Here is a Hosta that adds subtle highlights to the shade garden. Hosta ‘Francee’ is new to my garden this year, and I’m already appreciating the way the white edged leaves gleam in the shadows. The pretty flowers above the variegated leaves were an unexpected bonus on this perennial.
The oval leaves of ‘Francee’ have defined ribs running along them. Each leaf has a thin white edging along the leaf margins, making a subtle variegation.
The variegated leaves mimic the effects of dappled light on leaves under the trees. In the above photo of ‘Francee’, you can see how the spots of real light blend with the white edging, in a similar colour and pattern. When there is no actual direct light, the leaves of this plant still give the illusion of dappled light in the shade garden.
I wasn’t expecting the flowers of ‘Francee’ to be as pretty or as noticeable as they are. This closeup shows the bottom flower open, and a number of buds above. The lavender buds open to very pale lavender flowers that have faint purple stripes inside. These flowers are prettier and more numerous than I anticipated for a foliage plant.
Since it’s new this year, I don’t yet know how this perennial overwinters in zone 3, but I think it should do just fine, as most Hostas do. It should also fill in with more leaves next year, getting wider and taller. The mature plants are much more dense with the solid leaves.
I liked the way Hosta ‘Francee’ looked in the shade, a solid leafed plant with subtly variegated leaves, so I added two more to other garden areas. All three of the Hosta have lacy ferns nearby, which emphasize the leaf texture. The picture above shows ‘Francee’ with Athyrium filix-femina (lady fern) behind and the silvery gray Pulmonaria ‘Majeste’ (lungwort) to the right.
Another ‘Francee’ is paired with some Athyrium ‘Ghost’ (Ghost ferns). My third one is matched with some Brunnera macrophylla (Siberian bugloss), Onoclea sensibilis (sensitive fern) and Matteuccia struthiopteris (ostrich fern). Ferns and Hosta are a classic shade combination.
Do you have some favourite Hosta in your garden, and what plants do you like to pair with them?