My First AHS Convention

Kim Greene, Oronoco, Minnesota

   The AHS 2010 National Convention, held in Minneapolis, MN, presented a unique opportunity to members of the Shades of Green Hosta Society (SOGHS) who had not previously attended a national event.  With the convention being held practically in our back yards, it was an irresistible opportunity for Jan Gerke, Kim Greene, and Susy Olsen of SOGHS to attend.  Being “newbies” at a national convention, we were very excited by the prospect of adding to our hosta experiences.
   The convention turned out to be a wonder world, with various offerings, ranging from attending education sessions, to purchasing hostas at the vendor tables, to bidding on hostas at the silent auctions, to playing ‘hosta bingo’, to touring magnificent member gardens, to meeting other hostaholics, to very actively bidding at the live auction, and to having a ton of fun adorning ‘hosta hats’ at various convention events. 

Jan Gerke, Susy Olsen, Kim Greene

Northern gardeners abound
At providing unprecedented
Tour gardens to keep even our
International guests
On their toes at spotting
Northern Exposure
Loyalist among other amazing hostas.
Cameras ablazing, were the norm as
Oglers were
rtured by the
Venues offered by the
Education offerings and vendor sales that
No doubt
Totaled one
Incredible learning
Opportunity to the SOGHS
                    --- Kim Greene
     Hosta bingo could have been relatively routine, but not with the newbies involved.  Participants received a free hosta of their choice for just showing up - either an ‘Earth Angel’ or a ‘Stained Glass’.  How could one go wrong in attending this event!  Kim and Susy had an especially engaging time playing hosta bingo.
   We have to attribute our ‘hosta hat’ wearing to our fearless leader, 2010 president of SOGHS, Linda Orleff.  Linda attended the one-day botanical painting class where participants learned how to portray a hosta leaf on canvas.  At the end the day, as we rallied the troops, Linda decided to adorn herself with the leaf she had chosen to paint during the workshop. Her enthusiastic creativity, to have a hosta leaf as a top hat, caught on very quickly, with the attending SOGHS members gladly taking part in the festivity.
   Jan, Kim, and Susy weren’t properly adorned when they arrived at Don Dean’s gardens.  Don took particular care to ensure that the whole SOGHS garden troop was properly adorned with hosta leaf “hats” prior to continuing the tour Thursday morning.  He was especially generous offering unnamed hostas, of his own creation, to adorn the SOGHS newbies.
   Since we were local to the event, we didn’t have the problem of getting our beloved hosta purchases home. This allowed the newbies to not only bid on the silent auction hostas but also to be very active participants in the live auction.  The various hostas auctioned off provided a great opportunity to purchase a combination of unique hosta offerings and breeders’ stock.  It was a fun event and we ended up being on the top hosta bidder list!
   One thing that was very apparent in attending the National Convention as a newbie is how much energy and enthusiasm is shared among the members.  What a wonderful opportunity for a "hosta melting-pot."  It was very rewarding to be able to speak with so many people with various hosta and shade gardening backgrounds to exchange tips and tricks on growing healthy, robust plants.
   Attending the National Convention was an awesome experience, which is sure to be repeated. These newbies are definitely planning on becoming active convention-goers!
  New Author Bio - Kim Greene is the VP of Programs and Education for the Shades of Green Hosta Society. She is a computer software consultant by day and an avid gardener when she is not working. Kim lives on a wooded acreage that offers full shade to full sun gardening opportunities. Her gardens  include butterfly gardens, a wildflower garden, a vegetable garden, and multiple shade gardens. She enjoys incorporating hostas into her garden landscapes, having multiple borders and waves of hostas along with large specimens as focal points and a number of mini hosta gardens.  

A is for Amazing by Susy Olsen

   Influenced by Linda Orleff, our fun loving president who donned the first hosta hat of the 2010 convention, three new American Hosta Convention attendees, Jan Gerke, Kim Greene, and Susy Olsen, members of Shades of Green Hosta Society of Southeast Minnesota, may have made a bit of an impression at the 2010 Minnesota convention. But it was worth it; we’re sure next year everyone will wear hosta leaf hats to the banquet! The truth is, we were the ones that were really impressed by the glorious hosta opportunities the convention offered us!
   The impressive opportunities every day of the convention made it a struggle to pick which should make it into this little commentary, so nearly all of them are included! To simplify this task, here is a silly and wee bit corny verse using the letters A-H-S-N-A-T-I-O-N-A-L-C-O-N-V-E-N-T-I-0-N.

A is for Amazing: From start to finish the convention was perfect. Well Done Minnesota!
H is for…uhmm… hostas? I’ve never seen so many photo-worthy hostas… ever!
S is for silent auction: REALLY? REALLY? I was supposed to be silent? Not likely.
N is for ‘nother: We can’t wait to attend a ‘nother convention… regional, national, whatever!
A is for auction: Susy bid once… ( let Kim have all the fun? Not likely! Braving up to win one bid is an ever-so-wonderful adrenaline rush!)
T is for truck: The drive home would have been easier in a truck than a Mazda Miata. Every hosta survived.
I is for interest and insane: My already high interest in acquiring more hosta for my small city lot is reaching the level of insane.
O is for obnoxious. Okay… sometimes, but all in good fun!
N is still for ‘nother.
A is for accessories: No, our club does not have a hosta hat contest. Our hosta leaf accessorizing was totally spontaneous.
L is for lily: The Martagon lily companion plant will definitely make its way into my yard! Thanks for offering such good information on this beauty!
C is for camera: In our hands all the time… The table decor, the vendors, the speakers, the arrangements in the bathroom… oh and of course the gardens. The gardens - the envy inducing, idea inspiring, hosta hope-listing, and camera capturing beauties. We really liked the gardens.
O is for ordinary: I am seeing that my abundant number of ordinary hostas will need to move on to someone else’s yard to make room for the many that are now on my wish list.
N is for still, still for ‘nother.
V is for variety: I loved all the varieties of vendors, activities, and events. I couldn’t have asked for more!
E is for education: The speakers and fellow attendees offered so much. I wish I could have cloned myself to attend all the sessions!
N is for (not another “n!”) N is still for ‘nother!
T is for tickets: I bought a lot … but not enough! Next time I’ll win the tower of hostas…!
I is for incredible: The inspirational tour gardens showed the investment of time and resources that inevitably must earn the mark of "incredible."
O is for obvious: It is obvious that there are too many repeating letters in these words, but I hope it is equally as obvious that our first time to the AHS National Convention was… outstanding.
N is for… you know. Oh and ‘Nice.’ It was so nice to meet so many nice hosta enthusiasts!

   AHS and our northern Minnesota hosts, thanks for a wonderful first time experience. To quote a memorable movie line, “We’ll be back!”