Most every Memorial Day weekend, we head to HostaFest.  It's a two weekend extravaganza, featuring yes, hostas.  I love it. If you find yourself intrigued, you can still go next weekend! Sat and Sun, June 1 and 2. 9am-5pm. Click here to find out the particulars....It was kind of a wet weekend here in Southeastern Wisconsin, but Scott and I headed out between rain drops and gentle,  yes-downright cold mist, to tromp around once again. We did not get overly wet, and as always enjoyed ourselves immensely.

HostaFest is sponsored by Al's Auto Body and Arboretum, just a bit south of Delavan, WI.  Al fixes cars and loves to grow things...all in the same spot. The arboretum itself  is about 5 acres of scores of utterly majestic hardwoods, carpeted with row after row after row after mass of just about any kind of hosta imaginable (450+ varieties).  To walk into the arboretum, is to walk into peace.  It's well tended, but not over tended. The space feels organic and welcoming. Kind of like stepping in Another World.

To help support the arboretum, there are hostas of all sizes and shapes for sale.  The prices are competitive with what you might pay in a nursery.  One of Al's daughters, has a booth where she sells small orphan hostas.  Nellie's Orphans.  Nellie offers a wonderful variety of wee baby hostas, and they are very inexpensive.  I bought four yesterday.  Not only do I love to raise the babies into big beauties, but I am always looking for a way to indulge my garden obsession without breaking the bank.

A good number of years ago, I worked for a nursery guy who was a hosta lover.  Up until that point, I thought they were kind a a bleh sort of thing to put into your garden.....it took me about a week of seeing the plethora of shapes, textures and the many of shades of green that hostas offer... I became rather obsessively hooked. I bought my first "collectible"  hosta at the end of that same week. "Great Expectations".  A real looker-varigated cream and shades of medium green to blue leaves. She is still growing robustly and beautifully in my garden. I have divided her twice to multiply the pleasure-she is a slow grower....I have since added more than 50 various and sundry hosta varieties to my collection....some of them grown from little root nubs  left over on the potting house floor.  These are among my favorites.  Right now there are several huge "Cup and Saucer" gracing  the gardens.  These all came from a tiny 2" leaf, with a little root nub attached.  That first season it grew in a small pot in a sunny inside window. I transplanted it outside in the fall, and marked it, to make certain it was not overlooked....within a few more growing seasons, I had the collections of robust beauties that we now enjoy.  Ultimate gardening satisfaction.....

Here are some shots of the arboretum. I should mention that visiting Hosta Fest is free. The only cost would be the hostas you might decide to purchase.


 


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