Plant envy

I love visiting different climate zones and seeing what sort of plants grow there. I kind of expected to see lots of grasses, echinacea (cone flowers) and other prairie-style plants in Chicago, but what has surprised me is the number and range of hostas there are. Everywhere we go – be it in planters in front of office buildings, in front gardens or in public parks – they appear to thrive. Every size and colour of hosta, from the tiniest ones with leaves live mouses ears to the huge ones that have leaves that are the size of giant dinner plates. Clearly the long cold winters that they get here in Chicago are too severe for the dreaded slugs that attach our hostas in the UK. The wonderful hostas in Chicago are completely hole free.

I feel a bad case of plant envy coming on. I love hostas (something I think that I must have inherited from my mum), but my attempts at growing them has been dismal. Despite every conceivable deterrent I have tried: slug pellets, coffee grinds, crushed egg shells, garlic liquid applied to the leaves, sheep’s wool pellets, beer baths – the slugs still manage to get through and munch away until the plants look like lace! This year in a final attempt the one hosta I have remaining has been elevated in a pot onto a table – but I’m not holding out much hope that by the time I get home the little critters won’t have defeated me again.

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