Hirao Majesty — Elegance

Hosta ‘Hirao Majesty’ July 4 2017, scan from my garden — Alex Waterhouse-Hayward

In 1986 when my Rosemary, our two daughters and I moved to a house with a large garden in the Kerrisdale neighbourhood of Vancouver my knowledge of gardening was comparable to my knowledge of particle physics.

Now in 2017 I know a lot about hostas but I find no charm in particle physics.

For about 15 years I attended conventions of the American Hosta Society and I met and became friends with many of the legendary hybridizers of the genus. In short I know my stuff.

In 2002 during a lull in my photographic assignments (how would I suspect then that the lull was going to be a permanent one?) I decided to find out what would happen if I lay a bourbon rose, Rosa ‘Reine Victoria’ on my very good Epson flatbed scanner (I have an even better one now, an Epson Perfection V700 Photo). The result (lots of beginner’s luck) was spectacular.

Rosa ‘Reine Victoria’ 2002

I thought about it and decided that henceforth I would scan as many of my plants (especially my roses) at 100% for accuracy of size and I would record the date of the scan. When possible I compared the actual rose to the colour of the scan on my calibrated monitor.

Now on July 4, 2017 I have in my files (and backed up) many scans as Tiffs. In some cases as in Reine Victoria which is a hard to grow rose in our rainy Vancouver springs, the scans are the only record of plants that once did well in my garden but bid me goodbye. Somehow this scan of Reine Victoria ameliorates my loss.

In our front door in our Kitsilano duplex I have a large dark green and shiny hosta. I was not too sure of its name ( I lost the label in the moving from Kerrisdale) but I had my suspicion. With many hostas, particularly the variegated ones the best way to identify them is through the appearance of the yet unopened flowers on the scapes (hosta nomenclature for stems), by the colour when they open and if there is a hint of fragrance.

Hosta ‘Hirao Majesty’ July 4 2017

For the last two weeks I have admired the unopened flower. It is to my eyes as elegant as a Chinese spoon. I reluctantly cut it today to scan it.

Hosta ‘Hirao Majesty’ June 30 2014

I decided that the hosta was Hosta ‘Hirao Majesty’. After my scans when I stored them I noticed I already had some Hirao Majesty Tiffs. To my delight when I opened them they confirmed my suspicion that outside my door is a hosta, that is not variegated. It is just green but if you look at it its elegance is obvious to the eye.

Hosta ‘Hirao Majesty’ July 4 2017

Originally published at blog.alexwaterhousehayward.com.