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I Was Looking For Hosta Plants But Found A Friend

Updated on November 2, 2014
SheilaSchnauzies profile image

SheilaSchnauzies is a Miniature Schnauzer rescuer, writer, crochet designer, gardener, crafter, wife, mom & friend living in Omaha, NE.

The Incomparable Hosta Lady

Hosta plants were the life's passion of my friend (name withheld due to family's issues with my article). She had the kind of yard that would be my ideal - no grass! She lovingly moved her hosta through 40 years and four states. During the last 20 years her yard was a licensed nursery. Hosta lovers from everywhere flocked to her gardens in the summer, where she would dig "starts" for you one at a time with an ancient knife and lady gardener spade. Every hosta had its story to tell and she would be glad to share it with you.

Her mind was still as sharp as the ratty looking huge knife she used to divide her hostas, but her vision was being stolen gradually by macular degeneration. When she was forced by loss of eyesight to move to a retirement apartment in 2001, She asked me to "adopt" as many of her plants as I possibly could. Over 300 of her hostas and other perennials made the move to my place in August 2001. My friend passed away in 2002. Her legacy lives on in the Hosta plants in hundreds of area gardens. This story is shared as my tribute to her memory.

This photo was taken right after I'd finished giving her a haircut on the front porch. Fun day!

A Word From Your Author... After receiving a barrage of hurtful accusations, threats of "action" and more from my friend's family members, I have temporarily removed my friend's name... and much of her story... from this article. Now they want me to remove the pictures of her too. Not happening.

My Friend's Yard, Entirely Hostas & Other Perennials - A yard with no grass... how cool is that!

Me, Digging In Her Gardens - Talk About A Workout!

I was having some difficult times, and playing in dirt with my friend was the best therapy in the world... "Dirt Therapy!"

A Walk In The Hostas

"Come on and go with me, you've got to see the hosta lady's gardens," my neighbor Jeff insisted. "You're already filthy from gardening, so it'll be perfect," he said jokingly. Did somebody say Plants? I'm in! We took off in his old Suburban for an old part of town that I had never explored. "Here we are!" he exclaimed.

There emerged from the front screen door of the once-neat blue-and-white small ranch home a tiny figure. "Hey," she called, "Are you here to look at hostas?"

The spry little 68-year-old woman took us on a tour of her gardens, which comprised her entire yard; everywhere you looked there were different varieties of hosta; no grass could be seen. She pointed out this and that favorite as I watched in amazement. She recalled every plant's name as if it were a long-lost friend.

At this time I had only three or four hosta in my yard. Her hostas intrigued me but not nearly so much as the woman herself - something about her made me want to come back and visit. In a strange way she reminded me of my late adopted mom - something about her feisty attitude.

I stopped by one day and knocked on her door - she was surprised to see me again and wanted to know if I came back for hostas. "No, " I told her, "I just came back to visit with you if you don't mind!" She invited me in and showed me around her little home. It was obviously in a state of neglect and I soon learned why. She had lost her husband about a year before and soon after, she suddenly lost most of her vision.

I was amazed at her wonderful sense of humor! She cracked jokes and chain-smoked Eve 120's as we chatted. She told me that she was born and raised in the Red River Valley on the border of Texas and Oklahoma. She lived on the Oklahoma side of the river in a tiny town. She showed me an old recipe book that the town's womenfolk had published back in the 1930's. What a treasure!

We shared a love of gardening, we read the same mystery authors, loved to cook, and had many other common interests. It was difficult to break away from our visit, only letting me go when I promised to return.

Return I did, this time with my teenaged son, John, self-proclaimed "Mr. Fix-It," in tow. He went straight to work clearing trash from the yard and house while I vacuumed and dusted. I visited her a couple of times a week. I would do up her few dishes, throw away the moldy food from uneaten delivered meals, and make sure her freezer was full of ice cubes for her beloved ice water. Her other essentials were dark Milky Way bars and the infamous Eve's. We kept her well supplied with both. Our friendship intensified along with the cold as fall drew into winter.

The following spring, she gave me a tremendous education held in a dirt classroom for weeks on end. One day, she dug up a start of what she said was her very favorite hosta, "Paradigm," and said "Here honey - this is for you." After that, she began to send "starts" home with me each time I visited. I accepted each one with great excitement. I was "hooked" - a hosta addict!

