Wednesday, October 1, 2014

October 2014 Newsletter

Note from the President- Autumn is here!  The Chrysanthemums are in bloom, the Colchicums are flowering, the Cyclamen hederifolium are growing new leaves, and the Hosta are browning around the edges, turning yellow, and producing new growth tips for next spring. 
If you receive the e-newsletter or read the EMHS blog, you will find some articles shared by other Hosta clubs about Fall Hosta Tips, including fall clean-up, mulching, dividing, starting seed, and a few other topics.  The AHS Newsletter Exchange is a great way to find out what is going on in the other Hosta Clubs in the US and a way to get articles to share with our members.  

The Annual EMHS Plant Exchange at last month’s meeting was a big success as always.  Thanks to the generosity of our members, we were able to have four rounds of drawings before were ran out of plants.

We wish Bill Kapustka a speedy recovery from his injury he got while out of the States.  I know Pat is taking good care of him.

I also found out at the September meeting that Betty Valentine had been very ill over the past few months.  It is great to have her back at the meetings!  This is mentioned as a plea for people to let us know about members that are ill so that we may keep them in our thoughts. 

Our meeting this month is going to be the last educational meeting of 2014.  We are going to end the year with a fantastic speaker, Dr. Anton (Tony) Reznicek, presenting "Woodland Treasures from China -- in the Wild and in the Garden".   Dr. Reznicek is professor of ecology and evolutionary biology at the University of Michigan and curator of vascular plants at the University of Michigan Herbarium.  He is planning to arrive early to talk with us and share in our potluck dinner.

It is time to plan on our Annual Christmas Party that will be held on December 11th, 2014 at the Mayfield Twp. Hall.  We will again have the gift exchange, nobody is required to bring a gift, but  if you are interested in exchanging gifts, all you have to do is bring a wrapped non-gender-specific gift with a value of $10. Those people that bring a gift place their names on a list and gifts will be exchanged by those people on the list.   

I look forward to seeing everybody at the meeting on October 9th.  Don’t forget to bring a dish to pass for the potluck.  Be prepared for a fantastic presentation by Dr Reznicek.

Next Meeting- October 9th, 2014 at 6PM at the Mayfield Twp. Hall, 1900 N. Saginaw, Lapeer, MI 48446This is our regular meeting place located just south of the point of M-24 and N. Saginaw, (the driveway just north of the Cemetery).  The time schedule for the meeting is as follows; 5:00 PM- Networking, 6:00 PM- Potluck, 7:00 PM Speaker- Tony Reznicek, and 8:00 PM Business Meeting. 
            Presentation: "Woodland Treasures from China -- in the Wild and in the Garden"
                                                by Dr. Anton (Tony) Reznicek

Review the September 11, 2014 Meeting Minutes on the blog.  We will vote to accept the minutes at the October 9th meeting.

2014 Calendar of Events: 
EMHS events are noted in bold print and other events are noted in italics.
Oct 9- Mayfield Twp. Hall, speaker Tony Reznicek 
No Meeting
Nov. 2 Ed Elslager Hybridizers Group, Ann Arbor
Dec 11- Mayfield Twp. Hall, EMHS Christmas Party
Feb 12, 2015- Mayfield Twp. Hall, speaker Jan Everson
March 2015- Hosta College in Piqua, OH

EMHS Business Cards- are still available for members to take for promoting the club.  Ask any Board Member for details. 

Name Badges- If you need one of the new EMHS name badges, please put your printed name on the sign-up sheet at any meeting or you can email Glen with your request.  Glen will try to have your name badge at the next meeting. 

The EMHS T-shirts featuring Joseph Tychonievich's Hosta Addiction self-test are $18.00 each for an EMHS Member and $20.00 each for a non-member.  Sizes available are XXL and XXXL.  
The proceeds from the sale of this shirt go to promote our “Purpose” which is, to promote the interest of hostas and shade gardening; to extend horticultural education and activities to its members and the community.

2015 EMHS Hosta Stones- the EMHS 2015 Hosta Stone will feature Hosta “Rhino Hide” by originator, Don Rawson.  Cathy Hodgson is again heading the Hosta Stone Project. 

2014 Hosta Stones- The hybridizer for 2014 is Hans Hansen and the plant is Hosta “Joy Ride”.  H. “Joy Ride” was introduced by Walter’s Gardens.  It forms a wriggly, broadly mounding mass of very wavy blue-green leaves accented with upright folded edges, grows to 16 x 36, and has 24 inch scapes of widely flared, tubular, light lavender flowers produced in midsummer.  

