Notes from the Editorial Team

At the American Hosta Society National Convention of 2010, held in Bloomington, MN, the society’s leadership determined that there was a need for a new form of publication, resulting in The Online Journal. A group of seven individuals with ample talent, skills, and creativity made a commitment to the project. I had the good fortune of being a part of that initial team, growing and learning along the way. It has been filled with rewarding experiences, through which I have met many new people and have forged closer relationships with several others, due to their willingness to contribute to the OLJ. The personnel and structure of the team have changed. However, the commitment to quality has not changed, nor has the team concept.

I have accepted the role of President for the society and wish to introduce the new editor for the Online Journal. I first met my replacement at a regional meeting on a social basis, talking hosta, of course. He captured my attention through subsequent conversations and my receiving a local society’s newsletter, Hosta Horizons, which is produced for the Russ O’Harra Hosta Society (ROHS). For the twentieth anniversary of ROHS in 2013, Reldon Ramsey produced a booklet of fifty-plus pages, replete with articles and photographs, which has garnered high praise from those who have served the AHS as editors. 

I am confident that you will find that Reldon Ramsey will continue the tradition of every member of the Online Journal team with the same degree of commitment, resulting in a high quality OLJ as we move into the future.

In service, 

Don Dean, Editor


A New Editor’s Welcome

I am pleased to have been asked to join the Online Journal Team as Editor. I have been assisting Don Dean and the OLJ Team with this issue and have benefited from his patient guidance.

The first three issues of the Online Journal have set the bar high. As editor, I will strive to maintain the standard set by all of those who have previously been involved.

The Online Journal Editorial Staff is comprised of nine dedicated individuals. I look forward to working with each of them in the future, along with Vice President Publications, Barb Schroeder. Don Dean will continue to share his experience as my mentor. 

You will find that the focus of the 2013 Online Journal, as always, is coverage of this year’s AHS Convention held in Milwaukee, along with regional activities. This OLJ contains a wealth of other interesting and informative articles, as well. I’d like to draw your attention to several in particular: Tobacco Streak Virus (HERE); the final report of the AHS Commission on the origins of Paul Aden registrations (HERE); new membership options and an update on Nematode Research (HERE). Get acquainted with the new members of the AHS Board (HERE). Please take a moment to respond to the survey of AHS members to help build the society (HERE).

The first issue of the OLJ, which debuted in 2010, remains available to both AHS members and the public. On the AHS Homepage, select “AHS Publications” under the "Literature” heading in the left margin. Other past issues remain accessible in the Members area of the website. On the left margin, select “Archive” under The Online Journal.

Please keep your Email address current with Membership Secretary, Sandie Markland. If you haven’t done so already, be sure to sign up with Josh Spece on the AHS website for current information and happenings within the AHS via the E-Newsletter, which is sent quarterly.

I am excited to begin work on the Online Journal for 2014. Please contact me if you have an idea for an article or would like to contribute by writing an article. Photos of hosta cultivars, AHS convention gardens, and especially regional events are always needed. We appreciate everyone who shares their photos. 

Our team hopes you enjoy the fourth issue of the Online Journal.

Reldon Ramsey, Editor

From the Style Editor:

By any reckoning our first two editions of the Online Hosta Journal were successful, providing our membership a wide variety of topics related to the Genus Hosta.  Real accounts of significant hosta experiences were truly inspiring, while the garden reviews and personal interviews rewarded positive effort.  We have continued our quest to provide an array of stimulating articles and stories for our followers.

Editing for this Online Journal has been, and will be, kept to a minimum, preserving the intent of the author as our primary focus.  There will be no drastic rewrites.  The main editing focus will be on grammar, spelling, usage, and lucidity.  Our purpose is to guide our contributors in expressing their perceptions in an interesting manner.  Any editing is done to enhance the piece, not to rewrite it.  We also intend to recognize the varieties of regional expressions practiced around our country to retain local flavor.  In addition, any speeches presented will be printed as submitted.  We truly appreciate your submissions on a wide range of topics that proved interesting and provocative to our readers.

