Monday, November 5, 2012

The fine art of Hosta Clean Up



We have an awful lot of hostas here at Mucky Boots. Many different shades of green, several different colours of flower, in every size from small to huge. They like the damp spring and fall, they tolerate the dry heat of the summer, and they're forgiving of wildly fluctuating light levels as the sun and shade-giving trees go through their seasonal patterns.

They're a workhorse of the perennial garden - they don't require fussing or attention, and once they're established they do a pretty good job of keeping my arch-nemesis the creeping bellflower in check. They really only require input from me twice a year: in the spring, when they get divided, and in the late fall, when they get cleaned up.

And since we have so many hostas, and since I have now cleaned them all up five falls in a row, I have learned an important fact about Hosta Clean Up: timing is everything.

If you attempt Clean Up too soon, you have to work your clippers through dense stands of stems. Especially if my arthritis is acting up, it doesn't take long before my hands start to cramp. On the other hand, if you wait too long, the foliage will have disintegrated into a mass of slime that makes Clean Up a wet mess.

But if you time it just right, it's a breeze. If your timing is perfect, all you will need to do is run your hand through the limp, floppy dead leaves...



...and they will pull away from the roots with virtually no effort on your part...



 leaving only the spent flower stems to cut down.



The only potential downside is that the dry flower stems are very tough and stick-like, and if you're not paying attention you could poke yourself in the eye bending down to get the last few bits. (Does it sound like I am speaking from experience?)

There. That's my little contribution to making the world of hostas a better place.

3 comments:

Stephanie said...

I have already removed them and they did look like what was in your photo.

jeanives said...

You are a riot!

Paula said...

I love hostas, but so do the slugs. the folks next door have them and since I can see straight into their backyard, I can enjoy them from the kitchen window. And in the wintertime, it's usually raining so hard I can't see that far. I have no idea if they clean them up or not.

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