Hosta Stone Sale Items- available are 3 Iron colored 2013 Hosta Stones featuring  "Indiana Bob" Balitewicz’s Hosta “Krugerrand” and 2 Brown 2012 Hosta Stones featuring Ron Livingston’s H. “Alakazaam” at the sale price is $30.00 for each stone.  All of the aforementioned stones are for sale on a first come first served basis.  There is one stone stand available at the price of $20.00.  If interested in purchasing any of these at the sale prices listed please call Cathy Hodgson at 810-664-8985.

Comments to the EMHS blog:  I am mentioning blog posting to let you know that your comments to the blog can be published too.  All you have to do is go to the EMHS blog at   and comment to a blog posting which will alert me that you have made a comment.  Once I deem the comment valid for publishing I will okay and it will automatically be posted.  Please note that I cannot edit or spell check your comments, all I can do is to publish, ignore, or delete your comments.  All comments will be screened by me to deter any vulgarity or inappropriate comments being published to the EMHS blog.    Glen

Club Members selling Hosta or related products;
Please call or email to set an appointment before visiting
Daniels, Marlene- Bottle wind chimes. 810-664-8317,
Hanner, Mark/Becky- Pottery.  810-631-4292,
Hunter, Barb- Hosta, Daylilies, Pond supplies. 810-664-7531,
Lisik, Phil/Ginger-Hosta, Daylilies, other plants.  989-642-5772,
Mitchell, Dyanna- Internet Rep. for Garden Inspired Products. 
Pickard, Carolyn- Daylilies, Hosta.   989-871-2873, robfamily5
Salk, Pat/Bill Kapustka- Daylilies.  810-678-3519,
Smith, Stan/Mary Lou- Concrete leaves.  989-845-3455

Websites of Interest:
American Hosta Society-
American Hosta Society Convention Website-
AHS Hosta Library Website-
Michigan Hosta Society Website-
Eastern Michigan Hosta Society blog-
Hosta College Website-

Hosta Society Membership info-
American Hosta Society
,  $30 individual, $57/2 years, $34 family, $62/2 years
Send dues to: Sandie Markland, AHS Membership Secretary, Post Office Box 7539, Kill Devil Hills, NC 27948

Michigan Hosta Society, 
Dues are $15 per household for up to two people, good for 2 years. Make checks payable to: The Michigan Hosta Society and send to; Michigan Hosta Society, 2509 Wembly Lane, Troy, MI 48084-1280

Eastern Michigan Hosta Society, Dues $5 per year per household, Make check payable to EMHS and mail to: Barb Hunter, EMHS Treasurer, 316 Davis Lake Rd. Lapeer, MI 48746

Saginaw Valley Hosta Society, Dues $5 per year per household, Make check payable to SVHS and mail to: Marge Greskowiak, SVHS Treasurer, 10025 Lakewood Dr., Saginaw, MI 48609

EMHS Board of Officers:President                     Glen Pace                989-244-4029
Vice-President             Pam Walmsley                   no email                         810-964-2311
Treasurer                     Barb Hunter                    810-664-7531
Secretary                     Marlene Daniels        810-664-8317
Past President              Mark Hanner                    810-631-4292
Fund-                          Mick and                    
Raising                        Cathy Hodgson         810-664-8985

“Extras” from the AHS Newsletter Exchange

How Much Mulch is Enough?
(This article appeared in the Tri-State Tribune Volume 2014, Issue 3 and originally appeared in the May 2011 newsletter of the Northwest Indiana Hosta Society.)

Most of us use some form of mulch to control weeds, retain moisture and keep the soil cooler during our long, hot summers. The American Hosta Society recom-mends not applying more that 2-3” of mulch. Too much can lead to vole problems by providing a covering that is warm and easy to tunnel through. Keep the mulch away from the petioles to avoid rot and other diseases.

But how do I know how much to buy? Use the following calculations.