One late summer day a couple of years later, she told me her family wanted her to move to a retirement home. She was terrified that when her house was sold, the new owners would mow down all the hosta. I tried to assure her that no one would ever do that to such a splendid display, but she was insistent. She asked me to take care of all her "babies" for her, after allowing her family and friends to take what they wanted first. My son and I moved over 300 hosta plants from her gardens to my yard. It was a labor of love, creating new flower beds to hold all the newcomers.

In October, the relatives showed up with a U-Haul truck and began taking apart her "dying house," as she liked to call it, reflecting her wish that she stay there until she died. Furniture was carried past as I gave her a haircut on her front porch. I gave her a pair of red earrings, her favorite color and put makeup on her to "fix her up" to meet her new prospective friends.

All the while, my heart was breaking for her. I could not imagine giving up a cherished home of more than 30 years, leaving all the hundreds of plants purchased one at a time and babied so much. She sent all her mystery novels with me, more than 200 of them. It was just... everything that was her, vanished. I could not imagine her sadness.

After her move, I was ill and unable to drive to her new city. Finally, in April, I just had to talk to her. I dialed her number and found it was disconnected. As it turned out, she had spent the past two months in the tiny cemetery three blocks from my house. I went and found her and cried all over again.

There is a hosta named "Scooter." It's my favorite one.

I can never pay a tribute high enough to honor this scrappy little woman, whose friendship changed my life forever.

My friend gave me a tremendous education with lessons held each week in a dirt classroom.

The Big Hosta Move To My Home In Mid-August - There are dozens of hosta plants in each big container!

Coffee Buddies - My Friend, Like Me, Never Without A Cup of Coffee!

Didn't she look pretty in this picture? This was taken when she could still see well enough to put her face on and fix up.

The Hostas begin thriving at my home

A Very Special Visit! - My Friend Came To See Her Hostas At My Home!

One time, I convinced her to come over to my house! She was really afraid of leaving her home but she trusted me. Mom and I spent a lovely afternoon showing her around my gardens. They are both in heaven now but this is such a treasured memory!

What Do You Say?

Have you ever grown Hosta plants?

See results

The Hostas resumed their travels with me.

In the winter of 2007, we were transferred 500 miles away. After the first hard freeze the previous fall, I dug up as many hosta as I possibly could and packed them in cardboard moving boxes, then left them outside so they would go ahead and freeze up and be dormant for the move. Here they are planted and thriving again at our farm.

This Lens Was Awarded A Purple Star By Squidoo On June 13, 2012! - Thank you, Squidoo!

The elusive Purple Star is an award given by for writing achievement. It is a highly coveted award here at Squidoo, and I am very grateful! Thanks again, Squidoo!

Plant Your Comments Here! - Would Love to Meet You!

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    • SheilaSchnauzies profile image

      Sheila 4 years ago from Omaha, NE

      @marianmiamian: Thank you so much for your support! I love hostas so much, glad you do too! They are forever friends once you get them established!

    • profile image

      marianmiamian 4 years ago

      I'm glad you left this lens up. Beautiful and lots of good info. I love hostas also and want to incorporate them into our yard.

    • profile image

      GrammieOlivia 4 years ago

      great lens and a great friend too! Gardeners are great people! Moving this over to our FB page, come and join us there too!

    • Redneck Lady Luck profile image

      Lorelei Cohen 4 years ago from Canada

      Scooty sounds like a wonderful lady and the hostas are beautiful.

    • profile image

      akritenbrink 4 years ago

      @akritenbrink: This story has been edited and now makes this comment irrelevant. I flagged my own comment because I don't know any other way to delete it. Not familiar with this forum, sorry.

    • profile image

      crazy8s 4 years ago

      Thank you for the edits and the comments. I hope you understand how much I truly enjoyed reading your story about Scooty...a woman I have grown to love in my own way...because of my friendship with her son. I think you would love to see the hundreds of hostas he has in his own yard, something he was very proud of as he was quick to tell me the stories about her the first time I visited his house. Thanks for sharing the photos and your story.

    • profile image

      AlleyCatLane 4 years ago

      I love your story. What a wonderful friendship. I am sure you brightened her life as much as the hostas. It's wonderful you are keeping her babies going.

