|Leo and Laura|
With their choicest plants neatly laid out early on this June Saturday morning, Leo and Laura enjoy the calm before the market rush.
Leo, who is Flemish, is a horticulturist trained in Europe. Laura, though not officially a horticulturist, is an avid grower with a passion for hostas. She freely admits, "I sell hostas to support my hosta habit."
|Some White-grown hostas|
Photographed on a very windy day in late May, this large 'Jewel of the Nile' hosta grown by the Whites holds up beautifully.
Laura says that the 'Lakeside Bluejeans' hosta is known especially for its thick, broad, corrugated leaves, which make it unappetizing to slugs. One of the "vase-shaped" hostas, it grows to 18 inches wide and 28 inches tall. Its shape, good dusty blue-green color, and white flowers in June make it an excellent specimen plant.
|A bold one|
This hosta variety is named 'First Frost,' Laura says, because it keeps its bold color until...you guessed it, the first frost.
|A big hit|
This extremely popular hosta is sometimes very hard to find, as many growers sell out early in the season. It's no wonder. 'Delta Dawn' has beautiful pale-green leaves with creamy margins. In June, it bears white flowers.
|'Lakeside Black Satin'|
This unique hosta is 'Lakeside Black Satin'. It sports deep green, heart-shaped, beautifully scalloped leaves and in early summer bears lovely bell-like, purple-and-white-striped flowers. The plant grows to 22 inches tall and 48 inches wide. A standout in the garden.
Blue-green leaves edged in cream distinguish the 'Lacy Belle' hosta. As the season progresses the creamy edge turns white. The plant forms a neat, compact clump 16 inches high and 36 inches wide.
|'Rhapsody in Blue'|
One of the "bluest" of the blue-green hostas, 'Rhapsody in Blue' has slightly ruffled leaves and, as you can see from the way it holds up to this May wind, real substance. It grows to about a foot high and 30 inches wide. A garden mainstay.
Hold on to your horses, because 'Orange Marmalade' is the most orange hosta in existence. (If you find one, snap it up!) Beautifully shaped lance-like leaves start out bright yellow, then turn to gold, then become paler yellow or white, depending on exposure to the sun. It grows to 45 inches wide and 20 inches high. Many people claim this is the "best hosta of all."
'Teaspoon' is a whimsical little hosta whose cupped leaves and longish stems sure enough can look amazingly like lovely green teaspoons. The plant grows into a dense mound about 11 inches high by 24 inches wide and bears pale lavender flowers. It's perfect in rock gardens, containers, as a ground cover, or when forming a setting for variegated varieties of hosta.
New for 2005, the 'Toy Soldier' hosta features medium green leaves with subtler gradations of green at the edges. The plant forms a compact mound about 10 inches tall and 24 inches wide. A good choice for rock gardens and borders.
The 'Cracker Crumbs' Hosta is a near perfect choice to use near paths or in rock gardens. It makes a neat little mound a foot wide and 6 inches high, with small yellow leaves that have a crisp green margin.
'Cherry Berry' gets its name from its cherry-colored seedpods in the fall. It grows 10 inches high and 14-1/2 inches wide with lancelike leaves and white centers irregularly streaked with green. The flowers are violet. Tip: If you find one and like it, best buy it on the spot--it's one of the first hostas to sell out each season.
This one's just getting started, but the label gives some idea how striking it is when mature. 'Lakeside Spellbinder' grows into a mound 8 inches tall and about 30 inches wide with heart-shaped, rich-green leaves and white centers. Another novelty: its flower grow on 5-inch scapes and are almost white.
|Variegated Solomon's Seal|
Variegated Solomon's Seal (Polygonatum odoratum 'Variegatum') is a beautiful woodland perennial that grows to 2 feet tall with graceful, arching stems. In May it bears delicate white flowers at the leaf junctures. It's a superb shade plant that provides a striking note especially when planted among hostas and in May bears delicate white flowers along the stems. When established, it's highly drought tolerant. Note: The name comes from markings on the rhizome that match the two overlapped triangles of King Solomon's seal, which symbolized the union of body and soul.
Among the ornamentals Leo and Laura grow are Asiatic lilies, like this tall variety in the foreground.
Laura couldn't remember the varietal name of this lily, but yes, it's Asiatic, and yes, it's gorgeous.
'Elodie' is a truly remarkable new double Asiatic lily with exquisitely beautiful light pink flowers that are pollen free, making them perfect for allergy sufferers. The plant grows to 36-48 inches tall and blooms from early summer to midsummer. Flowers are 5-6 inches wide.
'Dot Com' is one of the newest lilies in the famed Tango series. The flowers are 6-7 inches wide and a beautiful pale pink with unique speckled patterns of dark red-purple. They appear early summer to midsummer. The plant thrives in sun or partial shade and grows 30-48 inches tall.
'Dizzy' is a Lily variety for gardeners who love big splashes of color and the fragrance of Oriental lilies. It features huge blooms up to 8 inches wide with wide white petals streaked with bold red and flecked with red speckles. The plant grows 3 to 4 feet high, naturalizes easily, and does well in sun or partial shade.
'Muscadet' (Lilium 'Muscadet') is a literal marvel of an Oriental lily. Its virtues are a wonderful fragrance and unusually large, ruffled white blooms with breathtaking blushes of pink along with maroon speckles. The plant grows to 36 inches tall and does not require staking.
Variegated Stonecrop (Sedum species) is a superb groundcover. Like all sedums, it has fleshy leaves, is drought tolerant, and spreads into a mat of color and texture. We're unsure of the varietal name of this one, but it's clearly a winner for its coloration. Note: The name stonecrop derives from the common occurrence of the plants in their natural rocky settings.
Leo and Laura also grow the 'Valencia' sweet pepper, a gourmet variety that's extra-sweet as well as colorful and, our reading tells us, hails from Spain.
|Gardeners have to eat too|
Selling at the Farmer's Market can work up an appetite. Laura seems delighted to find some choice veggies on the Fassnight Creek Farm table.
|Asleep in the garden|
Laura also hand paints and fires her own whimsical garden figures; for example, this extremely comfortable gnome napping away on a garden stone.
More of Laura's meticulously handpainted figurines, and more of the Whites' specialty peppers.
Leo and Laura currently sell their plants and crafts only at the Greater Springfield Farmers Market, which is located in the Battlefield Mall parking lot in Springfield, Missouri.
|Leo and Laura|