- Length in feet X Width in feet = Total square feet
- Length in feet X Width in feet X Depth in feet = Total cubic feet
- The most commonly sold bags contain about 2 cubic feet
- 27 cubic feet = One cubic yard
- One cubic yard will fill roughly 1/2 a pick-up truck bed

Example: A hosta bed 10 feet by 12 feet with a 3-inch layer of mulch
- 10 x 12 x .25 = 30 cubic feet
- Divide by 2 = 15 2-cubic-foot bags
- Divide by 3 = 10 3-cubic-foot bags

- One cubic yard will cover 160 square feet at a depth of 2"
- One cubic yard will cover 108 square feet at a depth of 3"
- One 2-cubic-foot bag will cover 7 or 8 square feet at 3" deep
- One 3-cubic-foot bag will cover 10 square ft at a depth of 2"

(The following articles were shared from the Newsletter of The Potomac Hosta Club, Inc.
Volume 28, Number 3, August 2014)
September Hosta Tips by Rob “The Hosta Guy” Mortko
(Courtesy of the Illinois Prairie Hosta Society from their newsletter, Prairie Hosta Herald,
Volume 10, Issue 6 of September 2013.)
As we transition into the fall season there's much to be done in the garden.

Fall is for Planting
Many folks might conclude that hostas can only be planted in the spring because they seem to
"disappear" in local nurseries and garden centers by the first of June. Fact is, container grown
hostas can be planted any time during the growing season. What's more, by planting now you can gain nearly a full growing season as compared to waiting until next spring. This will be readily apparent next spring as you will most likely have multiple eyes or pips emerge as a result of planting now. Remember we maintain our hosta stock year round and still have thousands to choose from.

Dividing Hostas
Fall is considered the "optimum" time for hosta division as roots can continue to grow and
establish themselves until our first killing frost (which averages October 26th in KC). Remember
hostas never need to be divided as opposed to most perennials that will become less vigorous
after 3-5 years if not divided. With hostas it's a choice you make.
To divide hostas it is usually easiest to dig and lift the entire clump. Then use a spade or knife to
divide into smaller sections. The key is to retain an adequate root structure for each division. If
needed, use a hose to wash away the soil to get a closer look at where you should be making your divisions. When replanting, use a root starter/stimulator solution, but avoid any solid
fertilizer this late in the season. Don't forget the value of good soil prep. Since hostas never need to be divided, you really only get one chance to do a good job of preparing the soil with plenty of organic matter. Never plant that $5 hosta in a 50 cent hole. Even worse is planting a $20 hosta in that same 50 cent hole!!!

Planting Hosta Seeds
Chances are you have at least a few hosta bloom scapes that set seed. The seed pod will crack open in due time indicating the seed has matured. The seed is generally viable if is has turned black.  Hostas do not obey the normal rules of genetics.  You might think that if a variegated hosta is crossed with another variegated hosta then the offspring would be, for the most part, variegated.  However this is not true, or at the least it is very, very rare. Hybridizers use "streaked" hostas as the pod parent for developing new variegated cultivars. These streaked breeding plants are somewhat unstable and command a relatively high market price.
But with all that said, you can still have some fun by germinating your own hosta seeds. Just realize that they will likely be a solid color even if originating from a variegated parent. Here are a few tips for starting seed which can be a great winter time activity. The timing on starting seed is a variable with some folks starting in October or November while others wait until February.

Start the seeds in flats with a clear plastic dome (or similar high humidity setup). Wash the flats
and use a sterile soilless mix to minimize any potential fungal problems. Cover the seed lightly
to a 1/8" to 1/4" depth. Germination typically occurs in 12 to 15 days. Target an air temperature of about 75 degrees F. Heating mats can be useful when working in cooler basement settings.

Lighting is critical when gardening indoors (although not relevant to the actual seed
germination process in this case). Use supplemental lighting (cool-white fluorescent
tubes) to give 16-24 hours of daily lighting following germination. Maintain the lights about
2" above the dome, or 2" above the plants once the dome has been removed.

Never let the seedlings dry out. Keep the soil moist but not soggy. Grow until the tops of the
plants touch the dome. Then transplant (typically at the 2 or 3 leaf stage) and begin using a water soluble fertilizer. How much water soluble fertilizer you use will depend on how much you want to “push” the growth process.  Before moving seedlings to the spring garden,
don't forget to harden them off - just like a tomato plant that was started inside.

From September to Fall Garden Cleanup
by Ray Rodgers
(Courtesy of the Ontario Hosta Society from their
Fall 2012 Newsletter, Volume 18, Issue 4.)
Planting hostas can be done anytime as long as the soil is not frozen, but the chances for survival are better if plantings are completed by early September, to allow four to six weeks for the plants to reestablish before first frost (approx. October 14 in central Illinois). Hostas are
completely dormant during the winter, making late plantings more susceptible to rot.

