Not Pic of the Day 5-31-08 Embroidery

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Not Pic of the Day 5-31-08 Embroidery

Postby jgh » May 31, 2008 6:46 am

Well, love it or hate it... it sure is interesting.

Back in "the old days" - like the sixties and seventies - you could depend on every science fair having at least one project based on irradiated seeds. A kid would have a parent or family friend who was a doctor or dentist and they'd take a packet of seeds, divide them in half, then send one half through a dose of X-rays. The results were rarely interesting, but once in a while you'd actually get a seed that was both mutated and still viable enough to grow into something. Most often you either got no effect or seeds that wouldn't germinate or would perform poorly.

There was a novel written - The Effect of X-rays On Man-In-The-Moon Marigolds - that really had pretty much nothing to do with horticulture or science projects.

The first story I heard about Embroidery was that it was the result of such experimentation on hosta seeds. It seems to me that if somebody actually did this, we'd be able to find out what kind of seeds and when it was done... and we'd see lots more unusual leaf formations and distortions.

Zilis makes no mention of this story - and he notes seeing the original plant in Paul Aden's garden all the way back in 1983, about the time Aden registered it. I think we have to assume this is one of those stories that developed... like someone made the comment "It looks so wierd... like it got zapped by radiation or something" that became "fact."

Still, with all the information - Zilis gives Embroidery its own entry and one and a half pages - we aren't given any information about its heritage. This is particularly irritating as Embroidery tends to sport into a smooth-leaved, large, elegant plant named Green Velveteen. After years of fighting to keep the plain Jane sports from taking over the (quite expensive) Embroidery, I found that the removed sections grow vigorously and I quite like them. I would like to know what Green Velveteen might compare with in terms of species and cultivar parentage.

But I digress!

What's the big deal with Embroidery? Why, after 25 years, is it still (by my standards) quite expensive?

Zilis describes it this way:

"in spring, margins slightly darker than the center into which it often streaks; center turns medium green by mid-June; very unruly with the leaf margins twisted and corrugated i streaks while the leaf center (usually) remains smooth except for an occasional streak of corrugation..."

He notes that this is one of the plants that is very difficult to tissue culture... apparently if you tc Embroidery you end up with a bunch of Green Velveteen plants. He doesn't say why, but later in the book under the Tortifrons entry he notes "Evidently, the leaf distortion seen in 'Tortifrons' is caused by the same type of epidermal chimera that prevents 'Embroidery' and a few others from being accurately propagated by tissue culture.

Assuming that I actually knew what an epidermal chimera is - to me it sounds like some kind of spa treatment or maybe a new hybrid car - I would still have some hesitation about this explanation. There are a couple of other hostas with odd corrugation in the mid-leaf... I'd put Emerald Necklace and Mary Marie Ann in that category - and as far as I know, they tissue culture just fine. I think the same is true of Tortifrons. Who knows?

In any case, since we are getting more Embroidery's by the good old-fashioned vegetative propagation way, the price stays up over $40.

I can't help but wonder what happened to the old Shady Oaks Retail Embroidery plants. When they closed out and lots of us bought lots of really fine hostas really cheap from Lyndale Garden Center, one famous hosta breeder snapped up the entire supply of Embroidery before they made it to the store shelves... estimates ranged from 50 - 200 plants... for $1.99. If memory serves, this was back about 2002. I was sure we'd see the market flooded with their progeny along with a price drop, but the Hosta Finder for 2007 shows everybody holding the price around $40. Perhaps the gentleman did the market a favor by taking them all instead of sending lots of them out into individual gardens... I know I had a few wholesale plants growing into market size that I thought would lose their value, but it never happened.

Anyway... what else??? Oh, yeah - the pictures! This plant was much larger, but started to sport dramatically to Green Velveteen. I removed the sport last summer... and though small, I think this is a pretty good specimen of a cultivar that reminds me of myself - "odd, ugly, but loveable!"


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Not Pic of the Day 5-31-08 Embroidery




Postby thehostagourmet » May 31, 2008 8:52 am

Your story is worth far more than that freak of nature plant. :D

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Postby nanny_56 » May 31, 2008 9:19 am

hmmmm..... :roll:
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Postby renaldo75 » May 31, 2008 9:59 am

Jim - I'm enjoying your NPOD stories immensely!! :P

I've never had the desire to fork over the $40 for a plant I only marginally like so Embroidery isn't in my collection & won't be anytime soon. I've only seen one specimen in a garden that looked good enough to make me re-think that decision. And it was in the garden of forum member Connie [from Pella, IA]. I think it was a combination of perfect show off spot for a unique hosta & the fact that it looked 'perfect' when I saw it.


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Postby pauhaus » May 31, 2008 11:12 am

Jim, I am loving your NPOD stories as well. I kinda like Embroidery, but like Ren, don't see it in my collection anytime soon. Although I do love my Emerald Necklace...thanks again Jim.
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Postby Hostahaveum » May 31, 2008 12:25 pm

Great story! I too think the poor thing is kinda sorry unique might be a better word. :lol: Funny thing I have a greenie hit by frost that looks very close to the pictures. Anyway for $40 I would rather have 2 nice ones. Thanks so much for posting the daily shots! I enjoy the narrative just as much as the pictures !!
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Postby Justme » Jun 01, 2008 9:51 pm

I actually like embroidery a lot, at least in pictures. But, I am not going to pay $40 for any hosta when there are so many really nice ones for under $20 still to buy. I do have emerald necklace, small but nice.

