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Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Hosta roots

In the spring of 2006 a local nursery received a number of birdbaths that had broken tops. They had an employee with a great idea, she put those bases upside down in the sales yard and planted them. I was the first person to ask if they had more of these bases and would they sell them to me. The price was a ridiculous $5 a piece and I got all 5 that they had available.

One base went in my shade garden and was planted with Hosta 'Halcyon', Hosta 'Green Lance' and Oxalis atropurpurea (the purple clover) which I adore but is not hardy here on Long Island.

For three years these containers all were fine, they even survived winter heave and an occasional fall. Sadly, the one container in the shade did not survive having a tree limb fall on it and knock it over. The broken pieces are two large pieces though and I hope to be able to glue them back together.

We've just had a heat wave here and I could not dig and divide perennials so yesterday I decided to address the problem of the broken container. Even though it had been broken for months and laying on it's side, the Hosta were still growing. Imagine my surprise when I tried to pull them out of the container and the roots just kept coming out.

Those roots were so long that my arm wasn't long enough to hold them for the camera and take a photo at the same time. In fact, those roots went all the way down to the base of the container. I had originally filled the container with compost, not potting soil and it was still nice and rich looking.
Once I had the massive root system on my work table I had to chop off those beautiful roots to make them more manageable.

Finally, the Hosta have been potted up and are ready for their next adventure. I do want to use a piece of both and recreate the planting that I had before.

Melanie

13 comments:

Sylvia (England) said...

Melanie, hostas are amazing at surviving. I lifted a clump last year, had nowhere to put it and it was just left in the garden. It is growing betuifully, I must be kind to it find a home or put it in a pot! These pots where a great find and inexpensive, the pictured one looks great. What are the other plants are in it?

Best wishes Sylvia (England)

Creative Country Mom said...

Wow, it is amazing how the dig in there. My dirt can be so hard it feels like concrete, but the plants do just fine. I have worked things into the new beds, but the older ones are on their own and looking good. Neat post! ~Brooke

our friend Ben said...

A great use for the birdbath stands, Melanie! I once bought a seagreen ceramic birdbath stand (without the birdbath top) and use it to this day to display a silver gazing ball in my front island bed. Fantastic!

Gail said...

That's a healthy root system Melanie!
It always makes me nervous to root prune but I know the plants are going to be fine! The broken 'planter' could be mosaiced over to great effect! gail

keewee said...

What a great buy, and a wonderful addition to your garden.I thought I had lost one of my best hostas but I see it starting to come up.

Joanne said...

I am sure it will be lovely fancy those roots going so deep. I do love Hosta and they divide so easily in Spring

Barbarapc said...

I like the upside-down bases - very pretty and what a good combination of that blue hosta with the purple oxalis. Isn't it great when plants surprise you!

Phyllis said...

Hey Melanie,

I'm pretty creative but would never have thought to turn a bath base upside down and plant it. Guess what I'll be doing this spring???

I love hosta, especially your green ones. Unfortunately I live with a herd of deer and have limited areas I can grow them.

Sherri said...

I love great buys too - and what an original idea for a planter.

Mrs. Wright said...

Wonderful pictures...I planted hostas last year and thought they died to my daughter's discovery they were alive and well! I have several pots and I know just what I'm going to plant in them. Thanks

Mrs. Wright said...

How nice...I recently discovered hostas growing under a lavender plant and I have several pots and I know exactly what I'm going to put in them. Thanks for the post!

Rosella said...

What a creative idea! And how successful! Those hosta roots are amazing, and I am sure the plant will thrive now wherever you put it -- hope the stand can be repaired and be useful again. Isn't it fun to re-purpose something?

Jan (Thanks For 2 Day) said...

Very cool. Hosta really are sturdy! I have some that I dug up a couple of weeks ago, and they're just sitting on my deck, with no pot or anything...and they look as healthy as can be! I've been watering the soil that surrounds their roots, so they haven't dried out...but still, they do well without watering, too. I will plant them this week in a new garden that I've been waiting to finish...it's done now, so finally I can put them in the ground again.