Do not try to keep your hostas actively growing late in the year. It is better to let plants die down somewhat naturally rather than letting a hard frost do all the damage. All fertilization should have stopped well prior to September, but it is important for gardens to continue receiving the equivalent of 1 to 1½ inches of rainfall per week through September. Although October is the time to start cutting back on watering, hostas do not want to be dry when
they go into dormancy. Each gardener will have to decide for themselves whether their gardens
need supplemental watering during October; considering-soil type, temperatures, and amount of rainfall received.  We have very little control during the winter, but keep in mind that hostas prefer to remain on the dry side during dormancy. Excessive moisture and cold temperatures lead to rotting.  Continue to watch for foliar nematodes (brown streaks between the veins of hosta leaves). If you have infected plants, get rid of them, or have more infected plants next season.

Mole activity usually picks up in the fall. Moles won't directly cause damage to hostas, other than occasionally uprooting young plants, but eliminating moles will reduce the likelihood of
voles which use the mole runs to reach and eat hosta roots and crowns.  It is a good idea to drop poison bait into vole holes throughout the winter. Look for nickel size holes, often right next to hosta crowns. Not being able to easily see the results, I suggest alternating the use of a variety of baits to increase the chances of success. Place a brick or other heavy object over the hole to prevent poisoning of birds and other animals. Several gardeners have also had success with mouse traps baited with a mixture of peanut butter and oatmeal placed next to vole holes. Again, cover the hole and trap in a manner to protect birds and pets. A clay pot turned upside down with a brick on top works well.  

Depending on how early, cutting your hostas back before they go dormant may reduce the amount of energy that they are able to store, resulting in smaller plants the following season. If you prefer this method, it is advisable to sanitize your garden tools between each plant. One commonly used sanitizer is a bleach/water solution (10-50% bleach). Most people use a mix closer to 10%. If your confidence level goes up proportionately as the percent of bleach increases, it may be worth the extra expense. It is your decision, but do use some form of sanitizer. Remember that viruses spread when the sap from an infected plant comes in contact with the sap of another plant.

Mother Nature can make the removal of hosta foliage much easier than cutting petioles at ground level. After one or more hard freezes, it becomes very easy to pull hosta foliage off without any tools. If you try pulling the foliage off too early, you may end up completely pulling some divisions and/or smaller hostas out of the ground.

Some of the reasons for cleaning your gardens in the fall include:
• Removal of all hosta leaves and other debris from the garden helps reduce slug populations the following year, as slugs often lay their eggs on these surfaces.
• Eliminates cover for rodents (mice, moles and voles).
• Reduces a variety of fungal diseases the following year.
• May reduce the spread of foliar nematodes. Some people believe that if infected leaves are not removed in the fall, they can be blown around infecting other areas. If unsure, why risk it.
For many of the above reasons, it is not advisable to put hosta leaves on the compost pile. Burning the garden clutter can be a bit of a challenge, as hosta leaves are typically very moisture retentive, but doing so eliminates any possible problems associated with discarding the waste elsewhere.  One of the arguments against cleaning gardens in the fall is that the old foliage helps to maintain soil temperatures and protects hostas from extreme cold. This is not without merit, buy generally speaking, if your gardens are already mulched, and any exposed buds are covered with a little surrounding soil, there is no need for additional protection of established plants.  If additional protection is desired, a thin layer of low moisture retentive coarse mulch, such as various types of wood chips or pine bark nuggets, can be added. A thin layer of mulch will also help prevent heaving of young plants. An additional benefit of a coarse layer of mulch added anytime from fall through winter is by helping to maintain soil temperatures; emergence of new plant growth in the spring will be slightly delayed, making plant tissue less susceptible to freezing temperatures.  On the negative side, adding an additional layer of compost before the ground is frozen increases the likelihood of rodent damage.  For trough gardens, putting them on the east or north side of a building and covering and surrounding them with a coarse mulch will provide winter protection. For additional
protection, some gardeners prefer to first bury the bottom one-third of the trough in the ground.

For additional detail, I recommend the following
articles by Bob Solberg:
“How late is too late to plant hostas in the fall?” -
“Preparing the Garden for Winter” -