I'm always writing about the need for plant growers to be more involved, to be more personal, to connect with the buyer. Tom Carlson of HostasDirect just might be the model for perfect Internet plant sales, if you ask me.
Here's what I ordered:
Hosta 'Alabama Gold': This one is in homage to my son in Alabama. It's slug-resistant, has great light yellow leaf color, and the leaves pucker and cup.
Hosta 'Hoosier Dome': This large hosta has leaves cupping downward and grows to 24 inches tall.
Hosta 'Chartreuse Wiggles': Especially beautiful in mass plantings, this one has wavy leaf edges in a bright chartreuse color. Simple but elegant.
Hosta 'Praying Hands': The 2011 Hosta of the Year, this medium grower (16 inches tall) has leaves that look like praying hands, arching upward.
Hosta 'Medusa': With very long, interesting leaves in creamy white with a medium green margin, this mini grows 8 inches tall.
After a few days, I called Tom to chat about his company and his plants. He said he tries to look at every order that comes in, and he shares information with all of his customers. He said people don't expect to find a hosta grower in Minnesota.
"But we're at the same latitude as Japan, and that's where most hostas originated," Carlson said. He sells mature plants as well as starters, which cost a lot less, and, since hostas grow quickly, he's had great success bringing new plants to the market quicker than other growers.
With a laugh, he called himself an "inventor type," but he owns five patents in the printing industry and he's been working for years on a garden marker product. When it's perfected, he promised to share the product with me. In the meantime, he's working with national parks, colleges, universities and other gardeners to improve it for mass marketing.
Plant fall veggies
Now is the time to sow seeds for your favorite greens, beans, carrots and other edibles. According to gardening newsletter Extra Dirt, it's actually easier to start vegetables and herbs from seed in the heat of the summer rather than in the spring, when temperatures fluctuate wildly and soil can be wet and cold. Just be sure to choose ones that can be planted before the last average frost date in the spring; that way, you know they can take some cold.
Recycling, part 3 ...
Last week, I wrote that a reader was turned down when trying to recycle pots at the local Lowe's store. I noted that the managers that I had talked to had assured me that they accept pots for recycling. The reader had been turned away at the local store.
Lin Davis, garden center manager at the Westover store, in the Morgantown area, called to tell me that it's a Lowe's regional policy to accept pots for recycling. She personally wraps the pots turned in at her store and returns them to their annual and perennial nurseries. She suggested that if someone visits the store to recycle pots and they are turned away, they should ask to speak to the store manager.
Reach Sara Busse at sara.bu...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-1249.