Anne and Chuck Olescyski were in mid-conversation when both suddenly stopped, listening intently then looked at each other saying in unison "Jenny Wren." They were referring to an unseen bird known as a house wren in the trees of their shady Adams garden.
Their property is planted with 350 hostas in every shape, size and color imaginable. It's a hosta lover's dream to see these beds filled and there are surprises at every turn.
There's lots of learn from a couple who garden together. Even though they share a passion for growing the shade loving plants, each has different ideas on how to grow them. Chuck loves the big clumps of hostas, Anne enjoys dividing them, making more plants. "We get along well, Chuck says of their relationship. We're growing together with the hostas."
Whatever they are doing is working.
Did you know there are some hostas that slugs don't bother with? Chuck says, some varieties have leaves so thick the slugs pass. There are also some varieties of hosta that are more attractive to deer than others. The couple thinks it has something to do with sugar content.
One of the surprises in the garden are the hostas in containers. They grow lots of hostas in pots. It's a great way to showcase the miniature varieties.
At the end of the season the pair will put the pots in a protected area outside and surround it with leaves. The plants are thriving. They are also experimenting with sinking pots of hostas in the ground as part of the landscape. Chuck says it's easier to water them that way and they can be moved with less effort too. "Some of the hostas like to have their roots crowded," Chuck said.
They love searching for new varieties at nurseries, auctions and other places. "We used to joke about spending more money on the hosta budget than the food budget," Chuck said with a laugh.
The two have an obvious passion for each other and for their favorite plant. They spend countless hours in the garden, but wouldn't have it any other way. "I don't ever want to finish," Anne said, because when you finish, what is there?" Chuck adds, "it's just a lot of fun. Some people fish, some people bowl, some people golf, we like gardening."
Both are long time members of the Daffodil and Hosta Society of Western Pennslvania and run a small business called Hooked on Hostas. They sell some of their plants by appointment only. You can reach them at 724-538-5584.
Here are some more of Pam Panchak's photos of the garden.