Hope Reflected

Encouragement and Hope from God's Word

hostas Archive



January 2017

Planning Your Spring Garden

Written by , Posted in Gardening

The middle of winter is a great time to get dreaming about your spring garden! Wes and I have already started planning our outdoor projects for the warmer weather, and we are so excited for gardening this year. You may be wondering how to start planning your spring garden, or where to start, so here are some tips to get a head start on planning your outdoor living oasis.

Planning your spring garden doesn’t have to be hard, in fact, quite the opposite! It should be a fun experience; a time to take note of the outdoor projects you want to complete, and narrow down a list of what’s actually realistic for one season.

Tips on planning your spring garden:

1. Take note of the perennials already in your garden. This will help you determine what (if any) new varieties you want to introduce in the spring. Keep in mind that some perennials — such as hostas or peonies — expand and grow year after year. Unless you catch the peonies before they go to seed, expect more peonies this spring (and that’s a beautiful thing)!

planning your spring garden


2. Determine what annuals you want to include in your garden. This can be as easy as looking online, browsing local seed catalogues, and figuring out what’s going to work for your outdoor space. Depending on the annual, you’ll want to get your seeds early, and possibly even start them indoors before the thaw. Last year, Wes and I tried our hand at a few different annuals. While our zinnias started out strong, in the end only the bachelor buttons survived. Prepare yourself by getting any potting supplies you’ll need for spring (we like to pot our annuals, as it makes for a portable garden).

planning your spring garden


3. Start preparing for any major outdoor projects now. Many people have a misconception that planning your spring garden involves solely plants. Not so! If you’ve got dreams of building an outdoor patio or outdoor living area, get your plans completed now so when the weather breaks you can start strong! Last summer, Wes built a few dry lay stone benches, and also completed a dry lay border around our gardens. We had the supplies in hand long before the outdoor work actually got started.

planning your spring garden


4. Cultivate what you already have. It can be tempting when spring rolls around to get all excited about new plants and making changes to your property, and rightfully so! However, keep in mind while planning your spring garden that you need to care for what you have already planted. Cultivating a full and lush garden involves a lot of manual work, and consistent maintenance makes that work a little easier to manage. Did you trim back any perennials in the fall and do a final weed? If not, get ready to weed your garden and trim back any old growth before your plants come out of dormancy.

planning your spring garden

If you’re looking for more tips on how to get planning your spring garden, head over to my Pinterest and check out my Gardening board.



November 2016

Gardening | How to Prepare Hostas for Winter

Written by , Posted in Gardening

This past weekend, Wes and I were finally (finally!) able to get out and complete some much-needed yard work in preparation for the cooler months ahead. Mainly, we (Wes) were able to clean up the blowing leaves, trim back the hostas, and trim back the peonies for winter.

how to prepare your hostas for winter

As you can see, we’ve got lots of hostas around our home. We love them; in the summer, hostas are one of the most easy, low-maintenance plants you can get. They require very little attention, and they look fantastic. All. Summer. Long. We’ve been fortunate this year in that our hostas looked good well into October. Each year, we take care to cut them back before the snow flies, and so far, our methodology of how to prepare our hostas for winter seems to work (each year they come back stronger).

how to prepare hostas for winter

If you’re wondering how to prepare hostas for winter, here are a few tips:

  1. Trim the hostas back after the first frost. Try to do this before the leaves of the hostas get too wet and start to rot. Using shears or scissors (I used scissors), cut the hostas back and remove the leaves. I usually leave a good 3 inches or so on the stem.
  2. Dispose of the old leaves. For some reason, hostas seem to be attractive to slugs and snails. By trimming back the leaves and properly disposing of them (don’t leave them laying in your garden), you remove any protection or ‘home’ for the slugs. I’ve also heard from several avid gardeners that leaving a small bowl of beer out in the garden around your hostas is a great way to rid the garden of slugs and snails.
  3. Make plans to divide your hostas. Typically, gardeners recommend dividing hostas every few years. I was extremely fortunate, as all our existing hostas were gifted by our generous neighbours. Our hostas are coming into year four, and Wes and I need to decide which varieties we’ll divide next Spring. Dividing hostas is best done in the Spring.

preparing hostas for winter

Some people may choose to cover their remaining hostas stems with mulch; I’ve read mixed reviews on this method of preparing your hostas winter. In the photo above, you can see how Wes and I leave our hostas for the winter. We don’t cover them with mulch, we don’t do anything other than trim them back and get rid of the old leaves, and so far we haven’t been disappointed.

Any other tips you use for preparing hostas for winter? I’m interested to know!



September 2016

3 Hostas to Add to Your Garden

Written by , Posted in Gardening

I’m a huge fan of low maintenance plants, so it’s no surprise that hostas are one of my favourite perennials. Requiring little maintenance, hostas can grow just about anywhere, and besides watering, they’re some of the most low maintenance plants for your garden. If you’re looking for some hostas to plant in your garden, check out my Hosta Pinterest board for some inspiration!

Here are 3 hosta varieties to add to your garden that will definitely stand out:

1. White Feather Hosta. White feather hosts plants are characterized by their large, pure white leaves that emerge in late spring/early summer. Throughout the summer, you may notice green streaks developing on the foliage, and lavender flowers.

white feather hosta

img src jparker


2. Inniswood Hosta. What I love about the Inniswood hosta variety is the distinct texture on the leaves. While the colour of this hosta is similar to other varieties, the texture on the leaves gives almost a metallic look to the plant.

inniswood hostas

img src sunnysidegarden



3. Canadian Blue hosta. The Canadian Blue hosta has to be one of the most different hosta varieties that I’ve ever seen. I love how the steely blue contrasts against the green in the rest of this garden. What a beautiful plant!

canadian blue hosta

img src tradera

For more pictures of hosta plants and lots of gardening inspiration, follow me on Pinterest!



