We visited the Hanging Hostas garden at “Narra”, Frensham Lane in Lindford on 30 June 2014 – a very threatening, grey afternoon. We were lucky not to be rained on and 16 of us gathered at the Village Hall car park and went in several cars. The owner, John Baker, met us and showed us round his fairly small but packed garden which had very narrow walkways through hundreds of hostas, all in pots. His partner, June Colley, and he had set it up and now have 1,500 varieties of hosta plants; there are 3,000 varieties in all in the world; there were various watering systems for all the 2,000 plants which meant they could go away and leave them happily.
John took us round the side of the house pointing out various hostas and naming them for us – too much for me to remember so the photos below don’t tell you much. Down the side of the house there were racks of “hanging hostas” on the wall of the house and opposite in the boundary. He took up us onto the balcony overlooking the back garden and there below us was the bog garden full of pagodas of hanging hosta plants; and further down was a waterfall – if you look carefully at the photo you can see the water (I have labelled that one).
We then visited the Islamic Garden with the stream running past – very peaceful. We came back up the other side of the house and there were even more hanging hostas. In the front garden again we sat down to a lovely cuppa and biscuit and he talked some more about the 2,000 hosta plants and numerous other plants in the garden and about how the BBC came to visit with Monty Don and filmed. This film can be found on YouTube – “Hanging Hostas of Hampshire.”
John told us some of his secrets – as in the film – everything was planted in compost, grit and humus and he said that cleanliness was the secret to healthy plants. In the winter he clears up all the dead leaves around the plants and he says they need dappled shade and about 4 hours of sunshine a day (don’t we all). He also told us about his mixture for watering when the leaf spikes are beginning to come up – and that is diluted amonia. During the summer he also waters with diluted Epsom salts – all this to kill off the slugs and snails. In the film he mentioned that they do scatter the blue slug pellets around in February and also gave his recipe for a garlic solution that he keeps in the fridge (clearly labelled) – crush garlic cloves (in a poly-bag with a steak hammer or rolling pin!), boil up in a litre of water for 5 minutes, sieve, bottle, chill and add a tablespoonful to a litre of water and spray the leaves.
Afterwards we were able to purchase some hostas and other plants from John and also from his neighbour and we all went home happy – and dry!!
The photos are below
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