of the rides offered at Wakefield Park during Morenci’s Town and Country Festival. This year’s festival remained dry but with plenty of heat during the three-day run. Additional photographs are inside this week’s Observer.
  • Front.softball
    Angela Davis (2) and teammate Allison VanBrandt break into a jig after Morenci's softball team won its third consecutive regional title.
  • Front.art.park
    ART PARK—A design created by Poggemeyer Design Group shows a “pocket art park” in the green space south of the State Line Observer building. The proposal includes a 12-foot sculpture based on a design created by Morenci sixth grade student Klara Wesley through a school and library collaboration. A wooden band shell is located at the back of the lot. The Observer wall would be covered with a synthetic stucco material. City council members are considering ways to fund the estimated $125,000 project and perhaps tackling construction one step at a time.
  • Front.train
    WRECKAGE—Morenci Fire Department member Taylor Schisler walks past the smoking wreckage of a semi-truck tractor on the north side of the Norfolk and Southern Railroad tracks on Ranger Highway. The truck trailer was on the south side of the tracks
  • Funcolor
    LEONIE LEAHY was one of three local hair stylists who volunteered time Friday at the Morenci PTO Fun Night. Her customer, Aubrey Sandusky, looks up at her mother while her hair takes on a perfect match to her outfit. Leahy said she had a great time at the event—nothing but happy clients.
  • KayseInField
    IN THE FIELD—2004 Morenci graduate Kayse Onweller works in a test plot of wheat in Texas. She’s part of Bayer CropScience’s North American wheat breeding program based in Nebraska, where she completed post-graduate work in plant breeding and genetics.
  • Front.winner
    REFEREE Camden Miller raises the hand of Morenci Jr. Dawgs wrestler Ryder Ryan as his opponent leaves the mat in disappointment. Morenci’s youth wrestling program served as host for a tournament Saturday morning to raise money for the club. Additional photos are on the back page.

Weekly newspaper serving SE Michigan and NW Ohio - State Line Observer ©2006-2016