I am always on the lookout for perennials that are able to withstand summertime heat and humidity and still look great as the growing season wanes. This year one of the late-season standouts is hosta ‘Dick Ward’. Despite the drought this summer, coupled with neglectful watering, it remains attractive well into October.
Above. Hosta ‘Dick Ward’ in the third week of October. The clump is about 19 inches tall and 25 inches wide.
While the foliage color is certainly fading, and there are a couple of browned-out leaf edges, all-in-all ‘Dick Ward’ remains quite attractive. Earlier in the season, the leaves were bright green with darker green margins.
A sport of ‘Zounds’, ‘Dick Ward’ has handsomely corrugated leaves with a thick texture that makes this cultivar slug resistant. For readers who are wondering, I don’t do anything to control slugs in the garden. Welcoming Wildlife summarizes my approach. I have a large population of resident toads, frogs, beneficial insects, and other creatures that keep them well controlled for me.
Above: ‘Dick Ward’, on the right side of the path, earlier in the season exhibiting bright green leaves with darker margins. On the left, the chartreuse-leaved hosta is ‘Inniswood’. Next to it, with purple flowers, is Hosta ventricosa ‘Variegata’, a handsome, hard-to-find cultivar that I think should be grown more widely.
I don’t know if planting location contributes to how well ‘Dick Ward’ has lasted this season. Once I have a clump that is large enough I may divide it to see if it performs as well elsewhere in the garden. In the meantime, I am simply enjoying all it contributes to the October garden.
Above: ‘Dick Ward’ neighbors ‘Inniswood’ and H. ventricosa ‘Variegata’, directly across the path, look more like most hostas do toward the end of the season.