Hostas and Kids

Romy and Arno in Hostaland

How it started

The culprits for this project ?  Brian en Virginia Skaggs, members of the "Fraternal Order of Seedy Fellows" (FOoSF).

They infected my little girl Romy (the poor thing is just 7) with the hosta virus, or, more correct, with the hosta sowing virus.

Brian and Virginia

And now I'm stuck with it, my little girl has become a "Seedy Kid"

Well, let's be serious for a moment.

I'd been trying to find a way to get my kids more involved in the gardening thing, to increase their love for nature even more.  Brian and Virginia were the ones that gave me the means to do just that.

October 2006

Romy and I are sitting in the porch, we're cleaning hosta pods.  Romy is really fond of chores like this: it's a lot like tinkering, and with here little fingers she far better at it than I am. 

The situation just begs for a picture;  It's such a cute site, so I decide to share it with my fellow hosta lovers, through the e-mail robin Hostapix.

Romy gets some very nice reactions, but by far the cutest is that of Brian and Virginia, all the way from Lowell in USA.  She is absolutely thrilled with her very first e-mail ever and can hardly believe her picture can be seen all around the world.  She was ready to pack her bags for a visit at the Skaggs residence right away; after some explaining, about Lowell being a village in the States and how very far away it is, the trip is postponed - for now anyway.

Brian and Virginia want to know if Romy would like some hosta seeds to sow herself ?  Of course she does, especially when she sees the lovely hosta they came from.

Seeing the twinkle in her eyes, I know: this is the opportunity I've been waiting for, the ideal way to start Romy of as a gardener (the plum pit she planted last spring hasn't shown any sign of life since) .  In the garden shed, there is a nice, brand new plastic cold frame, and the seeds from America will be joined by some she harvested herself.  A new project is born.

November 2006

Early November

Hooray !! It has finally arrived: an envelope from the USA, that came by airplane.  The envelope itself is almost better than the seeds.  And there is more than just hosta seeds: Brian and Virginia have also send some (a lot) of ... seeds: some of the plants will have blue flowers, Romy's favorite color.

She wants to go ahead, without any delays.  I can calm her down a bit and together we decide to start sowing at the end of November.

The end of November

Our house is a building site.  After months of waiting, the contractors started work.  There simply isn't a room left were we can put up a sowing installation.  It looks like sowing inside will not be possible this winter.

December 2006

Thursday, December 21

Romy keeps asking when she can finally start sowing the seeds from America. And even dad starts feeling the irresistible desire itch. It doesn't take long to get the little heated greenhouse, from a previous life of dad as a cactus grower, from under the dustcovers. Dad's a bit of a DIY wizard (at least, that's what he likes to think), so it doesn't take long before a brand new light cover is finished and our "sowing installation" is ready.
The sowing mixture had already been standing by for a couple of weeks before (a bag of commercial sowing mixture). Because the greenhouse is rather tiny (22 x 11") small square jiffy pots will serve as containers.

Arno is a great help in filling the containers, and he sows the first rows.


Then, at last, it's up to Romy. Proudly she gets the little bag with the seeds from Brian & Virginia. She keeps sowing until the entire package is empty. That enough for two entire rows.


Dad sows the remaining rows, and we're almost ready.

Arno covers the seeds with a thin layer of soil and helps watering the containers. It takes about 3 pints of tap water.

The finishing touch is a good spray with a Chinosol-solution (my own home cure against fungi I used back in my cactus growing days).

The light cover is put in place and the whole contraption is put in dad office, that's empty at the moment.

Saturday December 23

A first sign of life. Unfortunately it's a mild fungus infection, and to make things worse, it's right on Romy's seeds, and we're clean out of Chinosol.
Time for some emergency action: in a nearby garden center we get a little bottle of fungicide.
This time Arno and Romy are not allowed to help: the seeds tray goes outside and gets a good spraying.

Sunday December 24

The moulds have gone.
Of course we should have sterilized the soil first, but in all the excitement this didn't happen. We'll have to remember for next time.

Saturday December 30


Alas, it's not one of Romy's, but a couple of Grand Slam, Eos and Thumbnail seedlings that emerge at the same time.



The very first: H. 'Grand Slam' x ?


January 2007

Tuesday January 2

The moment we have all been waiting for: two tiny white greenish dots are trying to get trough the soil cover. We decide they shall be known as Brian and Virginia (that's promising if we ever want to register).
The sowing installation has been moved to, into the verandah, a closed porch. It's also covered with a little blanket, to keep the heat inside.

Thursday January 4

The blanket seems to work: more "Americans" start showing, but they're way too small for a picture.  Maybe this weekend

Sunday January 6



Arno and Romy hereby are officially proclaimed members of the guild of the hosta breeders

To the left is Brian, on the right you see Virginia

March 2007

Everything was going honky dory, and then disaster struck.

A power surge in the veranda, a couple off days before we discovered this, some frosty nights, and almost everything is gone.

Well, it was fun while it lasted, and we'll be sowing outdoors soon.

And next winter, yes, well try again.