Pic of the Day--Abba Dabba Do

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Pic of the Day--Abba Dabba Do

Postby Hank Zumach » Apr 18, 2007 10:33 am

Hi All--Today's variety, Abba Dabba Do, is not for those whose primary appreciation is for subtlety in the garden. This is a plant that demands attention. I mean, how can anyone avoid looking at a plant that has striking foliage and is about 7 feet wide? We got Abba Dabba Do in 2002 and have it planted in a spot that gets several hours of mid day sun. Its growth has been steadily upward. Beginning in 2002 it has measured 19x10, 32x14, 51x20, 67x30 and 81x30. That is bigger than Zilis' listing for an average mature size of around 60x28 and in the area of a possible size of up to 75x35, again according to Zilis. This size makes it one of the two largest hostas in our collection, along with Blue Angel. Slugs have not been a problem although I do use a routine application of Deadline MP. The photos are from 2002, 2004, and 2006.

Registry - http://www.hostaregistrar.org/detail.ph ... Dabba%20Do
MyHostas - http://myhostas.be/db/hostas/Abba+Dabba+Do
Hosta Library - http://www.hostalibrary.org/a/abbadabba.html

Abba Dabba Do 6-24-02c 026.jpg

Abba Dabba Do 7-2-04c.JPG

Abba Dabba Do 6-26-06c 19a.jpg
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Pic of the Day--Abba Dabba Do

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Postby Tigger » Apr 18, 2007 10:50 am

No, Hank, not subtle at all! As younger plants, one might have a hard time at 20 paces telling it from Yellow River, but the growth rate (and the more upright habit) gives it away when they're a couple of years grown on.

Chez nous, we're using this upright habit to advantage, and even cheating a little by growing them up through a peony hoop to hold the outer leaves even higher. It's a matched pair (divided from a fast-growing single clump) in a border planting (the blue and gold border, with Birchwood Parky's Gold and blue tardianas beside), where there are Sky Pencil hollies as exclamation points. My pic of this was too early in the season to show this well; I'll do better this year.
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Postby hummingbird » Apr 18, 2007 11:01 am

A beauty Hank....my garden back in Canada has a nice mature one there of it and yes what differance a few years makes on this one for certain...a very big transition fron a lil tike.
One thing I have found with ADD is it tends to go into 'shock' more if transplanted leafed out than many hostas would do, has anyone else noticed this? I had to move it one time since I didn't judge the space it would need as a mature plant very well :roll: and boy it sulked big time no matter how much drink I gave it from the get go. This move was in spring too, not in the heat of the summer, so go figure.
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Postby newtohosta-no more » Apr 18, 2007 1:01 pm

Wow! What beautiful form! I better make sure I give mine lots of growing room! :o
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Postby jgh » Apr 18, 2007 1:19 pm

I'll admit I give Hank some guff about his POTD every now and then... but I don't think it is much of a stretch to see a hidden message when he responds by choosing a hosta he knows is one of my top favorites and then stressing that it is BIG... UNSUBTLE... DEMANDS ATTENTION... all traits Hank knows are associated with yours truly! And people think he's a nice guy... humph!

I would take offense if I wasn't forced to agree with your assessment of the hosta AND of me.

Abba Dabba Do was introduced by Tony Avent back in 1993 and registered in 1998. Given Tony's penchant for cute names related to popular culture, I just assumed it was a reference to The Flinstones. But after a little research, I wonder if there is something more involved.

ADD is a sport from Sun Power. Given how popular that all yellow hosta is... in thousands of gardens... it is really surprising how few sports are in the market. Zillis does list some. ADD is the most common. I was always surprised there wasn't a common reversed sport... yellow centered with green margin. Marco Fransen has introduced a fine entry in that category - Paradise Power. Also can't leave out Kurt Brill's 1999 registration, another Sun Power sport called Abba Dew, with muted light green center and yellow margins.

Since Zilis was published, the only sport I know of from ADD, the white margined, green centered Zippity Do Dah, has been introduced.

