IT is not necessarily true that familiarity dulls the perception of excellence, and when it comes to garden plants, I feel the majority never lose their thrilling appeal, however many times you come across their ravishing transient presence.
But the more we chase after the rare, the choice and unusual, the harder it becomes to relinquish them.
Nothing throws this into focus more sharply than the vexatious business of the changing seasons.
As glorious spring moves into high gear, we meet, greet, then must say goodbye yet again to our perennial arrivals.
They leave us and wisely go to sleep for another year.
But season change brings its own reward and by mid-March I can look forward to seeing once again my growing collection of hostas.
These luscious wonders dislike positions in full sun (also dryness of the soil) which makes them look wretched. What they long for in all gardens is heavy feeding with manure - any kind of manure - so long as it is dolloped over their crowns in a big, fat wodge.
This allows them to remain smug and cool and able to push out luxuriant leaves all through to autumn.
If you can follow the mulch now and again with a liquid feed (one based on seaweed extract would pay handsome dividends) their leaves I promise, will glisten with a new depth of green, yellow, or blue variegation.
If you grow the variety Patriot or for that matter Royal Standard or even Sum and Substance you will find that their stance and posture will rise quickly to the level of cockiness.
They will even start to take on the kind of lusciousness reserved for Swiss Chard.
No proportion of manure, I conclude, is too high for these leafy wonders, but get it on before the growth snouts unfold fully.
Beware of the slugs which will follow.
In wet counties these will be the hostas common enemy.
Ring the plants with pellets suitably hidden beneath pieces of slightly raised tile or crock. There are other alternatives of course but in all my years of battling these slimy pests none have given the kind of results I would like.
However, if you do succeed in finding a good slug and snail control, you will be able to invite all to see and marvel at your unblemished collection.