- Final Notes from the Convention
- Mary Schwartzbauer, Hastings,
behalf of my co-chair, Connie Linder, and myself, I would like to take this
opportunity to thank the American Hosta Society for the privilege and
honor of hosting the 2010 annual American Hosta Society National
So many times these days, it seems when someone asks us to do
something, we are so busy or preoccupied we forget to take the time to
consider that they may not be asking just for themselves, but because they
appreciate and see in us something of value and something they admire and
That is exactly how I took the request from AHS to host this
past summer's convention. And so it was with much pride that I took
the request back to
the Minnesota Hosta Society membership.
Having many new members since we hosted the convention in
2000, much explanation was needed. But those members who took part
in 2000 were excited and willing to 'go it again' and quickly got the
newer members on board as well!
Over the few
years of planning, excitement and interest continued to grow as much talk
revolved around the upcoming event. Volunteers were recruited and
more and more members expressed interest in attending their first
convention - so much interest, in fact, that we had 163 Minnesota
Society members attend! I'm sure that must be some kind of record!
All told we had 499 guests to our party- thanks for coming!
To me personally, that is the great thing about the
convention- all the people you meet and become friends with over the
years. Yes, of course, we start attending because we want to see great
gardens, learn some more about hostas, BUY PLANTS!, and all the other
things the conventions offer; but it
is the friendships that are most treasured.
| I attended
my first national convention in 1993 and haven't missed one since.
It is something I look forward to all year long. Over those many
years I have developed friendships with people from literally all
over the world from Belgium, England, Canada, New Zealand, and Japan
not to mention those from Georgia, the Carolinas, Oregon,
Iowa, Missouri, Ohio, Washington state and D.C.; well, the list goes
on and on. I look forward to seeing these folks each
year and am saddened and a bit worried if they don't attend for some
However, hosting the convention puts you in a totally
different place. You are the host; you get to decide what everyone
is going to do and when. You get to show off the special
treasures your city and state have to offer, and be creative in your
planning. You get to put into play things you would have liked other
conventions to try. The ball is in your court, and you are free to
run with it. How exciting and fun!
We had a lot of fun being able to showcase some of our
local speakers, adjust the more typical schedule to allow for
expanded classes and more time to relax during the afternoon. To be
able to tour the grounds of Mayowood, of the Mayo Clinic family
fame, (thanks to our friends from the Shades of Green Hosta Society-
who helped us in many ways), was a true treat.
our Shades of Green Hosta Society friends, that is another one of the
perks of hosting a convention. Not only did the Minnesota Hosta Society
members get to know each other better and develop new friendships, we also
got to know many of their members better too.
How generous Shades of Green was to offer their support, time,
and effort. Thank you again.
Now I know many of you are thinking, 'But we're not a big
enough group.', 'We don't have enough gardens.', 'We don't have enough
people to pull it off.' YOU DO. Plain and simple. The members of
Shades of Green wanted to help in part because they wanted to see the
planning in action; they want to be able to do this themselves in the
future and, in fact, are hosting the Midwest Regional Convention in 2012. To
ask another group to help you, even with just one part of the convention,
helps you out, but also helps develop
a relationship with that group that you will cherish in the future.
It also helps them develop the confidence to do the same in years ahead, if
they haven't done it before. It is a win-win situation, and remember
too, that the AHS board is always available to guide you and help you
|Convention Co-Chair Connie
|| Every convention
seems to have a hiccup or two, or have something a bit unusual or unexpected happen. We didn't
get one of our buses on
Saturday, but people pitched in and drove the route, some with new friends
they made while doing just that! Not typical, but you wouldn't have made
that friendship if you hadn't jumped in that car full of strangers!
(Don't do that on a regular basis- jump into a stranger's car I mean). That
situation was a bit stressful, but one thing that humored me was the cow.
The annual Holstein convention was sharing the hotel
with us- seriously, a
convention for cows? No one can look at hosta people strangely
Anyway, in the parking lot they had a HUGE Holstein - on a trailer;
was about 20 feet long and 15 feet tall. Now the weather during
convention was great, but peculiarly, in the evenings, we had
several serious storms, some straight-line winds and tornadoes in the area.
wondering what the hotels procedure for evacuation was, those
familiar with the seriousness of these two types of storms were
glued to the
very large windows at the hotel, and some were hoping to see a
Trust me, you do NOT want to see a tornado! Anyway, we were as
close to the
Wizard of OZ as could be. Although the Holstein didn't quite fly
air past those large windows like in the movie, it did manage to
and break an ear providing much entertainment! It lay on its side,
resurrected the next day after much effort, only to get blown over
next night when another storm came by! I hope the Holstein Society
had insurance as it was rented!
| Mostly, I would like to
thank all of the attendees. Without you, there would be no
convention. Thank you for your support of AHS by attending and by
buying plants at vending and at the auction. Your participation,
willingness to go with the flow, cheerfulness, good humor, and fun
attitudes made hosting this convention a true pleasure. We
hope you had as much fun attending as we did hosting.
I won't lie. Hosting a convention is a lot of work, but
the rewards outweigh the risks so to speak. You come away
richer than when you started. The thought that next year you can
just be an attendee is one of the sweetest thoughts on earth!
Seriously, if your group hasn't hosted a convention in
the past, or it's been quite a few years, I would hope you would
give it some definite thought. How bad can it be? Many, many groups
have hosted more than one convention. If it was a bad thing, no one
would do it again! Please consider it. I'd like to come visit you.
We had a great time, and it was truly our privilege and honor to be
your hosts. Thank you for attending our convention, we hope to
see all of you next year in New England!