Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Blue Hosta Martini

Shortly after logging on to the internet for the first time I landed on a gardening site where I met some great friends. They were the cyber variety that eventually became the kind you meet in person.

One of those early cyber friends was Maggie, who lived in Texas. She had a lovely garden. Well, as lovely as is possible under the blazing Texas sun. She was always unhappy with the fact that she coudn't grow things like peonies and delphiniums. Her greatest sadness though, was the inability to grow a hosta of any type. No matter how much nurturing and shade she provided them, they burned into crispy bits.

I was unaware of the depth of her despair when I posted a photo of my "Big Blue" hosta (Hosta Elegans). The caption to the photo read, "This Hosta Elegans grows to a width of between 6 to 8 feet, depending on the weather conditions."

Maggie was beside herself.

"WHAT??? That's can't be true. It's one of those urban myths," she posted.

I went back out into the garden, grabbing my camera and the first item within reach that would offer a sense of scale. What did I grab? A martini glass. And thereafter the martini glass became the standard of measurement here at the farmhouse.

(Where's Waldo? the martini glass? Can you spot it?)

Even with the martini glass as evidence Maggie found it impossible to imagine a hosta that was wider than she was tall.

The online gardening group planned a get-together here in northern Illinois and Maggie made plans to come and see the monster for herself.

She arrived at our home early on a Sunday morning, before the appointed time for the brunch. The dew was still hanging on Big Blue's leaves, like transparent pearls. Maggie stopped in her tracks at the sight of the legendary blue hosta. Her shocked quickly turned to a flood of emotions and she laughed and cried all at the same time. Tears of pure joy at the sight of the plant and distraught that she would never be able to have one in her garden.


"It's a monster!" she exclaimed. "You must take my picture sitting in front of it, otherwise my friends will never believe me."

She went back home to Texas, giving up her dreams of hosta in the garden. A short time later she e-mailed me:

"Sometimes we must pay attention to our limitations. If we try to swim against our own reality we only end up making ourselves miserable."

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The morning of the brunch, after I took photos of Maggie and hosta, I dragged her inside to help me pop the breakfast casserole in the oven. I wanted to fix her a Bloody Mary to cheer her up, but instead I created a martini and named it "Blue Hosta Martini". She had drank three. But heck, she had a ride back to her hotel.


Thanks for visiting my garden and don't forget to pull some weeds on your way out.



American in Norway said...

Oh... I so need a Martini....& a yard...
Ours looks like a nuclear wasteland... Thanks goodness I am leaving for vacation & won't have to look at it all summer....
Your garden is beautiful!

Tiffany said...

Where I live, my weeds grow biger than your hosta!I'll need a huge marguerita glass to use for scale. You can come look then we'll drink a dandelion marguerita.Blended, with salt.

Trish said...

What a great post....you write so well,....and it was like a story. I am going to go outside right now and 'kiss' my hostas. Yep....if it were not for my hostas I would not even have a garden. Their huge leaves provide shade and water droplets for my other more delicate flowers to grow under.

Bobbi said...

Wow - what a hosta! I live in Kentucky, so I have wonderful luck with hostas as well (Sum and Substance, need I say more!) Great photos - and great story!

Simple Answer said...

I should send her a picture of my hostas this year. Pathetic. I don't know why they are so angry, but they are small enough they would only garnish a martini.

GemStateMom said...

I love hostas...just planted my first three this year. They are tiny, baby little things. Someday, maybe, if I am blessed, my 'big blue' will thrive and grow too.

And I appreciated "Maggie's Nugget" very much - wise words.

Anonymous said...

Here in Michigan, especially in the "shady older neighborhoods" like mine, we can grow hosta. I used to feel bad that I didn't have more sun for other perennials, but have since grown to appreciate the many gorgeous varieties of hosta. I have quite a few in my Japanese garden, and will have to take photos to share with you (but my photos won't be as fine as yours...) Thanks for drink recipe, too. Sounds like the perfect thing to sip at the end of a good day of gardening.

Mary said...

Wow! She's a real beauty! Terrific story, Suzanne. You are such a wonderful writer!

Vee ~ A Haven for Vee said...

Guess I could really enjoy that martini as I love Blue Hpnotiq. What a great story and beautifully told! I love that your friend waxed so philosopical by the story's end. There are so many things that could stress us out. I've wished for years to be 5'6"!

Rue said...

Poor Maggie! I know her pain. I cannot for the life of me grow hydrandgeas. Now, don't go out and post a picture of one of those or I might just drink Maggie under the table ;)



I guess I better go buy one of those glasses for measuring things around here...I serve all drinks, all kinds, all wines...everything in tumblers!

Kendrawolf said...

