African hosta

High tea and Hosta happiness…

What a delight.

After a busy morning of garden oggling and riding to and fro on the bus while at Buffa10 in July, we got a wonderful break.

We were treated to high tea in bone china cups, home made scones with clotted cream and jam, and a delightful visit with gardener and author Mike Shadrack and Kathy Guest Shadrack at their home in the woods outside Buffalo.

Mike is co-author of The New Encyclopedia of Hostas, and several other books about hostas. He signed books for those of us who bought them and entertained us with some tales about his life and garden.

This garden was an oasis. Though it was a hot day, the setting there was serene and cool as we were surrounded by tall trees, green ferns and hostas. A sparkling creek trickled below the wooden deck and even flowed under the Frank Lloyd Wright-style house.

Like ladies of leisure (and gents), we sat in the dappled shade and enjoyed our tea and scones, feeling pampered and special on this lovely afternoon. Pam of Digging, Melissa of Houston Garden Girl and I had a great time chatting over tea.

The deck overlooking the creek far below was the perfect spot for relaxing and comparing notes from the gardens of the day.


One of Mike’s specialties is miniature hostas — they look so cool and inviting — I can’t help but wonder if I might not be able to grown them in Texas and just bring them inside in the heat of summer!
The views from all around the property were spectacular.
And more miniature hostas scattered all about. What a fun collection this is.
And the Alliums were staring at me everywhere I turned. You may remember I was smitten with them at last year’s Spring Fling in Chicago. After we returned, I tried for the second time to grow them in my garden, but they fried when the sun really came out. Even these spent blooms were calling me in the garden.
It was hard to know where to look – the beautiful tall canopy of lush trees or the little magical secret gardens that adorned the bases.
I posted many blooms from this garden, particularly day lilies, in my previous post about the flowers that struck me most in our adventures.
And yet more little vignettes of hostas to delight the eyes.
No stone left unturned in this garden – there were little green surprises everywhere.

I jokingly suggested to Jim, one of our Buffalo hosts, that we could spend the rest of the day and the evening under those glorious trees in the shade, and just order in pizza! He laughed, but I could see that he, too, liked the idea of spending more time in this glorious garden.

Very Variegated V…..


Phooey – I’m late for Foliage Follow-up, and I couldn’t think of anything else appropriate that starts with “V.” (Writer’s block!)

But I do have some lovely foliage in the garden thanks to some good spring weather and the recent rains.

I’ve been introducing more variegated plants into the shady areas of my garden over the last year, and they are putting on a show right now.

This is new growth on an agave that almost died last winter.

Walking my garden with me this morning, Robin of Getting Grounded commented that its foliage looks soft, not hard like an Agave. Guess that’s that fresh, new growth.

Isn’t it funny how something so tough and so spiny can also look so delicate at times?

This is a Crystal Palace Gem Geranium.
This is variegated Mikaela Euonymos – it’s a very compact shrub – hasn’t grown much at all since I planted it two years ago. The deer have munched on it once or twice, and while it didn’t do what I wanted it to do, it looks pretty right now.
The variegated Dianella — Flax lily — died back in the freezes, but they are all coming back nicely now.
This is an Agave americana var. mediopicta f. alba.
Sparkler sedge that I got at the Great Outdoors last week — Carex abula — thanks to a tip from Pam at Digging.

This is Carex hachijoensis ‘Evergold’ — well, maybe it’s not. Actually the Carex across the path is the ‘evergold’ — so this would be…..hmmmm….another kind?!
This variegated Vinca keeps coming back in the middle of my Abelia, and I will rip some of it out, but I may try to plant it somewhere that I would actually LIKE for it to grow. It is pretty.
Another variegated sedge or miscanthus — my record-keeping last summer left something to be desired, didn’t it?
These are my blooming African Hostas. Aren’t they cool? Drimiopsis maculata.
The variegated shell ginger by the pool are all coming back nicely.
And last, but not least, the variegated Eureka Lemon tree that rose from the dead and will live to fruit another day!

Happy Foliage Follow-up, and thanks to Pam of Digging for inviting us to share the rest of the story after bloom day.