Hosta fortunei var. albopicta – wonder at the perfection of its beautiful variegated leaves. This perfection will undoubtedly be fleeting, especially as summer has now truly begun and the torrential rain with it. The hosta was introduced in the late 18th century and is indigenous to Japan, Korea and China. It is named after Nicolas Tomas Host an Austrian botanist and physician, although at one time it was also named funkia after the Prussian botanist Heinrich Christain Funck. In the end Herr Funck lost out and the genus remains named after the Austrian. There are an incredible amount of cultivars available, the RHS plant finder lists 2137, and they range significantly in size, leave shape, colour and variegation. Although primarily cultivated for their decorative leaves, they also boast attractive and sometimes fragrant flowers. In the summer the plant throws up tall stems, known as flower scapes, which are topped with anything from white though to purple blooms, this particular variety has pale lavender flowers. In Japan they are known as gibosi and the young leaves and shoots are eaten as a vegetable which is known as urui. It is an ideal plant for shade which unfortunately is also the environment of choice for their arch-enemy, the mollusc. In our garden the deer will eat them down to the ground but I prefer to tell people that we have particularly gluttonous snails the size of cats. It makes for a much better story and even I am getting fed up with the “D” word. So lets enjoy these lovely leaves while we can. Live for the moment. They wont be there in the morning.