Happy Hollow- Hosta Mecca

Hosta Heaven
Hosta Heaven

Do you want a  garden trip to a run of the mill big box store? Or do you want personal attention? And do you have shady areas in your garden that need TLC and need the ideal plant for that perfect spot? Look no further than Happy Hollow nursery in Cockeysville, MD. Specializing in hostas and other shade loving plants, Sue Bloodgood grows the most extensive collection of hostas around and can share excellent advice on plantings in difficult shady areas that you are scratching your head about.

Selections of miniature Hostas at Happy Hollow
Selections of miniature Hostas at Happy Hollow

Carrying over 200 hosta varieties, Happy Hollow nursery is tucked away in a suburban neighborhood in Cockeysville, MD, and a great place to see the many varieties of Hostas. These can vary from tiny plants suitable for troughs or rock gardens to massive 4-foot clumps with heart-shape leaves almost 2 feet long that are puckered, wavy-edged, white or green variegated, blue-gray, chartreuse, emerald-edged — the variations are virtually endless. This tough, shade-loving perennial, also known as plaintain lily, blooms with white or purplish lavender funnel-shape or flared flowers in summer which are attractive to pollinators.

Sue Bloodgood surveying her dizzying array of hostas
Sue Bloodgood surveying her dizzying array of hostas
A tray of miniature hostas showing the variety that the 'littles' come in
A tray of miniature hostas showing the variety that the ‘littles’ come in

Two large greenhouses full to the brim with hostas and other shade companion plants, like Brunnera, Pulmonaria, Tricyrtus, and shade grasses, Sue carries many unusual and hard to find plants, like “Praying Hands” Hosta.

Praying Hands Hosta
Praying Hands Hosta

Praying Hands is a 2′ wide clump composed of strangely folded, dark green crinkled leaves, each with a narrow, creamy yellow border which resembles a multitude of hands folded in prayer.

Praying Hands Hosta
Praying Hands Hosta

I went to Happy Hollow when I needed some miniature hostas for some clients. My local wholesaler carried about 3 varieties of minis and I needed more. Sue Bloodgood carried at least 2 dozen varieties of minis and it was hard to choose from them all.

I was designing plantings for a boulder garden in the shade and wanted miniature hostas
I was designing plantings for a boulder garden in the shade and wanted miniature hostas

I fell in love with one of her hostas, called ‘Striptease’ and had to take one home.

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Hosta ‘Striptease”
Hostas are the perfect foil for so many plants
Hostas are the perfect foil for so many plants

Boutique nurseries are becoming more and more popular when you are looking for something unusual and the selection at the big box stores can be limited. I haven’t seen miniature hostas other than ‘Mouse Ears’ or the one pictured above called ‘Striptease’ anywhere before, and I do a lot of plant shopping. Catering to a small segment of the discerning buying public, boutique nurseries are struggling to stay in business and are competing with larger nurseries that carry a little bit of everything. But Happy Hollow doesn’t sell fertilizer, pots, or bird houses – they simply sell the best hostas anywhere. And for personal attention and advice for gardening in the shade, stop in at Happy Hollow Nursery. Their contact number is 410-252-4026.

Hosta "Mouse Ears" is adorable!
Hosta “Mouse Ears” is adorable!

For more ideas on shady ground covers, go to my post “From the Ground Up-Choosing the Right Ground Cover For Shade “.

A simple ground cover of hostas can be very effective-Blue Cadet
A simple ground cover of hostas can be very effective-Blue Cadet
Millbourne 176
This one is Kabitan

For more info on Happy Hollow Nursery, go to  Happy Hollow on Facebook.

Plants at Your Fingertips!

Planted table ready to go
Planted table ready to go

Planted Furniture for the Patio

I went to a cocktail party at a plant lovers house, saw his planted table and was enthralled! I was sure that I could create one just as good, if not better.

I looked around for a table that I could buy and convert to a planted table, but it just wasn’t practical.

As I create drawings and plans of gardens for a living, I drew what I wanted to scale and took the drawing to a carpenter friend and explained what I was going to do. He made a beautiful table out of treated wood for me with very sturdy legs to carry the weight of soil and plants.  I told him that I needed at least 3 inches of soil in the top for root growth and he created the perfect table.  I stained it and made sure there were plenty of drainage holes in the bottom and set to work.

Drainage holes were drilled into the bottom
Drainage holes were drilled into the bottom

I lined the whole thing with landscape cloth and filled it with soil.

Lined with landscape cloth
Lined with landscape cloth

After adding a good quality potting soil with plenty of vermiculite to lighten the load, I added fertilizer and leveled the mixture into the table top about an inch and a half below the top of the sides.

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I let the soil settle over the course of a week and then started the fun part of planting.

Since the table was to be placed on a patio in partial shade, I selected shade plants with beautiful foliage and some seasonal pansies for lots of color.  The pansies can be rotated out later in the spring when the weather warms up.

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Ferns, pansies, lamium, polka dot plants, mazus, and forget me nots were all planted

I placed flat stones to set drinks on and then covered all the soil with moss mounds from a local florist.

Moss adds the finishing touch
Moss and a glass ball adds the finishing touch

I have had it for 6 weeks now, and the plants are growing and filling in.  I keep it misted with water about every 3 to 4 days and the moss is holding up fine.

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All grown in 6 weeks later
All grown in 6 weeks later