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Postby Patrushka » Jun 11, 2008 11:18 am

Love the story. This is one I just couldn't make up my mind on. In some pics I thought it was really pretty and in some I didn't like it as well. Now I know why. I like it much better with it's spring coloring.
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Postby newtohosta-no more » Jun 11, 2008 2:30 pm

I'm on the fence when it comes to this one too. Sometimes I really like the way it looks in pics, but other times it looks diseased! I'll definitely wait til the price comes down before I consider buying it. :???:
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Postby Marlys » Jun 12, 2008 9:11 am

Reldon - your picture of Connie's Embroidery doesn't even beging to do it justice. Her Em is wonderful & beautiful and to my knowledge has never attempted to sport to anything.

Now Connie is as Dutch as they come, straight from Peoria (tiny farm town / area just east of Pella, IA) but I was witness to her blunking down $50.00 for her awesome Embroidery; but not until literally, we had search the world over via the internet & searched every plant place from Des Moines IA, east to Elizabeth, IL. (Think what the gas would cost now.)

We had to drive back from IL to Dillon Plant Co near Marshalltown, IA to at last, purchase the most perfect, beautiful Embroidery any of us have ever set eyes on. And Connie held it on her lap all the rest of the way home. She wouldn't even let me touch it.

Now another thing I learned the hard way about hosta 'Embroidery' is it doesn't like to be divided or messed with. It could be renamed 'Don't Mess with Me' cause you will be sorry if you disturb me in any manner.

I was of course, envious of Connie's Em plant (so was Trudy) so I had to have one full expecting it to grow to be as wonderful as the one in Connie's garden. Didn't happen but came close one year. Then I decided for some space reason or somethng I would divide my Embroidery and I don't know, give it away or make money (never happens) or something. Well, that was like 4 or 5 years ago and it still hasn't fully recovered from the trauma. It nearly died. So that may be a clue why whoever bought all those from Shady Oaks wasn't able to multiply them into lots of plants to put on the market.

IMHO - Embroidery is an awesome plant but Connie's plant is the BEST!!! - Bring your camera in June to the Hallson Reunion & try again to capture it for prosperity.

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Postby Chris_W » Jun 12, 2008 9:47 am

Another wonderful NPOTD (that I missed the first time around).

When Shady Oaks dumped their retail plants I too was one of those nursery owners who was in disbelief that they would treat their wholesale customers this way, dumping retail plants at below rock bottom prices. For a little while a few plants were harder to sell by mail, but this little blip on the hosta map didn't affect our retail business. And I simply boycotted Shady Oaks for a couple seasons. I'm sure they didn't notice :roll: But about those tons of Embroidery, I bet most of them were just Green Velveteen. That's what happened with the 18 Embroidery I bought from Shady Oaks - half were solid green :evil: Made the rest very expensive, and when I tried to call and talk to them about this and some other issues I was amazed to get bumped from one voicemail to another without any return call.

Anyway, back to Embroidery, I agree that I've seen some amazing pictures, but the plants I have left just don't do much for me. People ask for Embroidery, I show them the plants, and they think what the ????

I too do not believe the stories about irradiated seeds. :lol:

One day I will probably divide the last Embroidery here and see how they do. One day I might try to sell them again too, who knows...
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Postby redcrx » Oct 09, 2012 12:51 pm

This is an odd thread but never-the-less here are some of this season's photos.

Embroidery 12 0663-4-26.JPG

Embroidery 12 00900-5-3z24.jpg

Embroidery 12 00901-5-3z34.jpg

Embroidery 12 00902-5-3z54.jpg
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Re: Not Pic of the Day 5-31-08 Embroidery

Postby boops » Oct 10, 2012 4:58 am

Looks like lettuce :lol: :lol:
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Re: Not Pic of the Day 5-31-08 Embroidery

Postby Eleven » Oct 10, 2012 1:10 pm

It makes sense that a plant with epidermal chimera [ism] couldn't be propagated via TC. A chimera simply means that it has more than one DNA, like the namesake mythological beast that was a mix of different animals. People can have this too. I think the explanation is that at one point there were two eggs in the uterus, then one died and got absorbed by the other.
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Re: Not Pic of the Day 5-31-08 Embroidery

Postby thy » Oct 10, 2012 4:48 pm

Oh I wanted it badly ten years ago, then other beautiful hostas were possible to put my hands on and Em got a bad reputation... but yours look so beautiful unfurling I mightstart to think about Em again.

Thanks for bringing up this old topic
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Re: Not Pic of the Day 5-31-08 Embroidery

Postby morgansrgr8 » Oct 10, 2012 6:32 pm

I got a piece of Embroidry this year from my sister. She thinks its ugly. I should have asked for the whole plant if she doesnt like it. I love the oddness about it. (I also think ugly dogs are so ugly their cute) So far it has done ok. Will have to keep an eye on it next spring to see how it is taking the split.
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Re: Not Pic of the Day 5-31-08 Embroidery

Postby rufie98 » Dec 16, 2015 10:07 pm

I just had to post the picture I took of Embroidery this summer. When I saw it in a private garden, I knew it was special and different. This mature one is definitely stunning. Wish I had taken more photos of it. Unfortunately I had left my better camera at home that day. (Little Treasure is to the left.) I wonder how many mature specimens there are out there.

DSC03200(#2)800 Emb..jpg
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