Take your cue from Fran Wake­field’s gar­den and use these sculp­tural plants to bal­ance slen­der grasses, shrubs and trees, bring light and life to a shady cor­ner, or make eye-catch­ing fo­cal points in pots and troughs


The glo­ri­ous di­ver­sity of hostas.

Long liv­ing, easy to main­tain and ir­re­sistibly good look­ing, the ma­jes­tic hosta is the strong but silent hero of the peren­nial world. These clump-form­ing herba­ceous plants, be they in minia­ture or ex­tra large form, are usu­ally grown for their shapely, tex­tu­ral fo­liage, which spans the full range of greens from the moody blue of Hosta bella ‘Blue An­gel’ and bot­tle green H. ‘Candy Dish’, the grass greens of H. ‘Sweet Sun­shine’ and the lime-yel­lows of hostas such as ‘Dragon Tails’, to the var­ie­gated greens with yel­low or white of va­ri­eties such as H. ‘Par­adise Is­land’ and ‘Whirl­wind’.

A num­ber of the 2,000-plus reg­is­tered cul­ti­vars also flower in the spring-sum­mer, show­ing spires of ele­gant tubu­lar blooms in shades of white through li­lac to mauve, and there are even species of hosta, such as H. mon­tana, H. sieboldii and H. plan­taginea, that you can eat; the young leaves are forced and har­vested be­fore be­ing boiled or steamed.

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