The Garden of Steve and Anna Wafler
Vadinais Height, Minnesota
   Shielded by a gigantic white pine, an undulating stream falls gently into a small pond at the front of the house. Pause to admire the garden filled with tiny hostas near the front driveway. Dainty clumps of Hostas ‘Popo’, ‘Hoey’, ‘Frosted Mouse Ears’ and ‘Little Miss Muffit’ grow happily under a huge oak.
   Behind the house, lush plantings of hostas and shade-tolerant companion plants surround the family swimming pool. Sun-loving perennials and pots of colorful annuals provide masses of bright color. The Waflers began gardening here in 1977 with a few free plants including ‘Lancifolia’ and ‘Undulata’. Over the years, the gardens around the house preempted more and more turf grass. Then, five years ago, these
self-titled “GFP” (gluttons for punishment) gardeners decided that the “wild” lot next door needed civilizing. Now their gardens contain about 850 varieties of hostas and companion plants

Anna and Steve Wafler

   In addition to old standbys, garden visitors will discover kiyosumiensis, ‘Tokushima Aiyagawa’ and ‘Hyuga Urajiro’. As you wander the many paths in this new garden, look for these unusual Japanese names tucked
in here and there. Serious collectors and new hosta lovers will admire the distinctive dusty yellow leaves of ‘Marrakech’. Perhaps this special plant may even show off a pink bud or two.

Garden Tour Photos

My Visit: Cornelia Holland
Franklin, Tennessee, US

   The sound of water gurgling down a rock and fern lined stream[1] draws one into this “island” of hostas, past a bed of miniature hostas, past a house blending into a landscape of hostas, hostas, as far as the eye can behold. One’s appetite is whetted by over 850 varieties of lush, well grown specimens, from Hosta Lancifolia’, one of the first to be acquired, to Kim Larsen’s ‘Hairline Fracture’, featuring a minuscule white edge.  
   Winding pathways are “lit” by yellow and variegated hostas, including ‘Fort Knox’[2], ‘Treasure’[3], ‘Golden Waffles’, ‘Temple Bells’, and ‘Grimes Gold’. Brunnera, ligularia, asarum, and other perennials are tucked among the hostas, while ferns reach upward, demanding “look at me.” Splashes of red, pink, and yellow radiate from coleus and caladiums, prominently displayed in cobalt blue pots. Dolphins dance along a blue-edged swimming pool holding floating pots of hostas, while nearby, water drips on to hosta leaves that have been bronzed, the leaves having been gathered from the garden. 
   About five years ago, the collection overflowed into a newly acquired lot and extensive tree removal was required. Multiple clumps of  ‘Lancifolia’ now flow with clumps of ‘Fragrant Bouquet’ and ‘Pearl Lake’[4], creating a snaking river of hostas that fades into the distance. Bark-covered paths lead through a maze of foliage where moss-covered rocks and tree trunks create a mystical forest. Mushrooms grow on old stumps;[5] a fairy, holding flowers, stands near a piece of gnarled driftwood, while recently acquired hostas are settling in to a new environment. 

   The garden is not only a showcase but also an educational venue for studying hosta attributes. A large collection of streaked hostas including ‘Gunther’s Prize’, ‘Rosedale Blend Master’, and ‘Blue Lightning’ nestled against a large ‘Bodacious Blue’[6], evokes dreams of variegated hostas of the future. ‘Cherry Berry’ and ‘El Niño’ show a southern gardener just how white a center or edge can be on a hosta. The blush of ‘Tickle Me Pink’ teases of things to come.
   For the species and Asian hybrids collector there are rare specimens over which to lust:  H. minor “Korean”, ‘Ogon Otome’ (a small gold), ‘Kinakafu Otome’ (a venusta type with chartreuse center and green edge), apple green ‘Mito-no-hana’ with pale yellow veins, a waist-high ‘Elatior’ (formerly H. nigrescens ‘Elatior’) yellow and green variegated ‘Shunko Niskihi’[7] (an H. montana), along with the old standard, montana ‘Aureomarginata’.  
   The twinkles in the eyes of Steve and Anna are reflected in so many places in their garden, and the serenity they have created is astounding. Too little time… What was behind that large wooden door[8] standing at the end of the last path…? Is it The Future?  

 

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