Wednesday, May 19, 2010

hostas--all research should be this fun!

OK--when last you left me, I was trying to decide between bright blue and hostas for my next quilt. Hmm. The bright of a day at the beach. Hostas--the softness of the mist and rain. Hard to decide. Sharon commented that she saw memories of Ireland that she was just visiting. My friend Kari Lonning said hostas--so many different greens, blues, whites, even chartreuse. Now for those who don't know Kari--a wonderful basket maker--she also has an amazing blog about her garden--do check it . But to continue.

I must confess I've been thinking about hostas myself.  Now in the past I've considered them  plants for well-manicured  suburban front lawns. You know those entryways to elegant doors.  Sophisticated.  (Please--don't throw your trowels at me.) This could be just because I've killed more than one hosta.  But then I planted one in a rather difficult location by the side of our house. And as it grew,  I grew to love its study in green form and texture. Just look at that color against the red barn board--yes I see those lilac shoots--later.

So yesterday it was time for  more research--and of course for me the best place is the Bridge of Flowers in Shelburne Falls, MA--so close to my studio.

The tulips are about finished and have been replaced by hostas at the entry way. Isn't this lovely?

Did you know the blueness is because of wax on the leaves? Interesting. It can wear off later in the season.

How different this one looks. Brilliant fresh greens.  Pointed patterns of leaves.

Or the wonderful patterns of gold and white in these leaves. It is important to look at the texture and substance of each leaf--almost meditative.

I walked across the Bridge--stopping to look at other hostas--some the most adorable miniatures--others in great varigated colors. At the other end is a little pond and weathered wooden fence.  The perfect shaded area for even more hostas. So relaxing. Studies in green. There's a wishing well here--what do I want?

A brilliant chartreuse against the rocks. (Why do I always think chartreuse sounds like a purple when I know it is a fresh yellow green? Do you make the same mistake?)

Oh this was love. Or at least lust. I drove  to my favorite nursery--Wanczyk Nursery in Hadley-- a family run operation with 80 acres of endless rows of trees, shrubs, plants. Amazing place. Their sign promises modestly that you'll be surprised how big they are--and they aren't kidding.  And I began my collection. But still I want more. This Saturday is the annual Bridge of Flowers Plant Sale-- from 9-noon in Shelburne Falls.  I'll get there early.

Meanwhile what is it about hostas that so intrigues me? Clearly they are  calm and complete in their designs. Such wonderful very subtle patterns and variations.  The need for careful observation. There is also a mystery in the space between the leaves. And so much more to learn--some of them even have red accents. There's a whole series called mouse ears. I simply must get at least one. I have only just begun.

And how to I make a quilt using my style to capture their essence? What fun to do this research!! Something to ponder. What do you think? Have you studied hostas recently? Do you have a favorite plant? What inspires your work?

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