Not Pic of the Day 6-09-08 Where some have gone before...

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Not Pic of the Day 6-09-08 Where some have gone before...

Postby jgh » Jun 09, 2008 6:51 am

'Captain Kirk'

In a previous post I made a passing reference the clear superiority of Picard over Janeway – a Star Trek reference, for those who have been living underground for the last forty years. People have their favorite Star Trek captain… Kirk, Picard, Sisko, Janeway, Archer… and the “discussions” among members of different camps are not too different from those among the supporters of various hostas proposed as “the best.”

Emotions sometimes run hot and strong. The list of topics one should not discuss at a party has expanded from politics and religion to include favorite Star Trek captains and favorite hostas. I won’t enter into either fray.

But those who get lost in the contrast between the scenery-eating William Shatner’s Kirk and the Shakespeare-like musings of Patrick Stewart’s Picard tend to forget that it would have all been impossible without Christopher Pike. Yes… it is true… the first captain in the Star Trek franchise was Pike, played by Jeffrey Archer in the pilot. He later chose not to continue in the series.

Which brings us to hostas. This is a forum about hostas, remember?

Captain Pike is clearly the most under-rated Star Trek captain… yet without him, there would be no Captain Kirk. So what is the most under-rated hosta? I would maintain that it is H. ‘Gold Standard.”

A sport from the ever-sporting ‘Fortunei Hyacinthina’, Gold Standard was registered in 1976. It is a very vigorous hosta, growing rapidly to a large clump of dark-margined, light-centered foliage. The margins begin green and become chartreuse later in the season. The center changes from yellow to a parchment-white. These color changes are highly light-dependent.

Given its excellent qualities, Gold Standard was a breakthrough hosta, grabbing the attention of gardeners who would have turned up their noses at the plebian “green one” and “green-and-white one.” This was a hosta that could serve as a focal point in a mixed perennial bed.

As so often occurs, familiarity bred contempt. Everybody seemed to have Gold Standard, so it became “invisible.” Newer, and supposedly better, yellow-centered, green-margined hostas came along. And then we had the influx of HVX plants from budget producers. But I still use GS often in landscape plantings. It is amazingly inexpensive and works well as an accent or a mass planting.

If GS hadn’t earned its place in the Hosta Hall of Fame on its own merits, it would still find a place there through its progeny. GS continued the sporting nature of its parent and has given us many of the finest hostas available. Perhaps the two finest are Striptease and Captain Kirk.

Zilis uses the term “impressive” for 'Captain Kirk' – and given the number of hostas he has seen, Zilis isn’t impressed easily. A Kirk Brill registration from 1999, CK makes a large mound of green leaves, 8” x 7”, with narrowish yellow centers. It can test your patience… like so many of the yellow-centered hostas, it appears green and takes weeks to develop its proper variegation. It grows well and tolerates wide range of light conditions. All-in-all, a fine hosta.

CK has given us some sports, most notably the white-centered H. ‘Enterprise.’ I expect that one of these days, someone will find a sport that emerges with the yellow center, relieving the impatient of the aggravation of waiting for CK to “color up.” I’d suggest the name Jean-Luc, since this would be a clear improvement over 'Captain Kirk' in the same way that Stewart was a clear improvement over Shatner…

Whoops – I promised not to go there, didn’t I!

Finally… one more pic, a sport I’ve had for three years on my CK. It is white-centered and appears to differ in some respects from Enterprise. If it does prove to be different, some of you will remember I have tentatively named it “Dammit, Jim!” After all… where would Kirk be without McCoy?

Hosta Registry - http://www.hostaregistrar.org/detail.php?id=1051&Variety=Captain%20Kirk
MyHostas - http://myhostas.be/db/view/Captain+Kirk
Hosta Library - http://www.hostalibrary.org/c/captainkirk.html

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Last edited by jgh on Jun 10, 2008 12:20 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby Chris_W » Jun 09, 2008 7:20 am

I think 'Captain Kirk' is a really nice hosta. I like 'Enterprise' too, as it seems to hold up better and grow better than many other white centered hostas. Both might suffer from a bit of a commonplace look, but I still like them both :)

Now I have to wonder where Hosta 'Vulcan' fits here? It is a white centered sport of 'Captain Kirk', so shouldn't it just be another clone of Enterprise? Seems to be part of the ongoing rivalry between Q & Z and Shady Oaks where each ends up introducing their own version of the identical sport. Likely they were discovered around the same time and named independently.

Compared to what I've seen of 'Enterprise' your sport might have a wider green margin. Would probably give it an even better growth rate if that's true. Are you going to separate it?

There was one clump of hosta in my garden that I didn't have a tag on and it had bugged me for a few years. Just last night I noticed that it had an eye that looked just like Captain Kirk and that light bulb went off and I remembered the clump had been a solid yellow sport of 'Captain Kirk', but I forgot until I saw the reversion. My guess is that this solid yellow plant is pretty close to 'Richland Gold', although I've never grown that one.
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Postby renaldo75 » Jun 09, 2008 7:55 am

Another fine & entertaining NHOTD. :P
GO HAWKEYES!!!

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Postby DBoweMD » Jun 09, 2008 8:58 am

Chris,
Richland Gold is a pretty nice plant, I'll have to bring you one at the get together. I bought a huge one dirt cheap last year and divided it up to accompany a lot of Hyacinthina's that came with the new house. It looks just like Hyacinthina when it emerges, but turns gold at the same speed as Gold Standard.
I like Captain Kirk too, don't have the sports of it.
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Postby nanny_56 » Jun 09, 2008 8:54 pm

:lol: Dammit, Jim! :lol:

uhm... very nice...I have Capt. Kirk and really like it, though mine is still quite small. We really do need a Picard and a McCoy would be nice too!
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Postby flowerchild59 » Jun 10, 2008 7:25 am

Great post Jim.
I have a Captain Kirk that just blew my socks off this spring. It is an outstanding hosta in my opinion. And I also happen to think James T. is the best captain too :lol:
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Postby moongirl » Jun 10, 2008 9:51 am

Oh Great. Just what I needed. Mix two of my loves and then add a 'Dammit Jim' just to make sure I go there. I need to buy a bigger back yard.
Does anyone out there have a Mr. Spock waiting in the wings? Or Data?
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Postby Arlene » Jun 10, 2008 2:05 pm

I love Captain Kirk, too . . . But maybe my favorite part of Jim's latest chat was his tribute to Gold Standard.

When I first got interested in hostas, I bought 5 pots of GS, divided them, and planted a row across the front of our house. They were between a row of yews and (EEK!!) thick and beautiful ivy. After a couple of years, this combination was very interesting when viewed from a boat going past the house . . . The GS thrived, and, sweeping from east to north, displayed a perfect range of coloration. And around the north corner, in much darker conditions, it was a totally different plant.

I'm happy, all these years later, to have "clean" Gold Standards, since all I see in the marketplace is HVX infected . . . I tend to pop them in here and there, and always love the color differences and the way they brighten up a dark area.
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Postby addieotto » Jun 10, 2008 8:27 pm

I still love my Gold Standard. IMO She's a good plant done wrong by "budget producers".

Loving every letter of these NPOTD's!!!
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Postby newtohosta-no more » Jun 11, 2008 4:40 pm

I really like Captain Kirk, but I love Gold Standard. A real workhorse of a hosta that just darn looks good!

And if we take a vote....I'd go with Picard and his crew. :wink:
May you all "live long and prosper". :D
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