This classic hosta was introduced by
John Bond of
Savill Gardens in
England and was registered by
Paul Aden of New York on his behalf in 1988. It is a
giant size (29 inches high by 58 inches wide) hosta
which is a sport of H. 'Elegans'.
The bright yellow center of the blue-green
leaves tends to turn white as the summer progresses (albescence). It is a slow growing plant with thick substance and near white, bell-shaped flowers on 33 inch scapes from late June into July
followed by viable seeds.
The Hostapedia by
Mark Zilis (2009), "...its stature in the world of hostas has only
increased. A mature specimen has a significant impact on any
garden in which it grows. Its only negative is a slow growth
The New Encyclopedia of Hostas by
Grenfell (2009) states in its Hosta Hybrids for Connoisseurs chapter: "In
many regions growers find it lacks vigor; indeed, it can dwindle
rather than increase in size. Only the arresting tonal
variegation of the leaves keeps this hosta in favor."
It has been reported that this
cultivar may be more difficult to grow in hotter parts of the
country i.e. the South. Growers in that region have found that a
mature clump may begin to decline for no apparent reason.
However, it is not susceptible to a problem called spring
desiccation burn which afflicts similar types of hostas.
has appeared several times in the Popularity Poll by members of
The American Hosta Society.
An article about H. 'Great Expectations' by Warren I. Pollock in
Hosta Journal (1996 Vol. 27 No. 2) states that, "Everyone
has great expectations for 'Great Expectations'. It is the great hosta dream
(probably throughout the world) to grow a big, handsome specimen clump of 'Great
Expectations'. But it doesn't do well for everyone...About half
the people responding to my call for personal experiences say they have or have
had problems growing it. The others say it is doing "fine" and cite the growing
conditions...There is no consensus yet other than 'Great Expectations' :
- Is a slow grower,
- Forms an open clump (not a tight mound), and
- Doesn't have leaves that exhibit the undesirable
characteristic called "burning," "scalding," "browning," or
"rusting" as does 'Color
Glory' (a.k.a., 'Borwick Beauty'),
which also is a sport with a bold bue-green border of H. 'Elegans'.
An article by Warren I. Pollock in
Hosta Journal (2000 Vol. 31 No. 1) states that, "H.
'Great Expectations' (John
Bond is originator; Paul Aden named and introduced it
- 88). When attendees to the 1997
National Convention of
American Hosta Society in Indianapolis saw
the 'Great Expectations' clumps in the tour gardens, many couldn't believe how
huge they were...This led to much discussion on why this hosta does well in some
gardens and not in others...H. 'Great Expectations' and H. 'Dream Weaver' both
have green or bluish green leaves. The difference is the variegation...H. 'Great
Expectations' has a prominent "maple-leaf-like" (for lack of a better
descriptive term) pattern in the leaf center and the creamer center
variegation...The center leaf pattern of H. 'Dream Weaver', on the other
hand, is more "spear-like" with more than 1/2, often as much as
2/3, of the leaf surface being green or bluish green.
Bond wrote, "I became aware of an obvious sport on a substantial clump of
...in the rhododendron species collection in the Valley
Gardens in Windsor Great Park during the early 1980s. After a year or so I
decided to remove this sport for it was clearly promising to say the least...The
three "cuttings" were carefully planted in a sheltered corner of my own
garden...The following spring produced three nice little plants...Rightly or
wrongly I gave Paul Aden [Baldwin, New York] one of my plants and the remaining
two were transferred to the
Savill Garden from where sadly they were both
stolen!...So that is the very simple story and explains that there was no
mysterious breeding programme and also that H. 'Frances Williams' had no part to