But back to the naming. I see that Paul Aden registered a couple of Sun Power sports, Abba at Large and Abba Aloft. This wouldn't be surprising - building on ADD's popular name... but these two were both registered all the way back in 1990 - prior to ADD's release by several years. So... did they collaborate on the naming... or was Paul naming things Abba based on something else - the Swedish band, perhaps? - and then Tony built on the name, taking it a different direction? Anybody know the back story on this.

Hummingbird described transplant setback in ADD. I, too, have experienced this. I also think people should be aware that ADD shares a trait with Sun Power that can be a surprise. When you purchase SP or ADD in the nursery, part of the appeal is the relatively narrow wavy leaves. The narrowness is an adolescent characteristic... the leaves will be narrow and give a more spikey visual effect to the mound for several years. In a mature plant, the leaves are much larger and are relatively wider than in the adolescent plants. This quality can give people a surprise... a nice, spiky 3' diameter mound can be a 5' mound of wider, flowing leaves in just a couple years. Back to Hummingbird's comments... if you take a mature plant of SP or ADD and divide it, it is likely that the divisions will go back into the adolescent foliage for a couple of years at least.

I know people love Sun Power, but it has just never lived up to my hopes. It burns easier than I'd expect, it grows more slowly than I would hope... and the mature leaves just aren't as interesting to me as the younger ones. But ADD doesn't share these "weaknesses." It grows much faster, tolerates lots of sun, and the leaves are gorgeous at all stages. The difference in growth rate is obvious in my first photo, one of the entrances to my friend's garden (we call it Harbor Lane Gardens - South since I planned it and planted it with her). You can see the huge ADD we used as a centerpiece. In front of it is a Sun Power that was actually larger than the ADD when these two were planted. The other two ADD pics are from my garden. Unlike Hank's, mine doesn't keep getting bigger... mine is actually shrinking a little. I suspect that may be due to crowding, lake of fertilizing, and competition from the silver maple roots. Mine seems to have topped out at "only" about 60" in diameter.
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Postby Tigger » Apr 18, 2007 2:44 pm

On the "Abba" name:
Paul Aden, later in his career as an illustrious hybridizer, gave a number of his hostas an "Abba" name; there are 10 registered ones, all registered in 1990. (Yellow River is the only hosta he's credited for registering later than this, in 1993.) "Abba" in Hebrew means "father;" perhaps Paul was placing himself as the father of hosta hybridizers? (debate amongst yourselves)

So then was Tony Avent honoring or tweaking Mr. Aden with this name? (he has admitted the connection to Aden's "Abba" naming convention.) Granted, the name is right up Tony's alley, and maybe he saw some resemblance to Fred Flintstone or Barney Rubble? (I could not come up with a photo of Mr. Aden anywhere) Of course, Fred's catchphrase was Yabba Dabba Do.
Last edited by Tigger on Apr 18, 2007 4:32 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Postby thy » Apr 18, 2007 3:10 pm

:lol: When I read
appreciation is for subtlety
.. I knew you 2 would be on the roll :lol:

Love it, knew I did not have the space for it so gave it as a gift to my son :wink: He is going to seel his old house and have just bought a new one so thanks Rachel and Jim your timing was perfect.. I will ry to get it moved before it unfurl ... hope it doon't set it back, this would be it's 3 year.

Hank yours seem to have swallowed the laminums.. maybe it like vinca too :o

Great pics :D
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Postby Mary Ann » Apr 18, 2007 5:38 pm

This thread prompted my "crowded" thread. When Hank posts his PODs, I check my own. My ADD is lost in a sea of leaves, does not demand any attention. :( Yours is lovely, Hank, and well placed.
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Postby Roxanne » Apr 18, 2007 5:54 pm

Abba Dabba Do is one of my fastest growing Hostas here. I have it grouped with Sunpower and Zippity Do Dah. I'm glad I planted them with room to grow! I hope to take a pic this year.
JGH, Atlantis is a wide margined sport of Abba Dabba Do, registered in 2004, and I bought it in 2005. It is a must have Hosta, IMHO. Here's a June pick of Atlantis from last year. :P
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Postby LucyGoose » Apr 18, 2007 6:22 pm

OMG, I love this one!! And Roxanne, that Alantis is a killer.....Mary Ann you crack me up with those crowed hosta beds....:lol:....I hear your yard is small, too.....but at least you have shade......:-)

Thanks Hank!!