Since learning is constant, we are certain there are experiences to relate and new ideas to share. Everything will be read and considered for inclusion in the 2013 Online Hosta Journal.  Our editors are committed to offering entertaining, as well as educational material.

Marcia Sully, Editor

From the Photo Editor:

As many of you are aware, and per Tom Micheletti’s article, the Wisconsin Convention this year was a different format. Driving to each garden gave us the opportunity to have more time visiting with the owner and spend more time viewing the garden while not being pressured by the “whistle” to head to the bus. I remember one convention where they had to shorten our time in the garden because we were behind schedule 

However, the change seemed to reflect in the photos received for our 2013 garden visit. Some people did not make it to all the gardens on both days. We spent more time in one garden and, due to weather and needing to get back to the hotel for activities we were involved in, required us to, unfortunately, miss a couple of gardens. Thus, I had to rely on others to furnish the photos and this presented some challenges. 

One feature this year that did help was that the author of the write-up for the garden sent photos. Wow, this really helped. Each year, I try to match photos of hostas and other garden features to the description of the garden. This time, one of the writers sent the photos and, when I followed the story, the photos matched. What a relief for picking the right photos. Some of the other writers sent photos, and, with those I had from other attendees, it became a simple task to match photos and article. However, as always, the writer will mention eight to fifteen hostas and everyone furnished eight to fifteen photos, but none were matches. 

As in past years, I also received hosta photos with no hosta name on the photo or plant name photo preceding the photo.  In some cases, the garden owner can be contacted, sent a photo, and asked for identification of the hosta or plant. It is a great help if the name(s) of the plant(s) in a photo is/are included with the accompanying photos. This year, we were also lacking in “convention photos” and those of outside activities, such as sites advertised by the Tom and Jack convention committee. I would like to say that Randy Goodwin does a great job tagging each photo the he submits, along with those of Steve Cunningham. 

Remember, we are always looking for a cover shot (vertical photo) or a centerfold shot (horizontal), so plan early in the year and send those photos you just took or the one from last year. See you in Iowa. 

Rick Schroeder, Photo Editor


Take a Close Look

Back Cover Contest

You will notice a link to the back cover on the Contents page this year.  We’ve decided to hold a little contest, culminating at the 2014 National Convention in Cedar Rapids. 

The rules are quite simple:  Identify the pictured plants from their flowers, and then tell us which ones are related to the genus Hosta.  (Details on the back cover.) 

Submit your entry on or before June 1, 2014. 

Mail to:

Floyd Rogers
22W213 Glen Valley Drive
Glen Ellyn, IL  60137


We had several choices in how we would design The Online Hosta Journal. We could take the familiar PDF route; we could design it like a website along the lines of Time magazine's site, or we could try something a little different.

What we came up with is essentially a website in structure, yet one designed to look and feel as much like a paper magazine as possible, while still retaining the quick loading and easy functionality of a website. In effect, we tried to create a hybrid between a magazine and a website - one that featured the best features of both. A percentage of our members still have dial-up, so we needed quick loading times.

To get the look we were after, pages were constructed in HTML, using tables to simulate a magazine-like layout. With HTML pages of this kind, the browsers exert quite a bit of control that we cannot override. In particular, they exert control over text size, but they also handle table instructions differently. This means that the Online Journal pages will look a little different, depending on which browser is being used. We have tested in the four most common browsers - Internet Explorer, Firefox, Chrome, and Safari, to try to reach a balance of good appearance in each. The way each browser changes the text will cause some to see extra white (empty) space, where others see more tightly laid-out pages. In general, the best appearance will be either in Firefox or in Internet Explorer, as they are still the most commonly used browsers.

We chose the Georgia font for the bulk of the text because it displays well in all browsers and is large and easily readable in 12 point size. Some have large monitors with high resolutions, and to them the Online Journal may take up only a small area of the screen. We recommend that people seeing a too-small version either change resolution to a more common setting, or that they use the browser controls to magnify the whole page. If the browser settings are used to magnify text alone, it can really make a mess out of the page, causing text to overlap and other undesirable things.