Hosta heaven

MARSHALL – Ever since they moved to Marshall in 1989, Marc and Janna Milbradt have had hostas occupying their yard.

It started with a housewarming gift of 20 hostas from Marc’s father. The couple had moved to town after being in the country and farming throughout their married life.

“The yard was a mass of weeds to begin with, but we have cleaned it up,” Janna Milbradt said.

The hostas are low maintenance and only have to be planted once.

“We have over 400 different varieties,” Marc Milbradt said. “They require a tremendous amount of water, which I take out of the river using a pump.”

The Milbradts live right on the Redwood River at 401 North 4th St. in Marshall.

“The smallest plant I have is called a Pandora’s Box and the largest is a Blue Mammoth. Each hosta is named and labeled in my garden,” Marc Milbradt said.

The Milbradts buy their plants from the Twin Cities and Iowa, which Marc Milbradt described as the old, dependable varieties, and Washington state, which he said has the newest varieties.

“There are always new plants being developed. It’s like computers, just when you think you have them all, 10 new ones come out,” said Marc Milbradt.

Marc Milbradt has even came up with some of his own varieties of hostas. One he named Angie’s Dimples after his daughter.

“It is interesting because when you plant a hosta from one of the flowers, you never know what you are going to get. The bees pollinate from different plants and sometime they turn out the same as the mother plant, but sometimes they are a whole new variety,” Marc Milbradt said.

The Milbradts have joined the Hosta Society, which sends them four magazines each year that Marc Milbradt scours through all winter to find out the newest information.

“We have also attended some hosta conventions,” said Janna Milbradt. “One Father’s Day, I gave Marc a Hostapedia that he is always looking through.”