A hosta habitat, but so much more

O'Brien hosta closeup As anticipated, the visit to O’Brien Nurseryman in Granby, CT was wonderful, awe inspiring, informative, fun, and a feast for the eyes.  In addition to multiple – 1600 to 2000 varieties of hosta – you find hundreds of daylilies, conifers, maples, and multiple other shade-loving plants. Just browse the mind-boggling list at www.obrienhosta.com for an idea of their extensive plant list.


O'Brien hosta garden1

Some of the many highlights of O’Brien’s Nursery include the sunny display borders.

O'Brien sunny display border

Hosta for a sunny spot.

hostas for sun 

Show-stopping evergreens, such as Abies koreana ‘Silvershow’ and a close-up of its needles.

Abies koreana 'Silvershow' Abies koreana 'Silvershow' - closeup

The lovely Daphne x burkwoodii ‘Briggs Moonlight’.

Daphne x burkwoodii 'Briggs Moonlight'1 

Its cousin – a Daphne sport and O’Brien find – with more green variegation. (See more about O’Brien’s daphne’s and the nursery visit at Gardening Asylum)

O'Brien Nursery Daphne sport of 'Carol Mackie'

A surprisingly low growing maple, Acer palmatum ‘Yatsubusa Kiyohime’.  It tops out at about a foot to 18 inches tall – yes, it remains at that height – and spreads to six to eight feet wide. Rumor has it that Debbie at A Garden of Possibilities walked out with one for her garden. … we’ll watch for her future report. (see Debbie’s post on O’Brien’s daylilies)

Acer palmatum 'Yatsubusa Kiyohime' 

Tucked here and there, interesting ferns like Dryopteris filix-mas ‘Christata Martindale’.

Fern-Dryopteris filix-mas 'Christata Martindale'

But O’Brien mostly boasts hosta, and lovers of these foliage fashionistas will not be disappointed at the borders, and edges, and corners, and paths, and slopes filled with every type, size, and color hosta one could imagine.

In addition, visitors’ minds fill with ideas for placing and combining hosta with other hosta, and other types of greenery. Plus, a walk-through offers a peek at the future – what I like to call O’Brien’s nursery within a nursery. Owner, propagator, and hosta aficionado John nurses along hundreds of plants for next year and beyond.

hosta nursery within O'Brien Nursery 

The visit to O’Brien Nursery is worth the trip, particularly on a hot summer day. The nursery has many Garden Days, open from 10am to 5 pm, remaining from now through mid-October. Don’t pass up the opportunity to enjoy this treasure.

O'Brien hosta garden7

I hope to find a spot in a future garden for a crinkly-leaf hosta ‘Deep Blue Sea’. If you really push me to choose just one favorite of all I saw, this is it … but you really have to push hard.

Hosta 'Deep Blue Sea'2

For more photos from the O’Brien visit head to Scott’s Blue Heron Landscapes blog.

8 comments for “A hosta habitat, but so much more

  1. July 30, 2010 at 12:44 pm

    Hi Joene, I completely missed ‘Deep Blue Sea’ and that acer – guess I’ll have to go back! Thanks for the link love 🙂

    • joenesgarden
      July 30, 2010 at 9:21 pm

      Cyndy, it’s easy to find ‘excuses’ to return. Maybe we need a CT bloggers’ visit to O’Brien’s.

  2. July 30, 2010 at 4:39 pm


    Your photos perfectly captured that wonderful afternoon at O’Brien’s. yes, the rumor is true…I snagged the ‘groundcover acer’. I still haven’t planted it yet, I’m trying to figure out the perfect spot for it.

    • joenesgarden
      July 30, 2010 at 9:22 pm

      Debbie, I’m sure you will choose the best spot. I’ll watch for any future assessment you have. The low growing acer is one of the plants on my want list.

  3. July 30, 2010 at 10:59 pm

    Wow! Heaven for hosta lovers! I could have spent hours there. I also love ferns and evergreens, so this would be a real treat for me. I will dream about it!

    • joenesgarden
      July 31, 2010 at 9:28 am

      It is a real treat for visitors – definitely dream-worthy, Deb.

  4. July 31, 2010 at 1:25 am

    That Daphne has been on the to-buy-at-any-cost list for several years. I don’t suppose I’ll see it up here anytime soon. Wish we had a hosta nursery where I live but I suppose it’s a good excuse for a road trip, right?

    Christine in Alaska

    • joenesgarden
      July 31, 2010 at 9:29 am

      If you make a road trip to CT, Christine, you must let me know so I can meet you at O’Brien Nursery

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