    • profile image

      crazy8s 4 years ago

      I happen to know one of the adult sons as well. I appreciate the story about her...I never knew her personally but have heard stories about her and in appreciate knowing more even now. However, I am also disappointed in the portrayal of her sons. I'm sure that was not your intention, but I've heard many of the same stories from a man who loved his mother and truly looked out for her best interest. I've never known many people with hearts as big as her son's and it's unfortunate and disappointing this wasn't portrayed. In fact, he has quite a number of her hostas in his own yard and they are his pride and joy, a continuing of a legacy of something she loved so much. Thanks for sharing the part of her story that you knew....but you do not know her sons the way you think.

    • SheilaSchnauzies profile image

      Sheila 4 years ago from Omaha, NE

      @akritenbrink: How can you say I never met this woman... she was my dear friend! Yes I did meet both her sons, on more than one occasion. I probably know more about the family than you think I do. Scooty talked to me a LOT over many years. I don't know YOU. If you want to talk further about this, use the contact me form and explain who the heck you are.

    • profile image

      akritenbrink 4 years ago

      There was absolutely no reason to drag Scooty's sons through the mud in the story and make it sound like they were neglecting her. You don't know the full story of their family and what happened between them.

    • profile image

      akritenbrink 4 years ago

      @PamelaU: You've never met this woman or her "useless son" and this woman does not know the whole story behind the family.

    • Nightcat profile image

      Nightcat 5 years ago

      Lovely! I adore coffee, mystery novels, and gardening too. Small world. :)

    • WriterJanis2 profile image

      WriterJanis2 5 years ago

      This lens is so sweet. Blessed!

    • paultheprogrammer profile image

      paultheprogrammer 5 years ago

      Fantastic lens from a really lovely lensmaster. great work, thank you very much for sharing your life!

    • VeseliDan profile image

      VeseliDan 5 years ago

      This story is very beautiful. I wish I would know both of you! *blessed*

    • UKGhostwriter profile image

      UKGhostwriter 5 years ago

      Fantastic!!! - what an inspiration

    • lilymom24 profile image

      lilymom24 5 years ago

      Absolutely one of the best lenses I have read! You brought Scooty's love of hostas to life and made it so I wish I had had the privilege of meeting her. Thanks so much for sharing this wonderful story of a wonderful lady. I'm sure she treasured your friendship as much as you treasured hers. =)

    • marigoldina profile image

      Heather B 5 years ago

      I love stories about people, especially bright and cheerful people like Scooty! I am so glad you were a part of each other's lives.

    • profile image

      jazziyarbrough 5 years ago

      Thanks for sharing, never knew what a hosta plant was. A great heart-felt story, I am glad you found a wonderful friend. Great Post, keep up the good work!

    • javr profile image

      javr 5 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

      I had really nice hostas with great bunches of flowers. The deer ate all of the flowers. Still have the pretty leaves though.

    • PNWtravels profile image

      Vicki Green 5 years ago from Wandering the Pacific Northwest USA

      Beautiful hostas and a beautiful story!

    • profile image

      SandyCloss 5 years ago

      loved it!

    • flycatcherrr profile image

      flycatcherrr 5 years ago

      What a wonderful tribute. Thank you for introducing us to Scooty.

    • profile image

      myamya 5 years ago

      Very nice lens! Thumbs up!

    • PamelaU profile image

      PamelaU 5 years ago

      I am utterly useless with plants, but I enjoyed this story. Shame about her useless son.

    • Wednesday-Elf profile image

      Wednesday-Elf 5 years ago from Savannah, Georgia

      What a special lady Scooty was. You were her lifeline -- a special friend. And, reading between the lines of this story, you 'got back' as much as you gave in friendship! Your transplanted Hosta plants are a great reminder of your special friend. Thanks for sharing this lovely story.

    • intermarks profile image

      intermarks 5 years ago

      A very nice story, it is great to have people like you around. Our world need people like you.

    • Scarlettohairy profile image

      Peggy Hazelwood 5 years ago from Desert Southwest, U.S.A.

      Very nice. Thanks for sharing this with us.

    • Millionairemomma profile image

      Millionairemomma 5 years ago

      So heartwarming.

    • squid-pinkchic18 profile image

      squid-pinkchic18 5 years ago

      Very sweet lens here. You were a great blessing to her! Thank goodness she had someone like you to help her along. Squid blessed!

    • MartieG profile image

      MartieG aka 'survivoryea' 5 years ago from Jersey Shore

      Lovely story and I admire the time you gave to another ~blessed~

    • Bookmama2 profile image

      Bookmama2 5 years ago

      "Plant your comments here." ha ha I LOVE it. Great story of friendship. Too bad that your health issues came at a time Scooty was further away.

