Hostas are such beautiful plants, and are so versatile in the garden, that they are always attractive in my estimation. Primarily foliage plants, some of them have outstanding flowers, too, and add their own allure to situations as diverse as underplanting trees and shrubs, in the foundation planting, and in containers as well – as one innovative gardener illustrates.
There are so many varieties to choose from, and Margaret Roach asked the question “Which one can’t you live without, or wish you lived with?”
‘Frances Williams’ is a standout that is on many top lists of great hostas, but ‘Royal Standard’ might be a bit of a dark horse for some, given the many choices. Let me tell you why it makes my top choice list:
- It has clear green, very clean and fine foliage in a neat circle of medium size. This uniformity of leaf gives it a strong presence when grown in the groups that display hostas so well.
- It has beautiful large white flowers, long lasting bloom which when paired with the clear green foliage give a classically beautiful appearance.
- It’s foliage stands up better to the elements than some other hostas, each year it impresses me, in dryish shade, during drought, in wet years…. it is dependable and good looking.
I think that the variegated hostas give a texture and beauty to the garden, and they certainly are eyecatching, but there is a time and place for something solid and refreshing in color to the eye. Royal Standard excels in that niche.
My fifth choice is a blue leaf variety,’Halcyon‘. It keeps its fine appearance in the above named garden challenges, and is reputed to be resistant to slug damage. They don’t seem to bother it in my garden (although they are a problem with poor Frances W.)
I love to see hostas as a trim along a house or a shady driveway. Sometimes variegation can be too much of a good thing, but when it is a tapestry of greens under trees or shrubs and seen from a distance, there is a beautiful texture that is very restful and interesting at the same time. Peaceful, but not boring.