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Postby Hank Zumach » Apr 18, 2007 7:51 pm

Let's all try to pretend that we didn't notice JGH's irrational babbling about how every adjective I use to describe hostas is really about him. :o :eek: If it wasn't for his encyclopedic knowledge of the background of every known hosta variety he would be a good candidate for the men in white coats and the funny farm. We should probably also try to overlook his inablity to fully appreciate a mature Sun Power. Its all part of the same pitiful psychopathology. :D
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Postby LucyGoose » Apr 18, 2007 8:11 pm

:lol: :lol:
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Postby Roxanne » Apr 18, 2007 9:34 pm

:lol: :lol: You guys are too funny! To add to this, I agree with JGH about Sunpower. Mine got big, then declined. Hey, I have proof of my concern! When Jimmy Mac was here helping me out last fall, I had him go out and put a shovel in the beds all around Sunpower, at least 6-8" deep, because I was worried about a tree root issue......He didn't hit a thing at all, so I left it.
Hank, you're Sunpower is stunning! :P
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Postby Wanda » Apr 18, 2007 9:56 pm

jgh: Yep, I was one of those really surprised/disappointed when my young hosta with long skinny leaves changed to the wider mature versions! I think that is one of the main reasons Atom Smasher appeals to me so much...I want hosta that will keep those long skinny leaves!!!

I just love my ADD - a beautiful bold hosta. And I use Sun Power here as my gauge for when water is needed...it shows it needs water faster than any other hosta I have.

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Postby eastwood2007 » Apr 18, 2007 10:22 pm

Hank, that photo of Sun Power is exquisite! I don't have Sun Power yet as I am out of room for larger hostas, but I look at it everywhere I go. Maybe I'll just make a little bed like that one right in the middle of my front yard! :o :D
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Postby jgh » Apr 18, 2007 11:41 pm

Oh, Hank... I can truly appreciate Sun Power - but usually only in other people's gardens!

After several years in one spot, it just wasn't doing too well for me, so in 2003 I moved it to a new bed. It gets about 3 hours of midday sun. Somehow I just thought a hosta named SUN Power would handle sun pretty well. Silly me!

You can see how well it managed the move! Undaunted, I knew that it would adjust to the transplant. Just wait until next year, I said. So the third picture is from 2004.

By the way, all of these pics were taken in mid to later August...
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Postby jgh » Apr 18, 2007 11:51 pm

Ah... but hope springs eternal!

In 2005, in June and July... looked pretty good!

I just don't look at it in August!

Actually, I'm planning an arbor to give some relief to this area... even Sagae burns up pretty bad by August in this spot...
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Postby jgh » Apr 18, 2007 11:58 pm

Tigger - thanks for the info on the name... and for reminding me about the Yabba!

Roxanne - I love Atlantis... hadn't heard about it before, though it is just what I expected... like Liberty is a wider margined Sagae, I just knew there had to be a wider margined ADD coming down the pike!

I had an all yellow sport of ADD that I was hopeful about... grew much faster than Sun Power, colored up earlier in the season... but it shrunk after I moved it and declined each year... I'm not sure it will come back at all this year... I had tentatively named it Abba Dabba Don't...
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Postby Arlene » Apr 19, 2007 12:45 am

I bought a fairly large ADD three years ago and it delights me every time I see it. It's pretty much by itself so it really stands out -- beautiful hosta! Thanks for featuring it as HOTD!
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Postby Linda P » Apr 19, 2007 6:53 am

Hank and Jim...you two are starting to sound like brothers.... :lol:
Great hosta, great family. Roxanne, now you've gone and done it. I'm going to have to look for Atlantis. What a stunning plant.
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