Wednesday, Jun. 21, 2006
Dear Diary:

Last Sunday I again motored to the nursery 90 minutes from me in order to buy a T-Rex hosta for the spousal unit. I find this plant somewhat repugnant and yet I went to great lengths to buy one. Why did I do this, why did I go to such an effort?

Because I am a SAINT of a woman, that's why.

There I was with my tiny pot o' hosta from the designer section of the nursery. On a whim I decided to stroll over to the nose bleed section of the nursery where they keep the gallon pots of the [airquotes]common[/airquotes] hosta.

Some of these hosta are quite beautiful, but they've been around forever. They're not new introductions, so hosta people tend to curl their lips at them. Me, I'm not a hosta collector, me I buy them because I feel they're beautiful and because they're a fabulous low maintenance plant.

So if I see a "peasant" hosta I like, I pick it up.

I was rummaging around the hoi polloi hosta when I saw some Sum and Substance that made my heart skip a beat. I wish I could say that the sight of these beautiful, yellow, HUGE crinkly hosta caused said skip from joy, but it was anything but.

They were infected with HVX, or Hosta Virus X, an incurable disease that weakens, deforms and ultimately kills hosta.

There was no mistaking the illness. Instead of being pure gold, the leaf had a green "ink bleed" along it's veins. Tiny little pinpricks of burn peppered the leaves, another classic sign of the disease.

Even worse, it was clear that employees of the nursery had cut off parts of some Sum and Substance leaves that had been made particularly unsightly by the disease. The thing is, HVX is spread through sap. Contaminate a garden tool with HVX by getting the sap of an infected plant on it, and then go cut another hosta or slightly damage another hosta's roots by cultivating out weeds, and voilą, you've spread HVX.

Oh crap.

I went to find the person in charge of the hostas to see if they had spotted the infected Sum and Substance. Not only had she and her workers missed it, they'd never even heard of HVX. When I heard that I felt like having a seizure, but figured that she might not listen to a woman twitching on the ground and foaming at the mouth.

I explained the seriousness of it, which she seemed to brush off. Fine. I very quietly went back to the designer hosta section and put the T-Rex back because I have no way of ensuring that someone who worked in the peasant hosta section didn't use infected tools in the designer section.

What really rots my socks is that I bought about 2/3 of my last hosta haul at that nursery. I put these plants in a quarantine nursery bed because that's just good sense when buying hosta, but had I known that the nursery had HVX I would not have bought from them at all.

So now I get to spend the rest of this season and next summer as well obsessively fretting over whether or not these plants have HVX, about whether or not I have to burn them.

Burning them is the equivalent of setting fire to about $80. So far they look perfect. So far.

ARGGGGGGHHHHHHHHHH.

On hosta forums (oh yes, there are on-line forums where people get together and talk about nothing but hosta and shut up it is too interesting) the consensus is that it's stupidly risky to buy hosta from the big box stores such as WallyWorld because they don't screen for HVX.

I somewhat naively assumed that the chi chi nursery would automatically screen for this illness. I assumed wrong.

The spousal unit was deeply disappointed that I did not buy the T-Rex. I explained why, but still There Was Moping. There were pointed remarks made that I had bought other hosta from that nursery, but suddenly wouldn't buy one he liked.

Fine.

I'm heading out Friday with a fellow hosta lover to another nursery that is again 90 minutes from where I live in the hopes I can find him this somewhat reptilian looking hunk o' greenery that I don't even care for.

The things we do for love, eh?

--Marn

Mileage on the Marnometer: 392.43 miles. 10 per cent rubber duck10 per cent rubber duck
Oh, man, but I am having a hard time building back stamina. Ouch.


Goal for 2006: 1,250 miles - 2000 kilometers



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