of the Giants Hosta Farm
Jeff and Penny Miller, Owners
advent of the new style of AHS Convention this June in Milwaukee,
the day many of the convention goers arrived in Wisconsin. A number of
took advantage of the proximity of Jeff Miller’s Land of the Giants
to see in person what they had been hearing about it from their hosta
those making the trek to Land of the Giants for the first time were
Frazier (Kansas), Jonathan Hogarth (United Kingdom), and Kees Henzen
Netherlands). The three men proclaimed themselves “The Orange Team” as
had rented a bright orange Dodge Dart for the trip. Also racing to Land
Giants that day was another international pair, Mike and Kathy
known as “Team Shadrack” for the purposes of this article.
member of “The Orange Team” has shared their impressions of their trip
of the Giants Hosta Farm as did “Team Shadrack”.
|Jonathan Hogarth, Keith Frazier, Kathy Witkovski, Marie White|
year’s convention only covered three days and only Friday and Saturday
booked with garden visits. So my plan was that IF I would come over all
from the Netherlands to Wisconsin, then the trip should at least be
with another day.
make that happen, I posted on Facebook within the American Hosta
Society group asking
whether members had suggestions for additional visits or nurseries in
region. In a day or two, I got a tip from Lisa Putnam and others that
the Giants Hosta Farm is a “must do”. That made me decide to “Escape to
Wisconsin”, and I booked the flight a day earlier to visit the nursery
|Kees Henzen, Jonathan Hogarth, Keith Frazier, Chuck Doughty|
already had contacted Jonathan Hogarth from England and my other buddy
the hosta trip was Keith Frazier who picked me up in Chicago. You are
to drive a car with a broken collarbone ... All together we were an
international company in the orange car, and early in the morning, we
Miller welcomed us, and we could spend as much time as needed. That is
for me, because I LOVE to take photos of hostas that are on my photo
During lunchtime we were offered hamburgers and drinks. I tried to take
pictures of all the “Giantland” hostas and all other rare hostas that
specific to this Hosta Farm.
the hostas were nicely tagged with high poles, and the funny story is
during wintertime people ask if this is a cemetery. My “English Mouse”
Jonathan, bought a Hosta ‘Giantland
Sunny Mouse Ears’ for his collection and Keith couldn’t resist buying
more than half a day, spending time, money and having a nice time, we
to the convention that hadn’t even started yet!
Kees thought it would be a great idea to visit Land of the Giants as it
close to Milwaukee and duly posted it on his Facebook page.
Keith was so keen to drive us without delays that he turned on his
second satellite navigation system to make sure of a speedy
drove around and around until one of the traffic directors was turned
it hadn't been built into the car, it would have been thrown out.)
Moral of the
story: don't mess with hosta folks when they’re trying to find their
|On our arrival (ten minutes after the navigation mutiny), we were
a comprehensive list of hostas for sale. And what a list, it was
the plants were well-labeled, and the prices were on our
and knowledgeable helpers who knew the nursery were always available to
us to a name or a plant we had missed. We met the same people later in
gardens at the convention.|
It was an unforgettable visit, good company, good plants, and great
hospitality. We travelled a long way and were not disappointed. To put
experiences into a few words, “It does what it says on the label,” it
Land of the Giants.” Can I go back again soon, please?
it was awesome! Jeff was so accommodating; he was everywhere for
answering questions, and telling where specific plants were located. He
grilled burgers for lunch.
plants, it was great! He didn’t dig single divisions; he dug clumps for
it off for me was that I was talking to Jeff and said nobody in Kansas
hybridizes. Jeff pointed to the hillside with nothing but his seedlings
told me, “You can pick any plant you want from there and name and
“Orange Team” had a blast! We had a great time, joking and laughing.
learned that the ‘b’ in thumb is silent. I don’t know how Kees and
captured Chuck (Doughty) who rode with us Friday and Saturday.
Frazier, Wichita, KS
Kathy and I found out that we were going to have to drive all the
way to Milwaukee for the Convention, we knew that we would need to make
of stops. The compensation for the long drive was the possibility of
trip that let us visit cool places on route. Actually, it was not as
far as we
imagined and at the last minute we changed our plans and took a day off
front of our trip.
one of the places we had to visit was ‘Land of the Giants’.
Wisconsin, after all, was the place where they grew those great big
was that a tall story, too? As we drove up to the address, we wondered
were in the right place. This was a private house, surely not a Land of
Giants. Not a beanstalk in sight.
of the Giants certainly lives up to its name. It is enormous. The
nursery seemed to go on and on. We never did reach the end of it. I
think I got
up to the L’s and Kathy managed a little further. Large numbers of
planted out in rows and behind them were what seemed to be miles and
waist high racks overflowing with well-grown hostas. There were even
potted hostas set out on the ground, including a large area dedicated
might be expected at Jeff Miller’s, there was also a large area full
of his own seedlings. I suspect that it is from here that so many of
really high value auction contributions come!!!
time was so short, all too soon we had to pay up and leave. Once
more we bought far too much stuff including some real gems. I managed
Jeff’s ‘Blue Mouse Ears’ seedling ‘Giantland Mouse Cheese’ and a
sport of ‘Light Everlasting’ that Jeff generously let me have, although
clearly would have liked to have kept it for himself.
managed to find ‘Skylight’, an almost turquoise, blue hosta from
the Stegemans. Kathy was thrilled saying, “This is a hosta that had
been on my
'Wish List' for years, and I had many to choose from. I could
a day there, easily and happily.”
we had taken that day out of our plans.
Shadrack, Hamburg, NY