Hosta Mill
Introductions

Hosta Mill Introductions

Your input is needed

Judging seedlings is hard to do...our baby, pretty baby, etc.
Therefore I'd like to get your opinion on the Hosta Mill Introductions: which ones do you like, which are not that good.

The purpose definitely is not fishing for compliments.  Give us your honest opinion.  That will help us in making a final selection.

ESpeciaalspecially for this purpose the guest book has been added again. 

 

Prologue

I was in for an nice, but unexpected surprise this year: the seedlings in the seedling bed had had a tremendous boost compared to last year.  I'll have to perform a final selection this year.

Selection

After giving the seedlings a first look, it was obvious this would be an extremely difficult task.  If the goal is to breed, let's say variegated plants or large plants, the criteria make the culling a lot easier: everything that is solid colored or not big enough can be discarded.  My aim is to produce plants that are solid colored, aesthetically pleasing (good looking leaves, nice clumping habit, good colors) and that are good performers in the garden.

In a few cases, culling was easy: a complete batch of H. 'Summer Breeze' offspring had little to go for it, except being good growers.  Our neighbor was very pleased with the whole lot.  But matters get more complicated with H. 'Grand Slam', H. Eos, H. 'Marilyn Monroe' or H. 'War Paint' offspring.  Each seedling has some good qualities.  Should I have bread them some 10 years ago, many of them would have been great additions.  But luckily for the hosta enthusiast, over the last decade a large number of high quality plants have become available, thanks to master hybridizers like Don Dean, Kent Terpening, Alttara Scheer, Ron Livingston, Jeroen Linneman and many more.  The consequences for hybridizers in 2011 are important: what would have been a spectacular, innovative introduction 10 years ago, now is no more than a nice, but rather common plant.  Taking this into account, I'll be very pleased if 2 or 3 Hosta Mill introductions are good enough to register.

Patience is a virtue - but has become rare

When can you judge a plant ?  No doubt the best time is when they are adult.  Most hostas show a juvenile form before this stage: not only are they smaller, but the leaf shape changes over the years.  While most plants get better leaves while getting older, it's not uncommon for a seedling with beautiful juvenile leaves to develop mature ones that lose a lot of their best treats. 

I'd like to call upon hosta hybridizers worldwide to give their plants a chance to mature before they are evaluated, registered and offered on the market.  I think a lot of new offerings have come into sales way to early, when even the breeder himself has only seen the juvenile form, not knowing how a mature specimen will look and, even more important, without a clue as to how it will perform in the garden. 

A good example is Hosta 'Mill'.  In 2009, as a seedling, it got an award as best new introduction by the Dutch Hosta Society.  Obviously, it had a lot going for it, otherwise it would have gotten the award.  Now, 2 years later, it has transformed into a young mature plant, that I like a lot less.  It used to be rather small, now it's medium sized; it does not make a nice clump, but a rather unruly one with few leaves per eye; the flower stalks are almost horizontal. I guess it will have to spend the rest of its existence as an unregistered plant with a nice history.

Which introductions do you find here ?

To be honest, the title of this page isn't accurate: you'll find all mature hostas from the Hosta Mill breeding program here.  As I said earlier, only a few of them will actually be registered and introduced.

Only because it's easier to talk about a named plant, they all receive a names.  Just to let you know what plant we're talking about.

The menu with the plants is on the left side of this page.  For each plants you get pictures, a short descriptions and sometimes some additional information.