August 2016

5 Shade Gardens to inspire your yard

Written by , Posted in Gardening

I love anything green in the garden; the more foliage the better! Shade gardens are a great place to showcase your love for green. Wes and I love the cedars and hostas in our yard, and we’re always looking for more garden inspiration. Cue this curation of shade gardens from my Outdoor Living board on Pinterest!

Here are 5 shade gardens for your yard:

1. All the perennials. This shade garden features several different perennials, including hosta varieties, a Brunnera, a Heuchera, and a Pulmonaria. There are a few pops of colour, and even a wrought-iron accent for climbing plants. The garden border is clean and simple.

shade gardens featuring hostas

img src threedogsinagarden


2. Natural stones and hostas. I love a garden with some natural stone work throughout. Featuring hostas, ferns, and other green leafy vegetation, this shade garden will grow with time. It’s a rewarding experience when you watch your plants mature from the first season you plant them. Over time, hostas will spread and expand (you may even look at dividing them and transplanting after a few seasons).

shade gardens featuring lots of green

img src diyandcrafts magazine


3. A versatile garden and stone pathway. The stone pathway in this patio scene is lovely! Also lovely? The versatility in this shade garden. A great way to create interest is by potting your plants — small shrubs, hostas, even boxwood, — do well in urns or pots, and they allow you to move them throughout your garden.

shade gardens with stone pathway

img src havetid.blogspot


4. A proper border. I love a good stone border along the garden. An established border around a garden helps keep everything in its place, and actually draws the eye in to the contents of the garden. This garden has several varieties of hostas, as well as some hydrangea, and some cement urns. Talk about a sanctuary for small animals and birds!

shade gardens with stone border

img src indulgy


5. Backyard oasis. My Mum and Dad’s back shade garden has to be one of my most favourite places around. Their garden is carefully curated, and is a wonderful place to relax throughout the Spring, Summer, and Fall months. Complemented by a mature cedar hedge, emerald cedars, and some well-manicured boxwoods, Mum and Dad’s garden features several varieties of hostas, ferns, hydrangea, and a beautiful lilac bush.

shade gardens with stone steps

img src HopeReflected

For more inspiration, be sure to follow along on my Pinterest for lots of gardening and outdoor living ideas!




May 2014

3 Essential Perennials for Every Garden

Written by , Posted in Gardening

I’m slowly developing my green thumb, with some outdoor plants that, as my Mum puts it, are “low maintenance”. While I have to discipline myself to water on a regular basis, thus far things are looking lovely, and this Spring I’m up to the challenge of adding a few additional plants in my garden. Before I get to that however, I’d like to share three essential perennials for every garden. These are low maintenance, easy enjoyment plants that everyone should have in her (or his) garden.

A perennial is a plant that lives for more than two years. Perennials will (or should, if you plant them correctly) bloom year after year, and provide you with long-term gardening success. Long after the blooms and leaves die off for the season, the root remains and will sprout up each Spring or Summer.

Over the past couple of years, I’ve had some hearty perennials planted, which are sprouting well so far this Spring. Here are three essential perennials I’ve got growing in my gardens:

Beautiful periwinkle blue forget-me-nots in my garden. img copyright hopereflected.com

Beautiful periwinkle blue forget-me-nots in my garden. img copyright hopereflected.com

1. Forget-Me-Nots (perennial, good in part sun to full sun): Tiny little forget-me-nots are sweet, delicate flowers (mine are blue, but this perennial is available in pink and white). Forget-me-not blooms are rather short-lived (they bloom early in the season), and they spread well because of their generous seeds. [Note to fellow amateur green-thumbs: If you don’t want these blues to spread, then best plant them in a pot or collect and dispose of unwanted seeds once they drop.] Two years ago, I transplanted my forget-me-nots along the edge of my gardens, to use as complementary edging. It’s worked out well, and with each passing year they grow more and more.

My peony garden. img copyright hopereflected.com

My peony garden. img copyright hopereflected.com

Deep magenta peonies in my garden. img copyright hopereflected.com

Deep magenta peonies in my garden. img copyright hopereflected.com

Pretty pink peony. img copyright hopereflected.com

Pretty pink peony. img copyright hopereflected.com

2. Peonies (perennial, good in part sun to full sun): Peonies are perhaps the most well-loved perennials out there. I’ve yet to meet a girl who doesn’t love these resplendent blooms. Peonies can be light pinks, reds, even whites or yellows. The pretty petals in my garden are a mixture of the most feminine pink and also a rich deep magenta. The long-fingered green stems usually bloom early Summer (the pictures here I took last June). If you plan to enjoy indoors as part of a bouquet, pick early to avoid ant infestation in the blooms.

Hosta in my garden. img copyright hopereflected.com

‘Formal Attire’ hosta in my garden. img copyright hopereflected.com

Hosta and hydragnea in my garden. img copyright hopereflected.com

‘Aztec Treasure’ hosta in my garden. img copyright hopereflected.com

3. Hostas (perennial, good in shade, part sun): Hostas are hearty plants. There are more than 50 different hosta varieties, and I was fortunate enough last Spring to have a neighbour give me about ten hosta plants (of several varieties) to enjoy in my garden. Easy to grow, hostas make a lovely accent in any garden. [Cool idea: For a moveable garden, try planting a hosta plant in a container.]