A THOUSAND WORDS - Alex Waterhouse-Hayward's blog on pictures, plants, politics and whatever else is on his mind.


A Halcyon Irish Spring
Tuesday, May 05, 2009

"Manly yes, but I like it too" Irish Spring soap commercial 1970s

At about this time, every year I call up the only other person that I know in Vancouver who shares my love and excitement for the Genus Hosta. Donald Hodgson is a retired school teacher who lives in North Vancouver. He has a backyard wholesale hosta business and he grows only the best of the proven hostas that once established will delight the eye for years during the growing season and come back like clockwork every spring. It was at about this time that Donald Hodgson would say, “I love them now when they are emerging from the ground, the leaves are unfurling and they are pristine. My heart aches at their perfection."

Alas Hodgson, my friend died last year. One of the worst moments of my life happened when his widow Joan called me up to pass by her house and pick some plants. Hodgson was gone and there I was walking on his garden picking plants with a ghost in tow. It was sad yet in some way I felt that by taking some of his plants he would somehow live on in my garden. So many of the best hostas in my garden had already traveled from his garden to mine through the years. Every year he would visit and we would look at each individual plant (I have around 400 of them!) and discuss its merits.

I miss Donald Hodgson. I miss the man with whom I shared my passion for hostas.

Here are four leaves looking as pristine as Hodgson would Imagine. The bluish one is Hosta ‘Halcyon’. In a month it will become even bluer. In late June Halcyon has many very showy mauve flowers. The variegated leaf is from Hosta ‘Whirlwind’. It is extremely easy to grow in spite of its bold elegance. The third leaf is a “gold” Hosta ‘Marilyn’. She is albescent. This means that as the season progresses the leaves will fade to almost white. The last greenish leaf is simply the underside of Halcyon. If I had to pick the one hosta in my garden that is my steady favourite it would have to be this one.

"Fresh and clean as a whistle."
Irish Spring soap commercial 1970s


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