About Kirkside Hostas
Kirkside Hostas is setup as a hybridizing garden. There are only a few display beds. Most of the plants are grown in 5 shade houses ranging in size from 15' x 40' up to 20' x 60'.
Most of the breeding plants are in pots which are placed in an 8' x 40' area completely enclosed with shade cloth to keep out insects while they are flowering. After the seeds have been harvested in the Fall, approximately 20,000 to 30,000 seeds are planted in the basement around the first of December and grown until Spring. By Spring, after being culled 2 or 3 times during the Winter, there are around 3000 seedlings left.
After another culling,1500 to 1800 seedlings are then planted in beds in a shade house. The seedlings are planted 6" apart in rows 8" apart and left to grow for the next 2 years. After 2 years, the seedlings are vigorously culled and a few are potted to be used as breeding plants and a few are planted in a shade house for further evaluation over the following years. The best of the culled out plants are offered for sale and the rest are either composted or fed to our chickens. So after 2 years there are less then 100 plants that are grown for several more years and eventually maybe 5 or 6 will be deemed worthy of being registered.
Older plants in Shade House #2
Shade House #2
My name is Clarence Hanna and I am an addict. I am a confirmed hostaholic. I live in Marion, Ohio with Jane, my wife of 38 years.
My problem began in 1999 when a friend of my wife’s gave her a hosta clump and said just cut it into pieces and plant it. Not knowing what we where doing, we divided the clump into 8 pieces and planted them along the end of the house. I was amazed that every one of them grew and by the end of the summer we had a nice row of green hostas.
That might have been the end of my interest in hostas except that the following year I went to an auction where a nursery was going out of business. I went to buy some perennials but saw that they were selling some hostas too. These hostas were different than the one that we already had and they were labeled with the name of the variety. Some of these had white and yellow markings, which caught my attention. Well I ended up hauling a truck load of new hostas home that day. After that I started researching hostas and looking for sources to get more and found that Wade & Gatton is only 45 minutes away.
In the Fall of 2005 I saved some seeds and tried growing them in the Spring of 2006. The Winter of 2006 I bought a bunch of streaked seed on E-Bay and grew them to get the first streaked breeder plants. The next progression in my addiction was to see if I could get seeds from crossing the plants that we had. After a lot of researching I made some crosses of my own in 2008. I retired in March of 2010 after working 33 years as a general contractor building houses. That is when the addiction became all consuming. I finally had the time to spend with the hostas and I spent the summer pollinating. I met Doug Beilstein early in the summer of 2010 and he became my mentor and good friend. We have taken several road trips together to visit other hybridizers and to gather breeding plants.
My original hybridizing goal was to create the largest hosta that I could. As you can see in the accompanying picture, I have been fairly successful. That is a single clump in the pickup. My interests have expanded to include wavy edged and yellow plants of all sizes. I spent three years working with hosta with red petioles, but have now been working with heavily corrugated plants the last couple years.