No hostas will grow here in Phoenix either.

BittersweetPunkin said...

I am struggling to keep my plants (the few that I have)thriving...so I feel her pain!

Great post!
Have a great day!

Dejoni said...

This sounds like the perfect garden cocktail.
I shall try this next weekend while out in my garden.

Jill said...

I am sad to say that I just don't like Martinis... though they are so classy looking that I always try them (just in case my taste buds changed from the last time).

The hosta is beautiful too!

Kat said...

I have one of those in my yard. Well...the baby version. And I didn't know it was a blue hosta...I just thought it was a hosta. I don't speak plant.

Suzanne said...

Tressa - Make yourself one. Do you have to go shopping in Sweden to find Hypnotiq?

Tiffany - Oh, believe me I have VERY BIG WEEDS alos. Dandelion Marguerita? I'm all over that.

Trish - Yep, give those hostas a big smackeroo. The leaves are huge.

Bobbi - Sum and Substance....the grandaddy of them all. There's one at the garden center that is enormous.

Simple Answer- Oh, I know. I hunted for a Lemon/Lime hosta for a couple years. I was committed to finding one because they are so colorful and small. I wanted to see one peeking out from under some bushes. After all that drama finding the thing....it up and died!!!

Paula - If a hosta takes to the spot you've put it in, it will thrive and in a couple of years you'll have to be dividing it. Phew...that's more work.

Cindy - There's a place about an hour south of here that has more varieties of hosta than I ever knew existed. In the world of gardening there's an enitre hosta culture and some of the miniature varieties are sold at astronomical prices.

Mary - Thanks so much for the compliment. Don't tell my family , they'll scoff.

Vee - I'm with you. My daughter got a bottle as a gift and I was surprised how much I liked it. Mixed with vodka it's really good. BUT...when I was taking pictures of the Vodka on the tray my son said, "Mom...why are you taking photos of that cheesy vodka?" I guess he deemed that brand to be "headache producing." Hmmmm, that would be a hangover, not a headache.

Rue - I could produce photos of FABULOUS hydrangeas. They just wouldn't be mine. I can't grow them to save my life and I'm sick about it because I love them so much.

Liberty Post - Martinis IN TUMBLERS????? I'm coming to your house. Really.

Kendra - I know. I've been to Phoenix. You do grow some awesome fire ants though.

Robin - Here's what you need to do.... Plants need a stern lecture when you put them in the ground. You tell them....look, it's sink or swim around here. I'm not babying you, so you better get with the program and grow.

dejoni - Try one and let me know what you think. It's very refreshing and unfortunately it goes down very smooth and fast!

Jill - I know. It took me awhile to warm up to martinis. AFter all it's all liquor. You'll probably acquire a taste for them when you hit menopause. HA HA HA HA HA. Inside joke.

Kat - Blue hosta just refers to the color family. Some have a blue/green cast to them.

Thanks everyone for visiting with me today. I appreciate it.

Mamahut said...

I'll take a large martini to go with my little hosta.

Do they get bigger with age? I did! So I figure my hosta's and martini's should too.

Angela said...

Wow! Love the martini recipe! I've got to try that, as martinis are the national drink of my home, LOL!

Your plant notes have intrigued me, because I don't know much about plants but I'm nearly certain we've got those plants growing (determinedly, I might add) in our yard. I think they're quite beautiful and want to plant some more. I feel terrible for your friend who can't grow them but wants to, because I have a black thumb - but these plants are thriving quite cheerfully (and without interference from me!) in my yard!

Happy Tuesday!

Cottage Rose said...

Now that is a big Hosta. I have never seen one that big. What on earth do you feed it..... I really liked the way to told your story. You are a great story teller. Have a great day.


Suzanne said...

Mamahut - There you are! The hosta reach their full size in a year or two. I believe that martini's should continue to grow.

Angela - If you've got them in your yard you're lucky. They pretty much take care of themselves. You can dig them up, split them and you'll get more plants from the one.

Cottage Rose - Nope, don't feed them. Plant them, scold them and they're on their own. Thanks for the nice compliment. I like to tell stories.

- Suzanne

Rph Mommy said...

It's 9am, and I want a martini. A blue martini.

I wish I had talent with flowers. I wind up forgetting that they need to be watered, needy things those flowers, and shockingly they die. Yours are gorgeous.

Janet said...

Guess that just proves that the grass is always greener or the hostas bigger and bluer. We planted two of the large blue elegans this spring and they are already making some progress. My shade garden should look lovely in just a couple of years.


Kathy said...

What a fun story, though I feel sorry for your friend. I love hostas as much as the floral beauties in my yard. This one sure is something. Love the name you gave it!