Hosta 'Blue Jay'

Registered by Dr. Ralph (Herb) Benedict of Michigan in 1987, this self-pollinated seedling of H. 'Dorset Blue' has deep blue foliage and typical Tardiana-type characteristics. It forms a medium size (16 inches high) mound of nearly heart shaped leaves that have thick substance. The flowers are a very pale lavender and appear in August.

The Hosta Handbook by Mark Zilis (2000), says that this plant falls into a category of "cultivars that exhibit many Tardiana traits but are not a part of Eric Smith's original group."

The New Encyclopedia of Hostas by Diana Grenfell (2009) states: "In essence a derivative of the Tardiana Group."

The Hosta Journal (1993 Vol. 24 No. 2) contained an article by Dr Bob Olson regarding a visit he and others made to the garden of Dr Ralph (Herb) Benedict. "We spent the afternoon looking at the end result of his marvelous hybridization scheme. Dr. Benedict would recite the perfect logic by which such crosses were conceived and executed. Tardianas to the F-6 generation were created by crossing the most fertile of one hundred 'Dorset Blue's with their most fertile offspring. He ended up creating more new Tardianas than Eric Smith had done. (Smith was thwarted at the F-3 generation when he ran into relatively sterile plants.) The blues Dr. Benedict chose to name are all rather small and very blue indeed. In order of decreasing size: 'Blue Jay', 'Blue Ice', 'Blue Chip', and the smallest of the lot 'Blue Urchin'...Somehow in his crosses he came up with a pure Tardiana hybrid which is streaked and splashed - and give variegated seedlings (often fifty percent or more)...he produced a 'Dorothy Benedict'-like-Tardiana, 'Dorset Clown'. The possibilities of this plant ignited our imaginations: can you envision a whole series of variegated Tardiana offspring?"

An article about favorite blue hostas in The Hosta Journal (2006 Vol. 37 No. 2) reported the responses of the following hosta hybridizers:

bullet Charles Tuttle - "H. 'Buckeye Blue' has to be up there in the top five."
bullet Bob Balitewicz - "My favorite is 'Yankee Blue'." 
bullet Kent Terpening - "H. 'Winfield Blue'. I also vote for 'Venetian Blue' and 'Blue Jay' and 'Deep Blue Sea' and ..."
bullet Mary Chastain - "Several garden visitors have stated that 'Lakeside Color Blue' is the bluest hosta they have ever seen" 
bullet Virginia and Brian Skaggs - "What is the bluest? What time of day? What time of year? The color is different under different lights and different times of the year. Everyone's eyes see colors differently too. Tough call!"




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