This Hosta Garden originated with the gift of Harvard University’s Arnold Arboretum Hosta Collection from the Case Estate in Weston Massachusetts. Over 100 Hostas were transplanted to this location in 1992 by members of the Maine Hosta Society under the direction of David S.K. Platt. New Hostas added annually bring the current total to over 200 varieties in over 300 clumps making this the largest public Hosta Garden in Maine.
Hostas are extremely popular, easy-to-grow, hardy, herbaceous, and resilient perennials, grown primarily for their beautiful foliage which appears in a wide range of shapes, colors, sizes, and textures. The leaves may be solid in color or variegated in different combinations of blue, green, white, chartreuse, gold, and yellow. Foliage textures vary widely, appearing glossy, matte, rippled, puckered, corrugated, heavily veined, and/or ridged. Hostas generally reach full maturity in 4-8 years and vary in size from miniatures a few inches in diameter to giants over 8 feet.
Hosta’s botanical origins began in China where they evolved in an environment with abundant rainfall and canopy shade. Their range over time extended to Korea and then to Japan. Hostas were first imported to Europe in the late 1700’s and soon became a favorite of European gardeners. They were introduced into the US from Japan in 1870, thus beginning the American love affair with this beautiful leafy plant that continues to this day.
Currently there are 8000 varieties (cultivated species) of Hostas of which 5000 are officially registered. Each year approximately 500 more are introduced through hybridization, tissue culture (cloning) and ‘Sports’ (genetic mutations). Hostas take their name from the Austrian botanist, Nicholas Thomas Host. Hostas are also referred to as Plantain lilies, but the term Funkia is now considered obsolete.
This Hosta Garden with its beautiful birch shaded path is the most sought after location in the Arboretum for weddings, wedding photos and class photos. It is also one of the coolest spots to walk or just take a break on a hot summer day.