      Hostas are one scrappy plant. Twice I've bought them, forgotten to plant them (well just not found the time) and they have survived all winter in a crummy nursery-size pot and no watering, etc. Very hardy. So I'll keep getting these hardy survivors. I also had no idea Amazon sold plants. Learn something new every day!

    • profile image

      Ruthi 5 years ago

      Whar an awesome tribute to both Scooty and you! The hostas are beauties. My roomie is known as the "Hosta Man" here. He has many varieties of the hosta and yes, a story to tell with each one of them.

    • tjustleft profile image

      tjustleft 5 years ago

      Such a sweet story. You went looking for plants and found a treasure :)

    • Celticep profile image

      Celticep 5 years ago

      This is such a beautiful and moving story, thank you so much for sharing Scooty and her beloved hostas with us :)

    • CamelliaPenny profile image

      Perrin 5 years ago from South Carolina

      Wonderful lens . . . I love the lenses like this that are about real-life human connections.

    • MarilynThompson profile image

      Marilyn Thompson 5 years ago from Washington State

      well told lens, glad you were there for her!

    • profile image

      vBizeso 5 years ago

      Nice Lens

    • Gypzeerose profile image

      Rose Jones 5 years ago

      Lovely lens, Angel Blessed for personal content with a purpose. Pinned to my "Heroes" board, as I think there is a bit of heroism in an elderly person who stays lively and giving in spite of challenges.

    • Frischy profile image

      Frischy 5 years ago from Kentucky, USA

      I love your story about Scooty! Thank you for sharing her, and her hostas, with us. My neighbor offered me some hostas last week & I did not think I would be able to find a place for them. While reading your story I got an idea. I am going to call and see if those hostas are still available. If they are, I am going to call them my ScootIes!

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      What a fun and informative lens to visit. Congratulations on the front page honors on Squidoo, and well deserved.

    • favored profile image

      Fay Favored 5 years ago from USA

      I love your story. My first hosta came from an elderly neighbor who had a story to tell also. All my plants came from the original he has given me and I've given tons away. Though the hostas may be gone, the story lives on.

    • Fcuk Hub profile image

      Fcuk Hub 5 years ago

      What a great story :)

    • pyngthyngs profile image

      pyngthyngs 5 years ago

      A wonderful story. THanks for sharing.

    • aesta1 profile image

      Mary Norton 5 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      Love hostas and I used to get the different kinds available.

    • profile image

      trendydad 5 years ago

      what a beautiful plant

    • profile image

      mumsgather 5 years ago

      Congrats to you too Sheila. Nice to be with great company. :)

    • puppyprints profile image

      puppyprints 5 years ago

      my Mom had some of those plants whne I was a kid. I used to pop the purple flowers... kids do strange things!

    • KimGiancaterino profile image

      KimGiancaterino 5 years ago

      I love this story, but am sorry Scooty's family couldn't have helped her more. I'm not surprised the new owners destroyed her garden. The same thing happened to my friend Rose, who lived to be 101. A beautiful garden she had maintained for more than 60 years was ruthlessly plowed under by the nasty guy who bought her home. She never knew about it, thank goodness.

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      I have read that hosta plant usually reaches full maturity in 48 years

    • Cari Kay 11 profile image

      Kay 5 years ago

      I love this page. This is one of my all-time favorite pages here on Squidoo. Blessed!

    • darciefrench lm profile image

      darciefrench lm 5 years ago

      Many thanks for sharing the lovely story of Scooty's hostas :)

    • profile image

      bossypants 5 years ago

      Congratulations on the front page honor! I loved meeting Scooty through you and learning more about what a remarkable friend you were to her.

    • jadehorseshoe profile image

      jadehorseshoe 6 years ago

      Great Story!

    • Anthony Altorenna profile image

      Anthony Altorenna 6 years ago from Connecticut

      Scooty was a remarkable lady, and your story helps to keep her memory alive. Thanks for sharing.

    • GypsyLyric LM profile image

      GypsyLyric LM 6 years ago

      What a lovely story! I love my hostas -- and now I want to go get more!

    • FernLady profile image

      FernLady 6 years ago

      Very lovely story about your dear friend Scooty. I do believe gardening brings people together. And I am a hugh Hosta lover.